12
Mar
2012
Jayne Cohen's picture

NEWEST STORY: The Czech-Jewish Kitchen

Jayne Cohen

photo taken by Manfreg Morgner, on August 12, 2010, CC licensing

At the crossroads of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Eastern Europe, Czech-Jewish cooks shared many of their neighbors' recipes and ingredients.

Poultry-duck and especially goose-were very popular: in addition to the meat that was roasted or smoked, goose necks were stuffed with well-seasoned matzoh meal or flour, then simmered in soup or roasted. And rendered goose fat was invaluable for cooking both sweet and savory dishes.

The long, cold Czech winters made robust fare, like stews and starches, especially appealing. All Central and Eastern European cuisines feature a variety of dumpling recipes, but no one adores their knedliky as much as the Czechs, who prepare them in every season and for every course from soup to dessert.

There are knedliky made from raw, grated or cooked, mashed potatoes; prepared from white bread, challah, or rolls; made primarily of flour or matzoh and others from curd cheese. Knedliky that enclose apricots, plums, or summer berries are a special delicacy.

Knedliky may be savory-flavored with onions, caraway seeds, sauerkraut or sautéed cabbage, or the woodsy mushrooms that flourish in the Czech forests. Or they may be sweet--tossed with buttery bread crumbs, cinnamon sugar, sour cream, and cheese, or served with fruit.

Bohemian and Moravian Jewish bakers have always had a well-deserved reputation for excellent pastries and cakes, from simple fruit kuchens to extravagant nut tortes.

More photos from this country

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