Midwest traveler_ searching for czech heritage in cedar rapids, iowa – startribune. com

Goulash. Best steak marinade recipe brown sugar I’m surprised to find it’s an actual dish — and a tasty one, at that.

For years, I thought my mother, of Czech descent, had invented it to hide weekly leftovers.

Best skirt steak marinade recipes But at the Village Meat Market & Cafe in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I enjoy a heap of it over dumplings, with a sprinkling of mozzarella on top. Best sirloin steak recipe grilled It’s rich and thick, with hefty tomatoes strewn in — like a peppery salsa, only not as sweet — and served with a dark slice of Reuben bread.

Our heritage has brought my family to the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District in Cedar Rapids. Best philly cheese steak sandwich recipe The district was branded Czech Village in the 1970s to preserve the history of the tightly knit community that began here in the mid-19th century, when many Czechs immigrated in search of jobs in meatpacking and agriculture. Beef loin tri tip steak strips recipe Over the years, the locals have fought through hard times, and floods, to keep their ethnic identity and Old World pride alive on Main Street, with stores like the Czech Cottage, which sells imported handblown and hand-cut crystal, teapots and hand-decorated eggshells. Recipes with sirloin steak tips Two brick pillars mark its entrance.

I grew up in upstate New York, and fondly recall picking snap peas on a family farm with my grandma, whose piercing green eyes beamed from her aging face while she and her sister spoke Czech. Recipes with beef sirloin tip steak We ate poppy seeds once a year for good luck, and a lot of goulash. Beef loin ny strip steak recipes I hope our visit to Cedar Rapids will bring my children an understanding of how our family connects through the generations.

The Village Meat Market & Cafe brings on the sense of sharing a family meal with strangers. Beef loin flank steak recipe A busty statue of a cheeky serving girl greets us at the entrance. Beef top loin strip steak recipe Small tables, propped up by antique sewing machine bases, are pushed together to accommodate a crowd. Beef loin strip steak recipe A woman nurses her baby while an elderly couple talk to their son and his wife. Beef loin top sirloin steak recipe oven Local musician Tommy Bruner strums and sings familiar tunes like the Beatles’ “All My Loving.” Between songs, table conversation gives way to light applause. Steak for shish kabobs Our server is fast, efficient and polite.

After the Cedar River flood of 2008 washed out the iconic early-1900s Polehna’s Meat Market, Lou Thompson opened this cafe in its memory, to appeal to the local Czech carnivores. How to cook beef chuck cross rib steak boneless “My wieners were horrible that first year,” she laughs. Recipes for sirloin steak tips “The old men would come in and yell at me about my jaternice.” (Pronounced yeeter-neat-za, it’s a Bohemian-style sausage.)

Thompson says she perfected her meats through trial and error, by listening to her customers. Recipes for beef round sirloin tip steak My children seem to agree. Sirloin steak recipe panlasang pinoy Her meats are familiar enough to their palates but with a fatty richness that they enjoy, and they eat heartily, whether it’s sausage and sauerkraut, or a pork and beef meatloaf ground in a hot dog mixer and flavored with Czech seasoning, and served with crisp fries (village­meatmarketcafe.com).

Next we tour the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, reopened in 2012. Best steak marinade for grilling recipe My kids race through the exhibits, calling for each other to “come see.” At the Faces of Freedom exhibit, we walk through the steerage section of a steamer ship, and the kids pat the bare bunks where immigrants slept. Angus beef chuck steak recipes The kids put on a puppet show, once used by the Czechs as a form of political dissent against the Nazis. Simple steak marinade recipe for grilling Other exhibits spark childhood memories, which I share with my children: White lace reminds me of my mother’s gift for churning delicate fabrics through a sewing machine, while an accordion prompts me to tell about the one passed down through the generations in my family, an instrument I briefly played.

We tour the Sleger Immigrant House, which housed five generations from the 1890s through 1984. Meat for steak sandwich This 1??-story home is small and inconspicuous, a reminder of how these immigrants lived. Recipe for steak tacos sirloin The man who lived here was a carpenter, like my grandfather, which is apparent in the wood detailing. Recipe for steak tacos Our tour guide points out that the family shared one small closet. Recipe for skirt steak tacos Through the guide’s narration I can feel the places of joy within the house, and the sense of unity that small spaces can bring (ncsml.org).

Our last stop in Cedar Rapids is the aromatic Sykora Bakery, founded in 1903. Recipe for steak and cheese pie John and Sue Rocarek, both of Czech descent, bought it 15 years ago to preserve its history. Cheesesteak stuffed peppers recipe “We’re proud of our heritage, and we wanted to keep the Czech Village going,” he says. Cheesesteak egg rolls recipe “So many of those places were being lost.”

The kids will try their first poppy seeds here. Recipe for steak and cheese sandwich The Czech Republic is one of the main global suppliers of the seeds, and while I couldn’t confirm that anyone outside of my family eats them once a year for good luck, it is rumored to be true for chickens.

From behind the counter, Sarah Bryan offers two choices: a “Bohemian hamburger” (a poppy seed sweet bun that contains no meat) or a kolache (a pillowy pastry with a dollop of poppy seeds mixed with honey and molasses on top). Recipe for steak and cheese sub I go for the kolache.

“You may want to try an apple or a cherry, too,” she says. Recipe for flank steak fajitas “Kids don’t always like the taste of poppy seeds.” She’s right. Recipe for steak fajitas seasoning The kids each take one required bite, but then push its intensity aside to devour a cherry kolache.

It’s better than a doughnut, they say. Recipe for steak fajitas Softer. Recipe for steak kabobs Chewier. Recipe for steak shish kabobs The perfect wrap to our day.

Jennifer Jeanne Patterson lives in Edina and is the author of “52 Fights.” Find her at unplannedcooking.com.

Utah’s governor signed legislation on Saturday that would require doctors to inform women that medication-induced abortions can be halted after taking just one of two pills, despite doctors’ groups saying there is little evidence to back up that idea.

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