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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Exploring Czech Food – Part VI – Famous Potato Salad (Poznavame Ceska Jidla – Cast VI – Slavny Bramborovy Salat)

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Czechs love potato salads. They use it to make special sandwiches called “chlebicky,” but also just as a side to main dishes. A typical Christmas dinner includes a fish or pea soup and potato salad with fried carp or schnitzel.  It is hard to find a potato salad that tastes like the one from home. The recipe below truly represents the real potato salad you can find in the Czech Republic. Its great taste will really make you famous amongst Czech communities.

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Exploring Czech Food – Part IV – Million Soup (Poznavame Ceska Jidla – Cast IV. – Milionova Polevka)

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Today, we will begin directly with a recipe for my favorite soup. My mother cooked it whenever I asked her, because it was very simple to prepare and all of the ingredients were always at home.

MILLION SOUP (pronounce “MEELEEOHNOVAH POLEHVKAH”)

Ingredients:
Chicken or vegetable bouillon (cubes)
1 spoon of butter
1 egg (optional)
5 spoons of cream of wheat
Carrots (finely grated)
Root vegetables (optional – may also be finely grated or cut)
Green parsley or chives (optional)
Salt
Pepper
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Exploring Czech Food – Part II – HOUSKY (Poznavame Ceske Jidla – Dil II. – HOUSKY)

In my last blog I mentioned Czech cuisine origins. What I did not mention yet is that Czech food is very heavy and filling. Starch and flour are widely used to make thick sauces. Czechs mostly eat chicken and pork but beef and rabbit are also favored. Fresh produce is available throughout the year now but salads are usually popular in the summer. The rest of the year Czechs eat potatoes and other seasonal vegetables but also canned fruits and vegetables. Moreover, every Czech family has pickles, sauerkraut and dry mushrooms. In the summer, they like to go to the beautiful public forests to pick mushrooms, which they use immediately or dry them and use for the rest of the year.

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Exploring Czech Food – Part I (Poznavame Ceske Jidla – Dil I.)

Anyone who has tried Czech food knows that it consists of lots of sauces, dumplings, sausages, potatoes and more. The list of Czech dishes is long and not very healthy but this does not stop anybody from eating it. Czech food is not actually very original and you can find similar ingredients or whole menus in other European countries.

 

The Czech cuisine was influenced by countries that dominated the country throughout its history. Germans brought to the country sauerkraut, dumplings or roasted goose, Hungarians introduced goulash, and Austrians inspired Czechs to incorporate schnitzels in their diet.

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Are You Craving Czech Bread and Mustard? (Prahnete po Ceskem Chlebu a Horcici?)

Some of the things that every Czech person living in America misses are the bread and mustard from the home country. The standard bread in the US leaves something to be desired and there just doesn’t seem to be any mustard quite like the “Kremska Horcice.” I have been in search of something even remotely similar to these Czech products but am always disappointed. I finally discovered two products that are remarkably close. Panera Bread (http://www.panerabread.com) sells bread called Stone-Milled Rye that is unbelievably like Czech bread. The only problem is that most places only bake three loafs per night so call ahead or go early if you want to get some. Mustard was more of a challenge and after buying at least 25 different types of mustards over the last 10 years I have finally found a product by Emeril called “Kicked Up Horseradish” mustard. I have some Kremska Horcice at home still from my last visit to Czech so I was able to compare them. I have to say that this is the closest I have found (but a little more sour) and I think you will not be disappointed. This mustard is sold in most grocery stores. Enjoy!

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Do You Want to Meet with Czechs and Slovaks? (Chcete se Setkat s Cechy a Slovaky?)

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The current list of Czech and Slovak Meetup can be found HERE (Aktualni seznam Ceskych a Slovenskych Meetupu ZDE).

There are many ways to network with other Czechs and Slovaks but one of the most popular is through the web. One of the resources you can use is Meetup (www.meetup.com). This online social networking portal connects people around the world that share the same interests. It allows members to find and join different groups (language, computer games, movies, books, politics, health, pets, or careers). So why won’t you try it too? Czech/Slovak Meetups welcome anybody – Czechs, Slovaks, Czech/Slovak-Americans, or even Americans! Join to learn more about Czech and Slovak culture, language, food, traditions and much more.

 

Here is the most recent list of Czech and Slovak Meetups as of September 2008 (scroll below):

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