Beginning this blog…

Laurene and day of the dead altar 2010

Laurene & Mexican day of the dead altar

I’ve long wanted to have a venue where I could share some of my recipes and other ideas online. Now, thanks to the help and encouragement of my nephew, Lorenzo (a web designer), this is happening. It started off with a family group page (Vavrus Family) on Facebook where I hoped to create a forum for our family to check in periodically and keep up with the lives of our (mostly) cousins, and perhaps their children as well. None of us are getting any younger and much of our parents’ Slovak culture may be lost as they age and pass on. We should preserve these precious memories.

A recent trip to Southern California afforded me a glimpse into my Aunt Katy’s 1947 cookbook that included recipes written in her own hand and most certainly dictated to her by her mother (our Grandmother), Babka. I realized what an important historical document this was to our family and wrote down all the recipes I could find in it that came from growing up in Babka’s kitchen. Keep in mind that these recipes came over from the “Old Country” with Babka as a very young woman, early in the 20th Century, and reflect an old way of cooking that may no longer be currently found in modern Slovakian kitchens. I then began researching other Slovak sources of recipes on the Internet to add to this collection. I have added some of those as well and will clearly mark which recipes are Babka’s and which are from other sources.

Ideally, what I would like to see happen is for these recipes to jog our memories so that we might post a comment about a particular food that they remember eating at Babka’s house from their childhood, or perhaps another recipe of Babka’s that someone might have tucked away in their own collection of recipes. We could use this site as a repository of our family’s culinary history and wisdom. We all have wonderful memories of Babka. I think her Fánky recipe is probably the single most mentioned one when we talk about her food. Then come all the rest… Let’s start there.

P.S. – Although I am beginning with Slovak food, I have plans to branch out into other areas of ethnic recipes. I have thousands of recipes that I have collected over the years. I also reserve to the right to blog about other interests of mine that might come up along the way. In short, I’m not limiting myself in anyway here. The sky’s the limit. And if you would like to see something in a particular cuisine, please let me know. I’m currently discovering and exploring Korean foods. And boy, is it good!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. you have to ask?
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 16:09:57

    Hey, Laurene! This is great. Good luck with this project. Fánkys? Alright. Did you get the recipe for beef-barley soup? That’s the one that I want. It is so-o-o good. I’m not much interested in pastries. I have been teaching Próspero how to make biscotti and pizzelle (I bought an pizzelle iron). He intends to re-open the restaurant little by little, starting with just coffee and breakfest…so we need some pastries, ala italiana, to go with the espresso. By the way, what is the difference between sour cream and just cream (or is it just that obvious?)? I can buy cream down here, but I’ve never seen sour cream offered. Could I just leave plain cream in the refrigerator until it sours?


    • Laurene
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 20:26:09

      Hey, Frank! So glad you like this. I thought I had given you the recipe for Babka’s Beef-Barley soup before, but I’ll make that my next post. I’m really glad to hear that the Posada’s restaurant will be slowly reopening, even if for just breakfast. That will be important to your guests before they go out into the area for the day. You might also consider having fresh bread rolls, cheese, & fresh fruit available to your guests because these are also traditional breakfast offerings in Italy–at least they were while I lived there. Perhaps someone in the village could supply you with the fresh bread rolls (like pan serrano)? The thing about cream & sour cream is complicated because in Mexico, when you say “crema”, you may really be referring to a sort of soft sour cream (like Crème fraîche) that goes on enchiladas & other food items. That’s known as “media crema.” The more solid sour cream that we have in the States probably doesn’t exist in Mexico, so you’re right. Cream that goes into your coffee would be “crema” but I suspect that they probably would more likely use “leche” more often (which would be probably whole milk & plenty rich already). But no, you shouldn’t leave plain cream in the frig till it sours. That’s just spoiled cream & if your dairy there didn’t pasturize sufficiently, could potentially be dangerous to eat. It’s all about the type of bacteria that they use to successfully turn cream into sour cream. Finally, plain crema is liquid & media crema is more “espesa.” Finally, have you considered using canned condensed milk (“Leche Lachera”) with coffee? It’s sweet & rich & gives your coffee a sort of caramel flavor (like leche quemada). The Vietnamese make their French coffee that way & put it over ice.


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