|Help Help!!! I am looking for a recipe to duplicate or approximate a childhood favorite dish, a traditional cultural dish linked to my ancestral heritage. I live in Texas and my Czech ancestors settled in East Texas in the 1850s, all agricultural people. Even now, Czech is the second most frequently spoken foreign language in East Texas.
Both of my Czech grandmothers, long dead now, made a wonderful home-made cooked cheese and never had a written recipe. They collected the curds from soured milk, drained the whey in a cheesecloth sack for several days, and aged it in a cheesecloth wrapping in a pan, under the kitchen sink.
Grandma said it needed to cure until it was mildly stinky, not obnoxiously stinky.
To prepare it to eat, each grandmother would melt it in a saucepan with a little butter and often with a sprinkling of caraway seeds, and a pinch of salt.. It was sticky and absolutely wonderful. It was spooned over toasted bread for a breakfast meal and all us kids grew up on the comfort food. We adored it and there was never enough, it seems.
Can you identify what I am talking about and aim me in the direction I need to go to make it. It is such an important part of my heritage that I am feeling desperate to find out what to do. Knowledge of the how of this seems to have died out among my relatives, as the old folks have pretty much died off.
Mary Ann Rodgers in San Antonio
Well Mary Ann received an answer and I asked her to share it with us:
A big thanks for posting my request for a recipe for Czech cheese from childhood. The man who responded to my plea was very helpful. We had a flurry of correspondence and also included my cousin in another city. My cousin was able to get raw milk right away and started the first batch. Every day of the first 4 days he took a picture of the pot of milk as it changed in appearance from milk to kiska (like yoghurt) and then to tvaroh the curds. When it was time to drain the curds we hung the curds in cheesecloth to drain . The documentation was not complete until we placed photographs of our grandparents next to the pot!!! I think they would have been proud of us for wanting to resurrect this tradition. After a few days of aging we finished up the procedure for the cooked stage. We were very pleased.
Best of all, we sent daily pictures to the Slovak man and he forwarded them to him mother in SLOVAKIA for help, and each day we had thumbs up via E-mail between the 4 of us.