Oct 262011
Tvarohove rezy

Tvarohové rezy by Ľuboš Brieda of SlovakCooking.com

If you were to ask Ľuboš Brieda, “What’s cookin’?”, he’d most likely tell you the name of a Slovak dish you’ve never heard of. Which is precisely what his website Slovak Cooking remedies:

This site is dedicated to the natural and wholesome lifestyle of our (Slovak) grandparents. It’s the lifestyle when food did not come shrink-wrapped, when flour was part of every pantry, and potatoes of every cellar. Join in, and try some Slovak dishes today. There is a bit of Slovakia in all of us!

The website is simple: there’s a blog; there’s a cookbook; and there’s a language primer that includes a video of one of the best 1980’s Slovak songs of all times. Listen to it right now, I’ll wait.

Most of all, there are recipes. Lots of them. Several brought a smile to my face, others triggered memories. To be honest, I didn’t know some of the dishes; as small as Slovakia is, there’s some culinary distance between “my” Eastern Slovakia and “his” Central Slovakia. Because of this regional variation (not to mention differences between recipes from family to family) Even Slovaks can learn a lot from Slovak Cooking.

Always digging at the Why, I liked Ľuboš’s summary of the reasons and purpose for his project,

I moved to the U.S. with my mom shortly after turning 14, and slowly and surely, began to miss the tasty Slovak home cooking. So I figured I’ll try to learn few of the recipes, and perhaps along the way find out more about the culture and history of my country.

You can tell Ľuboš loves Slovak food to the point of evangelism. He loves cooking it and sharing his discoveries. Judging from the activity on the SlovakCooking.com Facebook page, plenty of people are interested. Not just Slovaks abroad either; people with the Slovak heritage flock to the site. I highly recommend it if you fall into either of these categories, if you want to bring out the “bit of Slovakia in all of us” that is in you, or if you want to surprise your significant other. Under the right circumstances, živánska is magic.

When I first learned about Slovak Cooking, from Lindsay at Blue Palate, I didn’t think it was for me. I am not much of a cook, though thanks to my Christmas kapustnica that has become a tradition in my adopted country, I’m slowly learning my parents’s cuisine. I’m also enjoying the vast variety of cuisines the United States offers. Finally, I yield to Lindsay’s absolute and overwhelming superiority in the kitchen, where I am at best an unworthy sous-sous-chef humbly following her instructions.

So I have yet to make a recipe from Slovak Cooking. But looking at Ľuboš’s recipes for tvarohové rezy (Farmer’s Cheese Cake) or studená torta (Cold Torte), I think this year’s Thanksgiving table will experience a sweet Slovak touch.

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