When I moved to the Czech Republic, I was determined to be open-minded. I was going to embrace a new culture, meet new people, and try new food, but no matter how open-minded I tried to be, there were still a few things I had to get used to. Here are the five Czech foods that I started out hating, but wound up loving.
- Poppy Seed Paste
Hmm… It’s not quite sweet and not quite bitter. Weird. I don’t know what to make of it. Oh my God, what is that in my teeth? I’ll never be able to get that out!
~A week later~
Interesting… This pastry is half sweet cheese and half poppy seed paste. Well, let me try a bit.*bite, swallow, drool. Oh hell, pass the tvaroh, the poppy seeds, and all the sugary pastries you’ve got. *Om, nom, nom, nom… (or in Czech: *Hom, hom, hom…”)
Thanks for my soup, waiter. Oh yum, that dollop of cream cheese on top looks delicious. *pokes with spoon. Strange, it doesn’t feel like cream cheese. Why is it so gelatinous? *poke, poke. Eww, it’s a soft-boiled egg!
~Several weeks later~
I never knew I could love dill so much. Bring on the egg, the mushrooms, and the cream! Kulajda! Kulajda!
Oh, so it’s like coke, is it? Let me try some. *gag *choke *sputter, This is not like coke! Are you trying to kill me?
It’s cold, you say? It’s on tap, you say? Fine. Give me a taste. *sip, sip, PAUSE, *smacks lips *SLURP *CHUG-CHUG-CHUG –What do you mean I should slow down!?
- Pork Knuckle (…and Svíčková, Old Prague Ham, and any other pork dish)
Yeah, it’s like pork tenderloin. No thanks. It just brings back school lunch nightmares, and it looks like your portion has got a lot of fat on it. Gross.
Stop it. I’m not going to try any.
I said I’m not going to.
Fine, I’ll have a teensy little bit of your pork knuckle. *nibble, nibble *clears throat, So, are you going to be able to finish all that? Or do you need help?
Try Pilsner? Okay. *sip, sputter. Oh God, what is this? It doesn’t taste like Corona or Bud Light at all.
~After returning to the U.S. a year later~
Did you actually just buy me a Coors? Come over here so I can beat you senseless. Then you and I are catching a flight to the Czech Republic, so you can turn your life around.