The Suitcase Lady


January 5, 2010, 1:50 pm

My son is not a competitive person. He’s highly creative and mainly focused on what his multiple muses are chattering about. But he is concerned with upholding his honor, in this case, his position as the yeast baker in our family. He is famous for his home made pizza crusts which rival those found in fine pizzerias. His dinner rolls are also notable.

On a recent visit to Southern California, I asked him what was on the agenda.

“We are definitely baking kolaches tomorrow,” was his reply.

“Terrific,” I said, knowing that I need all the group practice I can get before attempting a solo run.

A discussion on fillings revealed some strong aversions to prunes from several family members. I volunteered to go shopping for canned fillings. Three grocery stores later, I concluded that my son’s wonderfully diverse neighborhood is not populated by any eastern Europeans. Not only were there no cans of poppyseed or almond fillings, one store carried just pumpkin. I settled for cherry and blueberry.

The next challenge was the temperature. We were not having a poster day for California climate… it was downright chilly and rainy. Our son’s house does have a furnace, but it hasn’t been turned on in a decade or so. Before we began baking, we fired up the stove, shut all the windows and waited for a semblance of warmth to fill the kitchen.

The whole baking process went smoothly except for several trays of kolaches which balked at doing their second rising – a protest against the untropical kitchen temperatures, no doubt. The pans were moved to the top of the range, and the kolaches immediately began cooperating.

As lovely smells began drifting from the oven, children began flowing into the kitchen. They were followed by a large black dog. All needed to be convinced that waiting for the kolaches to be filled was mandatory.

When we pronounced that the time to eat had arrived, an amazing thing happened. Sixty kolaches were reduced to twenty in less than thirty minutes. The survivors were removed to a room behind the garage. At 2:45pm the following day, no traces of kolaches, not even a crumb, were in sight.

7 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    Just for the record, I can bake bread too. Oh yeah, I went there. Bring it on Juan, bring it on. I may have dropped out of “yeast breads and baking” in college (I am not making that up!), but I am not built like Grandma Vera for nothing. And I have and can wield her rolling pin ….

  • Mary

    This is your Mother speaking…
    Do NOT start slinging dough at each other. :-)
    Remember at all times, rolling pins are not weapons! :-)
    You both survived childhood without bopping each other over the head with the beautiful Danish wood elephant that Grandma Lois gave you.
    Peace and nonviolence are the family mantra.

  • Jen

    I did poke Chris in the eye with a pencil. Just sayin’. Seriously, what other family trash talks about yeast dough? I think the family mantra will survive. ;-)

  • Irene

    Loved the photos and blog. Remind me to show you my recipes next time we are together… easier! Handsome son.

  • Alice

    Great blog, Mary! Those kolaches bring back a lot of memories–poppyseed kolaches were my brother Jim’s favorite:-) Wow, those girls are growing up! Your son looks like you:-) Thanks for sharing, Blessings in 2010

  • John J

    Thanks. I didn’t know you tossed kolaches like pizza pies!

  • MattT

    I can certainly remember and taste Kolaches. So it brings back good memories. The recipe is classic Grandma Vera.

    Personally I haven’t tried making them, but they will be on agenda for next year.

    But in the spirit of a good food fight, I can say I can make a mean pizza as I spent 4 years while in High School and College making and baking pizza for beer and gas money.

    So its beginning to sound like a the next family reunion we need a little Iron Chef challenge ;)