Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sour beef

When I was growing up, my parents would sometimes make traditional Czech foods. One of them that I enjoyed was sour beef and dumplings. We only ate it a couple of times per year because it's pretty time-intensive to make.

My dad came to visit last weekend and brought me a couple of servings that he'd frozen. (He makes it a lot more often now that he's retired again.) I was more than a little concerned that it might be the kind of food that you had to eat while growing up in order to stomach, let alone love, but Steph liked it a lot. I didn't take a picture because, well, it's not the most attractive-looking dinner.

I don't have my dad's recipe yet, but I Googled the phrase last night and found a few, none of which look like they're the one our family uses. I also found information about some restaurants in Baltimore that serve it. The Czech word for dumplings is spelled knedlicky; it's pronounced KLED-neek in my family. Most people seem to make small individual dumplings, whereas we make large ones and then slice them.

My Czech vocabulary is very small, and I have difficulty locating the correct spellings of the few words I do know because they aren't phonetic. A number of years ago my cousins and I compared the Czech words we knew from our dads, and we discovered we knew different ones. They know the word for mashed potatoes, for example, while I know the words for facial hair, pacifier, and tail (as in "dog following you around," not "appendage on the back of animals."

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