Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Channeling Grandma

Do certain foods bring back memories for you? I am on my way to a gastronomic journey back in time.

My mother's side of the family is from Slovakia. My grandmother was always cooking and everything she cooked was awesome! It was good home cooking with a Slovak twist. She usually had a pot of chicken soup with homemade dumplings going on the stove. Stuffed cabbage, which she called pigs in the blanket, was one of my favorites as well. She made the best chicken paprikash, which has become one of our family's favorite comfort foods during the winter, YUM! The best thing she ever made for us, and everyone within a 10 mile radius, was kolache.

My grandmother would make these delicious nut filled or poppyseed filled pastries and mail them to us wherever we lived. One of my childhood's fondest memories was getting a package from grandma and finding kolache and kifli (small cookies made with the same but sweeter pastry and nut filling) and assorted other goodies grandma deemed suitable for her grandchildren.

TJ and I are going on our next big adventure and it is to Budapest. As I have been doing research for our trip I have noticed that the food in Hungary has a distinct Slovak influence. I will only be 2 hours by train from Bratislava, where my mother's family is originally from, and am seriously contemplating a day trip. When will I ever have that opportunity again? Back to the subject at hand, the food is making me think of grandma! I can't wait to order chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage (which I might resemble when I finish all the eating I am planning to do)and to find my first kolache and to taste homemade dumplings! It will be like a giant hug from grandma.

I am wondering if hearing the language will remind me of my grandmother sitting at her little telephone table chatting in Slovakian to her lady friends.

One thing I am not looking forward to is the endless flight from Houston to Budapest. 12+ hours which will be spent catching up on movies in a Tylenol PM induced fog and trying to get at least 6 hours of sleep and not go completely stir crazy while shifting constantly in an effort to find a comfortable position. No full size fold out bed/seat pod with room service for these budget travelers. Nope, we plan to spend our money on FOOD and wine!


Carol said...

You brought tears to my eyes when you added the photo of your Grandma's telephone table to your written memory of her speaking Slovkain to friends "back home". (My grandmother had a telephone table like that.
It brought back memories for me, seeing the photo)

Go for the day trip! Good luck on the flight!

Anonymous said...

Well Lisa,
Guess I'll have to make some kolache this fall/winter.
Haven't done it in a few years, but did have much tutelage from Grandma when she moved to Baton Rouge. She was never quite satisfied with my finished
products, but said they were pretty good. Susan & Mom never complained! Let me know when you will be coming to town again and I'll crank up the oven.
Of course maybe I should wait a while, you will be fresh from the real source, Bratislava, so might need to let that memory fade a bit first! Hope the trip is fantastic!
Love ya, Lee Ann

SHDBTAS101685 said...

My grandmother used to make these too... i especially love the poppy seed rolls! She passed down the recipe to us grandchildren to keep going and i def. will be. We would make them around thanksgiving and i am going to try and keep the tradition going!! Thanks for sharing it brought back great memories.

AlletS said...

That's really amazing how the certain food or scent can bring us back to our childhood or to any period of our lives! Have a good time in Europe)

Lisa said...

You will all be glad to know that I finally found some delicious kifli in Budapest! They were almost as good as Grandma's. Read all about it soon.

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