Slovak Grandmothers

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The story of Slovak food would not be complete without mentioning the true artists of Slovak cooking, the Slovak grandmothers. Call them starká, babička or babka, these women can turn the simplest ingredients into the most amazing meals. In their hands, flour and water become melt-in-your mouth fluffy buchty, cuts of meat turn into juicy rezeň, and chicken becomes the most delicious chicken noodle soup you have ever tasted.

Both of my grandmothers are amazing cooks. However, it is my mom’s mom, Terka, who holds a special place in my heart when it comes to cooking. To me she embodies the true spirit of the traditional Slovak cuisine. She has lived most of her life in small villages, not only taking care of the house, but also growing her own vegetables and raising chickens, geese, pigs, rabbits, you name it. And also a dog and some 10 cats. She has never relied on any modern appliances. The only tools she uses in her cooking are her hands, few pots and the stove, which, currently is not even gas or electricity operated. It is a wood burning stove dating back to the 1800s. Yet, even without any marvels of modern technology, she is the most amazing cook I know.

my Slovak grandma
My grandma Terka and her friend Paľo.

But I would like to hear your stories. Just about every Slovak and Slovak-American I know has some amazing memories of their relatives, those still living and also those who have passed on. Please use the comments below to share your stories. Not only will this help preserve these wonderful memories for future generations, I am also considering putting together a cookbook based on this website. I want the book to be more than just a collection of recipes. I want to use it to give the reader a feel for what Slovak cuisine means to us. I plan to use the excerpts (with your permission, of course) of these stories to do that.