Sunday, December 25, 2011


Fried carp with Slovakian Style Potato Salad. 
A fixture on the Slovak holiday table.

 Happy Holidays to everyone. Its that time of year again in our house where we serve up the Slovakian Christmas feast. Though feast is a stretch for me, actually its more like a fast. Please allow me to apologize in advance to all Slovakian and Slovakian culinary sympathizers in advance for the following digressions. IT IS ALL IN FUN. So please if you are Slovakian and easily offended please stop reading now.

I have to be honest when it comes to food and I will not beat around the bush. Slovakian food is AWFUL. It is the antithesis of the gourmet and it is my culinary adversary.   All of it sucks. I could say one redeemable dish is Goulash but that is actually Hungarian. I just don't get it. First off what is up with the frickin potato salad and breaded fried cutlets? Good god how are the Slovaks not sick of this? For those that do not know; you can go to ANY and EVERY Slovakian party and they serve breaded pork or chicken cutlets with Slovakian style potato salad. I mean every party. Wedding-breaded cutlets and potato salad, birthday- breaded cutlets and potato salad, get together- breaded cutlets and potato salad. It is just insanity. There have been times when we have gone to parties several times in a couple of weeks and at all of them they are serving breaded cutlets and potato salad. I just wont eat. Breaded cutlets and potato salad, breaded cutlets and potato salad, breaded cutlets and potato salad, breaded cutlets and potato salad. I swear if I never have another breaded cutlet and potato salad it will be too soon.

Then we come to the Holidays. Here we get a little change up. What do we have on the holidays? Breaded fried carp. Fricken yum. Guess what the accompaniment is? Yep, you guessed it, potato salad. That, strictly, is what the meal is on Christmas eve. WTF. But wait, guess what we have on New Year? The very same meal of fried carp and potato salad. Its unbelievable, I understand traditions and the willingness to sometimes suffer them, but I don't know how these traditions started and I just cant understand.  I wish people would break from them.

Lets break down the full Christmas (and New Year) meal.  I will spare everyone the recipes so they do not have to suffer the same as I. But if anyone wants these recipes I will be happy to share them.

First there is Kapustnica. This is sauerkraut and kielbasa soup. Basically you can think sauerkraut and kielbasa with a whole bunch of water poured on top. With some added dried mushrooms that are reminiscent of dirty, hard, old wool socks that your dad has been wearing for a week without laundering. It is as though the broth was made by pouring the water through these dirty socks before adding it to the soup. Then you add some sour cream, it separates and curdles. The flavors of sour cream, sauerkraut and dried foot mushrooms combined are indescribable. Well I can describe them but I wont. 

I will say that this one isn't that hard to choke down if you add some herbs and spices though most Slovakian cooks do not.

Then there is Oplatky:  a "treat" that is served before and during the meal. Basically this is a large bland flavorless communion wafer. That is to say that a communion wafer is absolutely delicious in comparison. Drizzled with honey it is somewhat bearable. 

Then we come to the main coarse of fried carp. If you like the taste of fish poop you will love fried carp. I, however avoid fish poop whenever possible. That is why we replaced the carp with tilapia in our house. Yes tilapia is still a kind of carp but it is far less poopish.

 Slovakian potato salad is a mixture of potatoes, peas, carrots, eggs, mayonnaise and pickles with pickle juice added. The potato salad ends up being a thick, clumpy mass and the addition of eggs, pickle juice and mayonnaise marries to make a certain flavor reminiscent of vomit.

For desert (Oh the Joy) we have bobalky. These are put together by first making flavorless bread balls that you allow to get stale. (They are very similar to oyster crackers.) Then they are placed in boiling water until soggy, after which they are covered in poppy seeds and drizzled with honey.
They are sweet soggy bread balls. Blech!

So many people in Slovakia like to drink, A LOT. This is no doubt because of the food. You only have to think about your dinner there and it is enough to make you start drinking before lunch. In Slovakia you will see that most of the dogs there are limping, this is because people come home from work, take one look at their dinner and then they kick the dog.

Sorry again to all of the Slovakian cooks and diners out there,  but I really do have to be honest. I love all of our Slovak friends and I only hope that my critazizems will help. please, please, PLEASE step away from the fried cutlets and potato salad! There is a world of foods out there to explore.

Tradition sucks, smash it where it stands.

Merry Christmas to all, I hope all of your wishes come true and may you enjoy your Christmas feast!!!! difficult as that may be.