Tag Archives: Christmas desserts

Gold Sunday in Czech Republic

Gold Sunday ushers in Christmas

Note: This is the last part in the “Three Sundays of Christmas” series.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Gold Sunday is the  last Sunday before Christmas which this year falls on Dec. 21. By then all good housewives have their baking & cleaning done according to Czech traditions. Before I started writing and blogging,  I could make up to 10 different Christmas desserts including vanilla crescents, “nutty baskets,” chocolate “rohlicky” and” Ischel mini-cakes.”

As a student at the prep school Gymnasium Zlin, we would even get time off for baking.

“As long as you’re keeping the tradition going,” Russian language professor Chudarkova used to say.

Czech nutty baskets
Christmas nutty baskets

That reminds me of the opening day of the hunting season here in Michigan where some schools get the day off. I always baked long into the night, and I filled the pastries on Christmas Eve. Back in the old Czechoslovakia I had no helpers. Many years later in the USA my son Jake assisted me by rolling out the dough standing on a foot stool.

Gold Sunday is time to get your Christmas fish for the big evening feast known as “Bountiful Eve.” The town squares in Czech Republic are home to merchants with live carp. For years during Christmases of the past I went shopping for the best carp ever sporting a net bag, so the carp can breathe.

The Christmas fish in Czech Republic is carp
The Christmas fish in Czech Republic is carp

Large wooden vats carried carp from ponds in Southern Bohemia. The carp trade dates back to feudalism and to the royals who granted the rights to do this. I regret that I’ve never seen the carp ponds in Bohemia.

The live carp and then the butchering of it on the morning of Dec. 24 have been the subject of stories, legends, photographs and calendars much like the day and the evening itself.

Christmas at home
Lighting of the town Christmas trees in Czech Republic Photo by Jan Smejkal

I will remember one carp story forever. One family got so attached to their live carp, they could not bring themselves to butcher it. They took the live carp to a nearby brook and released it into the shallow water. The carp probably didn’t make it, but they felt better and from then on they purchased fish filets from a well-know store in hometown Zlin and that was Rybena.

I think my uncle John butchered ours. The family usually placed the carp in a tub. One year I put the tub outside on the apartment balcony. When I went to check on the fish next day, it almost froze. I had to smash the ice and resuscitate the fish.

So, the Christmas Eve menu in Czech Republic consists of breaded fried filet of carp, potato salad, mushroom or fish soup and the great cookies.

In later years, non-carp lovers substituted the carp for salmon filets. We stick to the tradition and I buy either cod or other white meat fish. I make tons of potato salad with our own pickles.

Stay tuned for the big story ” 25 years in the USA.”

Happy holidays.

Copyright © 2014 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

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Festive memories

Festivities, wedding create memories

By EMMA PALOVA

Lowell, MI- I feel like I have a writer’s block after all this festive pomp. I am still finding memorabilia from the Pala Ruegsegger wedding in October. Each thing I find brings back a memory.

I find things like frozen dough in the freezer for the wedding desserts, Pebbles cereal that no one wanted, taquitos, tops, panties and pantyhose. Samuel’s blue onesies “Star Baby” brought a smile to my face, as well the Barbie doll and sister-in-law’s hair color. Then, there are tons of souvenirs and gifts that I have received from my guests.

And of course, the greatest of all are photos.

Common Gentry Carriage Rides
Now newlyweds Jake Pala and Maranda Palova last year on sleigh ride in Sparta.

I told a friend at the local Meijer store while shopping for Thanksgiving that we survived the wedding.

“And now you’re moving right into the holidays,” he laughed.

Yes, it’s all going by quick. We spent a quiet Thanksgiving at my parents Ella & Vaclav Konecnys in Big Rapids. We had the traditional fare with bonus cream puffs from CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s.

“I am not baking for Christmas this year, mom,” I said with the wedding abundance still in mind.

I did teach my son Jake Pala and his wife Maranda Palova how to make traditional Czech Christmas desserts such as filled baskets covered with chocolate and vanilla crescents.

Horrocks tree farm in Ionia
Ludek & Ella at horrocksnurseryfarm.com

“I’ll let them bake this year,” I said.

“I can’t blame you after all that wedding turmoil,” mom said.

So, I guess in a big way I already had my Christmas in October. I made new friends, strengthen old bonds, gained a new daughter-in-law and a few pounds, but created sweet memories.

Traditional Czech desserts
Famous vanilla crescents.

Watch for my stories about the “Three Sundays of Christmas,” a traditional Czech shopping custom on the three Sundays before Dec. 24th.

I will also include some recipes for Czech desserts.

For more baking ideas go to http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

and to http://ehealthbeauty.wordpress.com

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