What Did Our Ancestors Eat And Drink?

3-4 2007 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

On October 28, 2996, the Czech Republic celebrated the 88-th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak state. Politicians laid wreaths, certain personages received prizes and many cultural activities took place in various parts of the country.

We shall visit today a community called Marianska Tynice- north of Pilsen. Here we can find some of the most beautiful examples of the Baroque style in Middle Europe. Nearby in Plasy, a Cistercian monastery was founded in 1144. Its abbot Evzen Kyttl engaged the famous architect and builder Jan B. Santini, the genius of the Baroque era. According to him, many buildings were erected on its property, starting with the year 1711 and ending many years later. In 1785 the monastery was closed by a decree of the Emperor Josef II and since 1826 the buildings belonged to the Metternich family. For years the property was not used at all and started to fall apart. In 1952 a regional museum was founded here in some rooms and gradually the rest of the complex is being restored.

On October 28, 2006, from 2 to 5 P.M. the museum organized a "revival" of the activities that used to take place here every fall, such as harvesting fruits and vegetables, and drying and preserving the produce for the rest of the year. Visitors were particularly interested in pickling of cabbage, or in extracting starch from potatoes. They also sampled the so-called "placky" ( a kind of pancakes) made with sauerkraut. Here is a recipe for:

Baked Cabbage "Placky"

To about 25 dkg (9oz.) of all-purpose flour add about 10 dkg (3.5 oz) of butter or margarine, a tablespoon of salt and about 30 dkg (11 oz.) of sauerkraut . Mix well, then put mixture on a board and- using a rolling pinmake one big flat "pancake" and divide it into 6 individual round flat and thin "placky". Place them on a cooking sheet (no need to butter it) and bake in the oven slowly (about 250-300 degrees) for about 5-10 minutes , then turn and bake for a few minutes on the other side. Yields about 6 "placky".

Potato "Placky" with Plum Marmalade


3-4 large boiled potatoes, all purpose flour, a little butter, plum marmalade, confectioners sugar, ground poppy seeds


Grate boiled, peeled and cooled potatoes. Add salt and enough flour so that the dough holds together and is not too sticky. Make a cylinder from the dough, cut it into small round pieces, then flatten the pieces into small flat "placky". These are then baked on a hot flat stove surface( wood or electric). Hot "placky" are buttered, topped with marmalade, poppy seed and sugar.

Potato dishes were always very popular in Czech cooking. The last recipe is for:

"Hairy" Dumplings


3 big potatoes, 3 rolls, 1 egg, 3-4 spoons of coarse flour (Wondra), salt.

Peal the potatoes and grate them. Add the rolls cut into small pieces, egg, flour and salt. Work into a stiff dough and form into round dumplings. Place dumplings into boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes. Serve with meat or with spinach or sauerkraut.

The visitors were also shown how the famous Czech "kolache"and "hnetynky" used to be made. They could also sample some afternoon punch in the cellars which are usually not accessible to the public. They were also told about the production of wine used for religious purposes. And finally they learned about how various dairy products were prepared. Butter, cottage cheese and cream used to be made at home until 1872, when the cream separator or skimmer was invented. Butter used to be churned in special drums called churns which were cranked by hand.

The visitors were also shown old-fashioned embroidered wall hangings with various "instructions" for the housewife, such as: "Fresh water will give you health" or "A good wife cooks what her husband likes".

At the end a "wandering" accordion player entertained the visitors and invited them to future exhibitions.

Dr. L. Maskova
Translation by Marie Dolanska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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