Christmas recipes: tricky ingredients

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka

soupIf there is anything that prevents expats from losing their minds in what we call culture shock, it is cuisine. I think it is safe to say that some Americans living in the Czech Republic do not visit fast-food places only because of their, duh, fast-food attributes, but because of the tie with the homeland they provide. Of course, I don’t mean just McDonald’s, but also TGIF, Burger King, etc.

If Czech expats living in the U.S. [or elsewhere] decide to make-bake-fry-cook-whatever anything they used to like back home, they often face problems with ingredients. Let’s face it, flour is not the same, and therefore the dough is not the same, hence the final product is not mommy’s final product they used to know.

Tanja of Czechmatediary has lived in the States for over a decade and she seems to be an exception, because she promotes Christmas baking the Czech way with complete recipes. I know the particular Christmas cookie and I can tell by the photo that American flour is just not the same. 🙂

Be it as it may, Czech Christmas candy/cookies taste great, as do rohliky, dumplings, etc. If you want to try some, recipes offered by expats might work better than those pulled directly from Czech websites…


3 Responses to “Christmas recipes: tricky ingredients”

  1. Ahoj!

    Yes, you are right, the flour is not the same. Although I use the all-purpose flour, vanilla extract instead of the Czech-style vanilla sugar, weird chocolate bar for baking (who has ever heard of that in Czech??) the cookies come out tasting the SAME way as my grandma’s cookies! It’s amazing…
    Actually, it’s not THAT amazing, I know what it is, it’s the tons of butter in it that covers up all of the possible imperfections…

  2. I’d love to be able to make smažený sýr here in the U.S., but I’ve never seen hermelin anywhere, and I don’t know that it’d work as well substituting. I’ve seen it translated as fried brie on some menus, but I don’t think brie would work very well.

    And we also greatly miss buying huge tubs of high-quality mustard for like 20 cents.

    And knedlíky.

    Then there’s bryndzové halušky, which is delicious, and we could probably replicate the halušky, but I couldn’t think of a good substitute for bryndza.

    Another thing we greatly miss is the variety of sausages. Most U.S. supermarkets only have a paltry assortment — usually Polish sausage (not very Polish or seasoned), bratwurst, hot and mild Italian sausage, and some regular pork breakfast sausage. My mother-in-law tried to make kapustnica for my father-in-law after they visited us in Bratislava, but he said it just wasn’t the same, and I suspect the lack of good sausage was to blame.

  3. Hi Scootage 81,

    I am in the same boat as you so you should definitely check out my website (www.czechmatediary) to look at all of the Czech recipes I have. They are US friendly!

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