So, I asked the youngest sister if she’d write me a kolache recipe. I have always kind of sucked at baking. Cooking, you can improvise, you can change what you’re doing mid-stream, you can make substitutions. But baking involves so much chemistry, if you forget something or do something wrong you can destroy the whole recipe. I might not be great at following instructions.
Anyway, Beckie has always been really great at baking, and she worked really hard on this kolache recipe. I thought it’d be a quick one page comic, but there’s so much information that it needs a full week to get through. First and foremost, I realized I’d probably have to explain what a kolache is! If you don’t live in Iowa or Nebraska or South Texas (where my parents are) or somewhere else the Czech diaspora settled, you might not be familiar with them. I suppose they’re kind of like danishes, but the dough is something really unique. It’s sweet and soft and pillowy, almost like a Hawaiian roll. There are cities that have annual kolache celebrations, there are bakeries that specialize in them, and in places with large Czech populations, even the regular donut shops will get in on the kolache game. These little guys are really good.
When I first moved to Chicago, my dad asked some of the ladies at his local KJT hall (that’s Katolická Jednota Texaská, or the Catholic Union of Texas in Czech) what neighborhood I should live in. “Where are all the Czechs in Chicago?” He asked them. “Bohemian National Cemetery,” they cackled. Chicago used to have a lot of Czechs (it’s how the neighborhood Pilsen got its name) but they all moved out of the city. I have no idea where to get kolaches in Chicago. Maybe out in Berwyn? So I’ll be learning how to make kolaches too, just so I can have some of my own.
In other news, I got glasses! I have to wear glasses now. But I’m not comfortable drawing myself in them yet. So when kolache week is done, there might be a glasses week.
Oh! in other, other news, I made a map of awesome Chicago food for all the people coming here for CAKE next month. I’m still making changes to it, but it’s a place to start. I’ll be exhibiting at CAKE too, so save the date!