Sunday, May 22, 2011

Czech Heritage

The "Silver Fox" a.k.a. hubby has been in school full-time toward a RN degree and working full-time for the past three years.  He has the summer off, so we are knee deep in 3 years worth of projects, but we are also going to have some fun this summer.  I suggested to him, that we have fun 1 day a week and he fired up for that as well.  We took off to Cedar Rapids and the Czech Village a few days ago.  We have never been there, but knew they had been heavily damaged in the flood of 2007, so really didn't know if there was anything left to see. 
They fixed this small building up as a temporary museum while they are in the process of moving the Czech museum just down the street. We were told they lost 20% of their collection, which is much less than I thought.  My great-grandmother came with her family from there when she was 3 years old. They settled in Chicago for a time before coming to the Traer/Toledo area. Although they were not a part of the Cedar Rapids settlement, as I looked at this model.....I am sure the women in my family looked very much like her.  Notice the gold stripe on the wall, that is how high the water was in this building during the flood.  I am including a link to the museum, especially if you are interested in watching them move the main museum, it is a HUGE building.  This is to happen very soon.

Rose Fisher Weaver, my Great-Grandmother..... seated with her classmates in Chicago, 1894.  I remember my Grandma K. telling me about members of Rose's family getting training to sell sewing machines while they lived there for their income.  I always thought that was very interesting and loved that story.

We were encouraged to stop at the Sykora Bakery, which has been in business for many years in the Czech Village.  This shows the 80 year old ovens from the bakery that were destroyed in the flood.  What beautiful ovens, I can't imagine how much they produced over 80 years.  Sadly, only the fronts of these appliances remain after the flood.  They had to replace their ovens, but saved the face of the old ones for display.

We had to partake of the kolaches.   I had a strawberry one and Jeff enjoyed the cherry.  I remember my Great-Grandma W. making them when I was a kid.  And yes they were as good as they looked and they had a numerous fillings to chose from. 

Here is a recipe I found among my grandma's collection:


2 c. milk
3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. yeast
5 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. shortening
1 t. salt

Warm milk to luke warm; add to beaten eggs and sugar.  Stir in yeast.  Add half of the flour.  Add shortening and salt; stir well.  Sift in remaining flour and beat till smooth and bubbles form on top.  The more you beat, the better the dough.  Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Take out and form balls the size of a walnut.  Put on greased pan.  Let rise for about an hour in a warm place.  Make indentations and fill with your favorite filling.  Let rise again and about 1/2 hour.  Bake in oven at 400 for 10 minutes.

Poppy Seed Filling
1/2 c. poppy seed
1 T butter
2 T honey
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. chopped almonds

Mix everything but the almonds in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly 5 minutes.  Cool.  Add almonds.


marolsh said...

I came to your blog to see the t-shirt tutorial you posted about in Creative Machine. Thank you for that; it's inspirational.

I stayed to find this recipe, to my delight. Thank you for posting it; I will have to try it. I loved my Gramma's kolache, but didn't get her recipe. This one looks very close to what she'd have done.

One of my brothers was nicknamed Kolach. What sweeter pet name could anyone have?

Sheri said...

Glad you enjoyed this posting. You must also have a Czech bkgd to have a brother nicknamed Kolach. That is really cute!!! It is not a word you hear every day. :)


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Sheri said...

Glad you stopped by. I am taking a small respite from the has taken over. But I plan to be back soon and have much to write about.