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Showing posts from April, 2013

In Praise of the Czech Heritage Society

I am a member of the Travis-Williamson Co. Chapter of the Texas Czech Heritage Society (CHS), though I rarely go to meetings, but last Sunday, Lori Najvar and I made a presentation to the Lavaca County Chapter of the Society at their quarterly meeting, which happened in the Hall of Fame room at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hallettsville, the county seat of Lavaca County. We did our dog and pony show about our exhibit, Texas Czechs: Rooted in Tradition, currently in production. The Society was started in 1982 and is dedicated to the preservation of Texas Czech heritage through genealogy, history, music, customs, food, costumes, and language. It does this work through 15 chapters across the state. 

At these kinds of meetings, one must first sing the Czech national anthem and recite the Pledge of  Allegiance. (What other group is so comfortable with their Amercian-ness that they pass out the words to the Pledge of Allegiance in another language? I love Czechs.) Then one must sit throug…

Mazanec, Lilies and Family Stories for Easter

Slicing the cross into the loaf of Mazanec before baking.

Last Sunday, my parents-brothers-sister-spouses-children and I had lunch together for Easter at my sister's house in Houston. I baked Mazanec, which is a Czech bread made for Easter. It's very much like (if not exactly the same as) Vanocka made for Christmas. The slightly sweet dough is filled with raisins and almonds. Recipes vary, of course... some call for soaking the raisins in rum; some sprinkle almonds on top, too; some dust the finished loaf with powered sugar. I only had Vanocka occasionally growing up and never ate Mazanec. My mother remembers Vanocka fondly but, when asked about Mazanec, she had a vague memory of a loaf with the cross cut on top,  but not a memory of who made it. It seems that it was a tradition that died out early in our family, but I'm going to revive it. 

It was delicious and, as my mom said it would be, better the next day toasted and dipped in coffee. On Easter Sunday, we ate it buttere…