Finding a connection to our past, seems to be important to us as a human race. We tell and write stories of our history. We keep photo albums and scrapbooks. We research our family tree. And my favorite of all, we pass down traditional family recipes.
Recently, I found a recipe that means the world to me.
At Christmas, my parents brought me a box of recipe books from my grandmother, Josephine Elizabeth Reishus. (After she died, we learned Grandma Jo’s legal name was Josie—the Slovenian form of Josephine.)
While digging through the books from Grandma’s kitchen, I found a treasure trove of recipes, but the jackpot was a book entitled simply “Women’s Glory – The Kitchen.” I opened the cover and on the first page was a picture of potica (pronounced paw-teet-zah), a traditional Slovenian bread.
It turns out the contributors to the book were the members and friends of the Slovenian Women’s Union of America and is filled with recipes of my heritage. It’s hard to explain how exciting this discovery was.
When I was growing up, Slovenia was not even on the map, and no one outside my family and Iron Rangers knew what potica was. Now, I have to key to make this delicious bread that links me to my grandmother. It’s the best gift since the U.N recognized Slovenia on my 22nd birthday, Jan 15, 1992.
There are pages and pages of recipes for potica. I grew up with a ground walnut and honey filling, but other filling include raisin-nut, chocolate, currants, or even savory fillings such as cheese and ham.
Potica is not easy to make. Dad remembers grandma making sure the humidity level of the house was right for the dough. Mom said grandma told her sometimes the dough doesn’t come out right and you have to throw it all away. For years, I let these stories frighten me into not attempting it.
Last year, my brother brought three varieties of potica to Easter dinner. He ordered them from the Sunrise Bakery in Hibbing.
My goal this year is to serve homemade potica.
I’d better start practicing!