December 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
Share this on:

CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski, holupki and paska.

I’ve always enjoyed the Slovak food my mother and extended family prepares. We eat these dishes at every family gathering: weddings, funerals and holiday celebrations. We eagerly approach the buffet display to find the holupki and haluski that usually occupy the first few trays, but at the end of the tables are the treats.

Cookies and cakes dominate that section, but the pastry that has always delighted my palate is the kolachi nut roll. Kolachi (sometimes spelled "kolache") is the name often given to a standard type of Slavic dough-filled pastry. Our kolachi is rolled dough filled with a walnut mixture, but other families fill theirs with a poppy seed mixture.

My aunt Eleanor was always celebrated as the one whose recipe held the quality edge over the other family members'. Obviously, this unofficial title has been disputed, but I concede that hers had a slight advantage in my childhood memories.

But Eleanor’s health eventually left her unable to make the delicious kolachi. As her health was failing, she insisted that her daughter Renee learn her kolachi recipe and carry on the tradition and her legacy. My cousin Renee embraced her mother’s challenge, and carries, in my mind, the title for making the best kolachi nut roll.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


Paska for Easter - a loaf of love
March 29th, 2013
03:00 PM ET
Share this on:

CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski.

I’d like to introduce you to the Easter bread that we called Paska. It is a two dough bread that incorporates cheese and raisins, and the arduous process that can take up to SIX hours to prepare. There in no wonder that this bread was made only once a year. I can’t imaging how my grandmother, who had 10 children, could find time for anything, let alone spending so much time for baking bread, plus the rest of the meal preparation.

It will always be one of my favorite foods. I will occasionally make a small loaf, but it is never as good as Mom’s. When I visit her, frozen Paska is always “forced” upon me and I take it home with me. Outside the Easter tradition, it is amazing when toasted and covered with butter. Oh yes, did I mention Paska with a hot cup of coffee?

Get John's family recipe - Slovak soul food: Paska for Easter

More on Easter foods and traditions

Posted by:
Filed under: Baked Goods • Family Recipe Index • Make • Recipes


December 10th, 2012
12:15 PM ET
Share this on:

CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski and paska.

When we were kids, stuck inside during a long, cold winter or seeking respite from the summer heat under a shade tree, my friends and I often played board games. These games could go on for quite a while, and we'd get to talking about sports and whatever else young boys think about. Eventually we'd get around to the topic of our favorite foods.

We all agreed that stuffed cabbage, known as holupki, was the best of all. Second to pizza, of course.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


Have a sweet holiday and save kitchen memories while you can
November 28th, 2012
10:30 AM ET
Share this on:

Everything tasted better when my grandma was around.

Growing up, we didn't get to see my dad's side of the family all that often, but I noticed at some point that all the food we ate in Grandma Kinsman's presence was exponentially more delicious. Later on, I came to realize that it wasn't due to some special grandmotherly mojo, but rather that she used real butter rather than margarine, and my family shopped accordingly when she was in town.

No matter the ingredients, I was predisposed to enjoy her cooking. I loved her and she loved me, her weird, short-haired, misfit granddaughter, even if the rest of the world wasn't inclined to. Seldom did I feel that love so strongly as when her yearly shipment of holiday cookies arrived.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Buzz • Chilled Out and Cheery • Christmas • Cookies • Family Recipe Index • Favorites • Feature • Holiday • Holidays • iReport • Make • Recipes


Just don't call me late for Iftari
August 18th, 2012
08:00 PM ET
Share this on:

From dawn to dusk during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex in order to purify themselves, learn humility, pray and concentrate on Allah's teachings. Sarah Mahmood is a former intern on Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien and a junior at Wellesley College and shares this story of her family's traditional Indian celebration.

This might be the first Ramadan that my parents wonʼt complain about how theyʼve gained weight, despite having fasted the entire month.

After a long, hungry day of fasting, itʼs easy to overcompensate when you can finally eat. It doesnʼt help that in South Asia, the meal eaten to break the fast (Iftari or Iftar in other parts of the Muslim world), consists primarily of fried food.

Now that Ramadan is in the summer though, and the sun sets later at 8 pm, fewer families are having the traditional fare. Itʼs too hectic to prepare and eat two meals just before going to bed, and so many are skipping straight to dinner.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holiday • Make • Ramadan • Ramadan • Recipes • Religion • Rituals


Slovak soul food - Paska for Easter
April 6th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
Share this on:

CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski.

Spring in Western Pennsylvania was all about the sounds of the birds, the smells of renewed life, and sights of the buds and green surrounding us. All of this seemed to happen suddenly, and with these changes we knew that Easter was soon upon us. The traditions of my mother’s Byzantine Catholic and my father’s Roman Catholic church were prevalent in our lives, and the sound and smells of these traditions were as stunning as spring.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Baked Goods • Easter • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes


This family recipe's secret? It came from a cookbook
December 28th, 2011
04:45 PM ET
Share this on:

"Wait - there's an actual recipe for this?"

My husband Douglas paused his furious stirring and spun around from his post at the stove. I pointed to the book his mother, now resting in the front room, had left spread open and bookmarked on her kitchen table.

"Well yeah," I said. "Isn't this what you're using? Onion, cornbread, celery, the egg? It's the same dressing you make for Thanksgiving, and this recipe is pretty much it, right?"
FULL POST



A family gives up a secret sugar cookie recipe
December 23rd, 2011
11:00 AM ET
Share this on:

Recently, I shared a family story on Eatocracy about our attempt to get back our family tradition: the befana cookie. My Grandmother passed away before we learned how to make them. We took these special cookies for granted.

My brother tried many different combinations of ingredients. He researched with other members of the family, the internet, even conversations with cousins in Italy to try to make them Nonna's way. But, finally, he achieved cookie perfection.

I couldn't disclose the secret recipe for fear of Bernardini excommunication. It has now become a family legacy. When the story was re-posted this year, I quickly from the learned from the comment section that that legacy turned into a fatal flaw. So many people were very disgusted with me.

As a form of penance, I want to post another recipe that we do share throughout the year: sugar cookies.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Christmas • Cookies • Family Recipe Index • Holiday • Holidays • Make • Recipes


December 13th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
Share this on:

Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes sharing green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.

There’s something addictive about that moment when you hand someone a homemade treat and their face lights up like you’ve just given them a hug. It turns baking into therapy, food into an olive branch, and those you share it with into a family.

I’ve experienced that joy for many years, by virtue of being the delivery girl every winter. I may have switched from wearing hair bows and Christmas dresses to newsboy caps and tall boots, but that feeling stays the same, and I always come bearing gifts.
FULL POST

Posted by:
Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Christmas • Dessert • Dishes • Family Recipe Index • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


Pinterest
Archive
April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
| Part of