Welcome to Easter weekend. As I was taking pics of my mom and Felix making our traditional Good Friday lunch of Czech “jidaski” (a sweet yeast bread that my mom “ties” into little buns that we eat up with a lot of butter and a lot, a lot of honey.) I realized that the eating part (though delicious and hightly anticipated) is not even as important as the “making of” the jidaski.
Because the “making of” makes me happy. It reminds me of being a kid, of our traditions and of the fact that every year my mom seems honestly mystified with something in the age-old recipe that she doesn’t ever remember doing before. It usually has to do with the yeast and every year we wait anxiously to see if the jidaski will rise to their expected glory.
We also always have a discussion that goes along the lines of “yeast, it’s not what it used to be”. And always looks are passed between Tad and my dad, “please let there be some meat with this lunch”. Which there is, though yah, the point of the whole jidaski thing is “no meat on Good Friday”. (But what can God have against thinly shaved, Italian rosemary ham?)
So the making begins. Felix starts to add and mix–with assistance from the master.
There is always a spill–flour or sugar scattering–and my mom makes everyone stand back, as if we are on the edge of a dangerous sinkhole–and cleans up thoroughly, extending the fault line at least a foot outside the contaminated area. Since my efforts at wiping are haphazard at best, there is always a point where I step beyond the invisible DO NOT CROSS tape and get reprimanded.
Somehow by the end of the whole baking ritual my mom is ultimately left to finish which probably is a relief. Or so I tell myself as by this point I have reverted to disinterested teen daughter, flipping through whatever old magazines are around the cottage. (Did you know Kate Middleton is pregnant?)
But we’re all back for the reveal. Golden, aromatic and tender jidaski. Ready for lunch. Guaranteed I will eat one or five too many.
And here is an Easter transition that only my mom and dad adhere to (kidding!), Shades of Shades of Grey…
“In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, men spank women with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak), or, in eastern Moravia and Slovakia, throw cold water on them.” (WIKIPEDIA)
Which brings me to the Terroir Symposium this year (aside from the whipping as far as I know) whose themes are surely rooted in family food traditions including hashing out the same disagreements each year as you sit around the table eating far too much of a good thing. Which is a good thing in itself.
For the Love of Food: Stories, Memories & Culture
Everything we eat has a story. Food is the basis of our existence, but we can also craft narratives around it: stories of hunger and sharing, of bounty and blessing. The dishes we prepare embody the traditions and heritage of our cultures; the memories we create through the food we eat, help define us. Food reminds us where we come from and encourages us to go somewhere new.
For this edition of Terroir, our presenters will share stories of their most compelling food experiences, memories and inspirations.