Word of Mouth

Czech, please! A taste of Middle-European cuisine

It's no surprise that there's no mention of cuisine in Czech Point Denver, the event series created around Opera Colorado's production of Rusalka. Most people think of Czech food as heavy and uninspired. But that's only when you look at it from the outside, or read descriptions in bland tourist guides.

There are all kinds of treasures in the Czech tradition, from soft sheep's milk cheeses to plentiful foie gras (most country people kept a goose or two), liver dumplings to apple strudel. And for me, the food also tells a series of stories: about a country that suffered under Nazism and Communism, and the quirky, low-key, humorous culture that resulted. And about my refugee mother, whose soups, schnitzels, nut cakes and plum dumplings were a source of warmth and joy during the gray years of austerity in London after WWII.

I revisit some of those memories -- and also make a fresh trip to Golden Europe in this week's issue of Westword. Come back here tomorrow for those pieces (I'm subbing for Laura Shunk, who was out of the country), as well as a slide show of Golden Europe.

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman