Slovak Christmas 2011

If you ever want to go to Slovakia, and you happen to know me, let me tell you that you don’t need to go all the way over there.

Just come with me to my grandfather’s house in New Jersey. He’ll be 92 next week. Not only is the decor at his house a time warp back to circa 1960, the cuisine hasn’t changed at all over the years.

My mom and godmother slaved all day yesterday preparing traditional Slovak Christmas Eve food. Among our relatives and many other Slovaks (and some other Eastern European cultures), Dec. 24th is more of a big deal than Dec. 25th. Today is “American Christmas.” We will probably eat something like ham and potatoes and green veggies. Last night this was not the case.

My family comes from the Michalovce area. So, if you know other Slovaks, maybe they come from a different area, and their food may vary slightly.

Caveat: If you don’t like sauerkraut, don’t read beyond this point.

We started off with good old pierogies. One is a cheese / potatoe mixture, the other (my favorite) is filled with sauerkraut only. All are served in a huge pot with an ungodly amount of melted butter.

The round dough balls next to the pierogies are called “bobalki.” They too have been doused with melted butter and have “farmer’s cheese” sprinkled on it. I am not a fan of the cheese. I usually like when Merka (my godmother) puts sauerkraut on the bobalki, but alas, my mom put the kibosh on it and said we already had too much sauerkraut going on. She was right.

While we were waiting for the pork roast to finish, we had the mushroom sauerkraut soup. The mushrooms are chanterelles from the Slovak forests, from the old country. The greatest thing is that all the old Slovak ladies in my family refer to Slovakia as “Europe.” I could never get over that one.

The chanterelles from Slovakia:

And finally, the pork roast, accompanied of course by the sauerkraut. This year we had potatoes in it, though we usually don’t.

The interesting thing worth mentioning is that the sweet dessert cookies aren’t exactly dessert. They are out on the table all afternoon and during the evening meal. This might just be something weird my family does, but they sit out there right next to the pork roast. Interesting. I don’t like these cookies. I am a bad Slovak, well, a bad 50% Slovak. My mom was very accommodating and made me some American chocolate-chip cookies.

The Slovak cookies are the “kolachky.” I am very bad at Slovak spelling, but it’s close enough.

The sad thing is that my Slovak “Baba” passed away earlier this year, so it was our first Slovak Christmas without her. “Dzedu” was pretty depressed about it, but the food definitely cheered him up a little bit. The high-caloric content of Slovak Christmas Eve cuisine has a heartwarming effect. And Merka and my mom pulled it off really well. My contribution? I washed the dishes, because I am an absolute disaster in the kitchen. The best way I can help out in the kitchen is to keep out of the way. : )

I could write all day about Slovak food, but now we have to get in the car to go have American Christmas.

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2 Comments on “Slovak Christmas 2011”

  1. karen December 25, 2011 at 14:38 #

    Sounds wonderful…Enjoy the Slovak and American versions!!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Slovak Christmas 2012 « 256 Days in a Pickup Truck - December 24, 2012

    […] Just a quick follow-up from last year’s post about Slovak Christmas 2011: […]

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