|Salmon and potato salad on my family's|
Christmas Eve dinner table.
|My parents' pickled beets.|
I was also inspired by an English-language cookbook I picked up in the Czech Republic called Czech Cookery by Lea Filipova (Slovart Publishing, Prague, 2000). In the back are two pages titled The Festive Year. I was interested to see how many events and celebrations are still marked in Texas Czech culture from the "old country." Certainly this has much to do with Catholicism, as so many holidays that I associate with festive foods are celebrated by Catholics. Easter and Christmas are most notable, of course, but also Shrovetide, the period immediately preceding Lent. The Czech Cookery book notes that people fry doughnuts during this time, which is exactly what one of my maternal great grandmothers did, though I've never run into another Texas Czech that makes koblihy.
Of course, there are growing seasons. But as a city dweller who shops at Whole Foods and Central Market, it's easy to forget that not everything grows every day locally. So I'm made more aware by going to see what's available at my local farmers market and staying in touch with Austinites who have fruit trees in their yards and are willing to share. There IS a best time of the year for making fried cabbage or a salad with cucumbers and tomatoes, or for using loquats in kolaches. But also, I'm aware of these issues because my parents are big preservers. Local farmers in the Lavaca and Fayette Counties area call my parents when they have bushels of beets or cucumbers, for example, that need to picked up immediately for canning. "Vine to brine in 24 hours!" my father reminds me.
|Meal at the Victoria County Czech Fest.|
From Czech heritage festivals like WestFest and the East Bernard Kolache-Klobase Festival to the State Fair's Heritage Day to annual dinners like Cesky Vecer, held by the Austin Czech Historical Association, my annual calendar would be chock full of cultural events statewide. Many of them include food, of course... baking contests, country stores with homemade noodles and canned goods, and meals with a staple menu that people look forward to all year.
|Gene Marie Bohuslav frying chicken |
at the Moravia church picnic.
|Soup for Sunday lunch at my|
If you want to suggest an event or celebration during the year that I should know about, please send me a message. I'll share my calendar, in whole or a bit at a time, in upcoming blog posts.