The saga of the “Prague” deli on the Toronto’s “Queen Street” (Sága “Pražského” uzenářství na “Královnině ulici” v Torontu

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Author: Josef Čermák (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

It all started long time ago. Next year, it will be 60 years. In 1952 Jaroslav Roušal opened in a building municipally known as 638 Queen Street West in Toronto “J. Rousal Prague Ham Shop”. It was the first establishment in Toronto making Prague ham and sausages. The Roušal family continued in this business until 1968 (I stopped there occasionally for sausages or other goodies, but because it happened long time ago and my memory isn’t all that good anymore, I don’t remember too much about the Rousal years, and will move directly to the Pichlik family dynasty). That year (1968, when in Prague and actually all across the land, Prague Spring filled the streets with a new hope – and then came the tanks from the east), in the fall, the Prague Ham Shop was bought by the Pichlik family.  Continue reading

Saint Nicholas and Human Generosity (Svatý Mikuláš a lidská velkorysost)

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December 6th is Saint Nicholas Day in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This day is special for children as well as for their parents. Last year we described what happens when a child meets St. Nicholas, the devil and the angel, but this year we would like to share with you a tradition and a recipe that one immigrant family follows while they share their love with others on the eve of this special day. Continue reading

Enjoy the Czech Hospitality of the Past (Vychutnejte si české pohostinství z minulosti)

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Do you still remember going to Czech restaurants and pubs with tacky decorations, dirty walls, sticky tables or dirty tablecloths with set in stains? The food from that era was very simple, maybe too oily or salty, but very cheap. In places like this you could find interesting people and an atmosphere that was much different form the one you may experience today. This week you can find a restaurant like this in Prague 3 called “U dvou Hrabalu” on Chelcickeho 14 Street. The restaurant was re-designed to show what Czech or even Slovak pubs used to look like in the eighties or maybe even earlier times. Until Sunday, the visitors have a chance to go back in time to re-live the past that may have already been forgotten.

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Don‘t Miss the Slovak Food Cooking Guide and Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Nepřehlédněte průvodce vařením slovenského jídla a recept na zelnou polévku)

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Recently, we have been watching message threads by a Slovak student living in the USA. He was trying to locate a store that was selling poppy seeds. “Why would somebody desperately search for poppy seeds that we can find everywhere?” we asked ourselves. Well, today we know and would like to share it with you along with our great discovery of simple and easy to follow recipes from a website that offers weekly Slovak recipes with ingredients that can be purchased in the USA. The site also includes a recipe for plum dumplings, which were discussed in one of our earlier posts; thus, now you can see their preparation with all the necessary details. Continue reading

Curiosities: Dumpling Experts (Kuriozity: Knedlíkoví odborníci)

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Czech/Slovak dumplings are very popular at home and even abroad. Dumplings or “Knedliky” can be served with sauerkraut and pork, or on the other extreme, with fruit and sugar. They can be prepared from bread, flour, potatoes or other products. They can have different shapes as well: balls, slices, crumbles and can be filled or used separately as sides, which depends on a way they are prepared: boiling, steaming, frying, baking etc. Fruit-filled dumplings are very popular at home at eating contests, as you may see with hot dogs at other places around the world. One such contest just took place in Miroslav, a town in the Znojmo District, where contestants competed in eating apricot-filled dumplings. The winner did not break the record, but was able to beat the winner of last year’s competition. Would you like to make your own dumpling or even compete in the same competition? There are as many variations of fruit dumplings since their fans, or dumpling experts, learn to make them from ingredients available abroad and we have a couple of them for you to try. Continue reading

Czech Etiquette I (Česká Etiketa I.)

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Visiting the Czech Republic can bring many experiences. Some of them may be good ones, while others can bring negative impressions or embarrassment. Our new series on Czech etiquette should help you to overcome the culture shocks that visitors to the Czech Republic may experience. You may also follow these rules when visiting Slovakia, since the Czech and Slovak cultures are very similar to each other.

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Exploring Czech Food – Part VII – Garlic Soup (Poznáváme Česká Jídla – Část VII – Česneková Polévka)

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How many of you have ever tried Czech garlic soup? It may sound disgusting to you but it actually tastes pretty good and some people say that it is good for you. The soup is easy to make and you don’t need many ingredients. Not only have we included the recipe, you can also watch a video below to learn how to make it. The video recipe is even simpler than the one we are describing below.

 

There are many recipes for making “česnečka” – garlic soup, thus, the one we are attaching is just one of many ways of how you that can make it. You can also be creative and make your own soup based on ingredients that you love and prefer.

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Oh, That Disgusting Cumin! (Ach, Ten Nechutný Kmín!)

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Living abroad requires a learning curve that is different for each of us. Everything is different – language, culture, fashion, cuisine … and we can go on with this list. One of our readers wrote an interesting story about how it is important to use the right spices when cooking Czech food. As our title already suggests, it was the caraway seed that she had switched with the cumin. You would think: “This can’t change the taste of the food?” but the opposite is true. Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is confused with caraway (Carum carvi) due to its appearance but not the taste that is far different and can completely ruin your whole meal.

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New Mood – New Food I. (Nová Nálada – Nová Přísada I.)

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Avocado (images.teamsugar.com)

One of our readers from the Czech Republic asked us for help. She bought her first avocados but did not know what to do with them. Her passion for trying new foods inspired us to start a new sequence named “New Mood – New Food.”  During communism, every average customer in Czechoslovakia did not have many opportunities to eat exotic food from other countries outside the Eastern Bloc. Even bananas were so rare that people had to wait in lines for hours to get one kilogram per person. Today, both countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have open markets that bring new varieties of food items that their citizens are learning to eat. Today, as you may already expect, we introduce to you avocados and a recipe for guacamole – a great dip for crackers or tortilla chips.

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Holiday Spirit with Czech and Slovak Spirits III. (V Duchu Svatku s Ceskymi a Slovenskymi Lihovinami III.)

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New Year’s celebrations are almost here. Would you like to prepare a special drink for this extraordinary occasion? How about punch? Both of the spirits below will keep you warm for a long time!

 

Recipe for New Year’s Eve punch:

Ingredients:
1 cup of water
120 grams (1/4 lbs) of granulated sugar
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of white wine
50 ml (1.7 fl oz) of lemon juice
60 ml (2 fl oz) of vodka or cherry vodka

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Is Czech Carp Special? (Je Cesky Kapr Zvlastni?)

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As you may already know, Czechs and Slovaks eat carp on Christmas Eve as their main dish. Is this the only day that they eat fish then? Peter Gandalovic, Czech Agriculture Minister, started a project to encourage Czechs to eat more fish all year round. Apparently, the Czech Republic is one of the biggest producers of fish but it is a country with the lowest rates of fish consumption (we don’t have information about Slovakia). Moreover, recent news announced that Czech scientists will launch a three-year project to prove that carp meat will improve overall human health. Will these incentives change this sad statistics?

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Holiday Spirit with Czech and Slovak Spirits II. (V Duchu Svatku s Ceskymi a Slovenskymi Lihovinami II.)

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Another alcoholic beverage associated with Christmas in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is also very simple to prepare. Last time we introduced a recipe for mulled wine. Today you will only need rum (brandy or whisky) and some other items you already have at home. Our recipe shows just one of many ways you can prepare “Grog” – a drink originally prepared by British sailors.

Recipe for Grog:

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