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Showing posts from March, 2016

Mazanec, Nadivka, and $2 Bills

Easter has always been a holiday for which my immediate and even extended family gets together. My parents and six of their ten grandchildren are pictured at left on Easter Sunday last week. We have traditions around the day, from putting out baskets, of course, dyeing eggs, the Easter egg hunt for the kids, to some dishes my parents make every year, but nothing I've thought of as Czech. Our Easter celebration over the years has seemed a mix of Catholic and American activities and foods.  

I've been divorced for years and spent many Easter weekends at my parent's house, where we would dye eggs together and the Easter Bunny would visit overnight. This year was the same with my youngest son asking to eat the candy out of his basket before I'd poured the cream in my coffee. But for the last few years, I've managed to bake mazanec (Czech Easter bread), which my Czech grandmother did not make. She did make vanocka (Czech Christmas bread) though, and the recipes are almos…

Ghosts of Kitchens Past

This is my maternal grandmother's kitchen in Hallettsville. She passed away over four years ago, but she's still here. Her favorite basic recipes are still taped to the inside of a cabinet door. Comforting smells still drift through when her children and grandchildren occasionally cook in the house that otherwise sits empty. When my mother and I use the kitchen, we say things like "Does Datu have any oil here?" or "She keeps dishtowels in that bottom drawer." My mother and an aunt may shop for supplies for the visitors to the house, but my grandmother "keeps, has, needs" the supplies. In a way, she is the house and the house is her.
When I arrived at the house Friday to meet my parents for a weekend of visiting, I grabbed a Shiner and went to sit on the back porch and look out at the yard. A St. Francis statue sits atop a birdbath in the center of a little rose garden a few steps from the porch. The bath attracts cardinals, or my grandmother just c…