Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baking with My Mother-In-Law

(Cherry Kolache)

With thunderstorms looming and a cloudy, overcast day dragging me into a bit of a funk, I decided that it would be a good morning to do some baking. My mother-in-law has been staying with us this week, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me and my daughter to learn some of her family baking recipes. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that one of the goals of The Greasy Skillet is to preserve family recipes. I don't want to see treasured family recipes slip through the cracks of time simply because I didn't take the time to cook with my family.

This morning we set out to bake Kolache and what my mother-in-law calls Horn Rolls. My mother-in-law grew up in Wilbur, Nebraska, the official Czech capital of the United States, so both these recipes are rooted in Czech culture. I encountered my first Kolache during my first year of teaching at Centre High School, a consolidated school about 45 miles or so south of Junction City on Highway 77. The area around the school – Lost Springs, Lincolnville, Burdick, Tampa, and Pilsen – was settled by Czech immigrants.

When I began dating my wife, I quickly realized that Kolache were omnipresent at all her family functions. I then learned that my wife's mother was only baker in the family keeping the Kolache tradition alive. With the birth of my daughter, I felt an urgency to learn how to bake Kolache, so that I could preserve the tradition and pass it on to my daughter.

Anyway, the day of baking went well. I'm glad I took the time to bake with my mother-in-law because I don't think I could learn to bake Kolache merely by following the recipe. I'm far from mastering the recipes, but at least I've taken the first step. I just need to take the first steps to document additional family recipes. So many recipes, so little time.
(Cherry, Apricot, and Pineapple Kolache)

(Horn Rolls. For the record, these aren't as polished as my mother-in-law's rolls)

1 comment:

Marianne said...

I would love the recipe if you care to share. :) My Grandma had these at the kitchen table for breakfast all the time...and I don't have her recipe.