Hosting a Czech au pair

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous (Czech-Related)' started by Guest, Oct 1, 1998.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    We will be welcoming a Czech au pair into our home within the next month and were wanting some ideas of things to help her feel at home here. Also, if anyone has any great (but easy!) recipes for us to prepare for her. Know of any Czech places in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area? Thanks and we are looking forward to to a great cultural exchange!
  2. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member


    I come from the Czech Republic and am currently visiting in Texas. I can't give you specific recommendations as to what would make your Czech guest feel more at home here since I don't know what she likes and how she feels about living in the US. I even have a feeling that she might be coming to the US to get to know the American culture (including the cuisine), which is why many au pairs decide to live abroad for a while.

    Nevertheless, I'll be happy to share a few bits of my American experience with you, focusing mainly on food as that's something you may be able to influence. Here are some of the types of food I didn't like when I first arrived in the States:

    1. Salted butter! We don't have any such thing as salted butter in the Czech Republic. Butter is quite popular there and we tend to use more of it than the Americans do. But the Czech butter is unsalted, rich and creamy. I really missed that type of butter here and it took me a while to find it in a store. (A friend of mine who had visited the States told me she'd had a similar experience - she just wasn't able to eat any of the salted butter)

    2. Bread. You may want to find a German style, rye, brown bread (it has a thicker crust and may have caraway seeds in it), as this is the type of bread that's typical in the Czech Republic. We have white bread also, but it is mostly used for sandwiches and is not considered traditionally Czech.

    3. "Kolache". Be aware that the Texas made "Czech-style kolaches" are different from the real Czech kolace.

    4. Combining different types of food and drinks. Now this may be a matter of personal taste, but I just couldn't believe my eyes when I was served an English muffin with jam AND sausages on the same plate for breakfast (other strange combinations: ham and strawberries, a meat dish washed down with milk)

    5. Rootbeer. This is a totally unknown drink in the Czech Republic. It tastes like medicine to me, but I don't know what some other Czechs would think of it.

    6. No tea for breakfast. Hot tea is much more popular in the Czech Republic than it is here. It is especially served with breakfast, but can also be made throughout the day. It took me a long time to get used to having orange juice for breakfast (now I'm transferring back to tea though).

    7. Non-fat (and therefore tasteless) everything. It is true that the Czechs consume more fat in different forms than the Americans. It is not necessarily healthy, but it tastes better!

    Since I don't want to sound too negative, I also want to point out the great stuff that I found in the States:

    1. Fruit and vegetables. The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables you can buy in the stores here still leaves me speechless! Make sure that you treat your guest with some honeydew, cantaloupe, avocados, and other types of fruit or veggies as you can get a much better selection here than in the Czech Republic.

    2. Seafood. If one likes seafood, this is the place to be! It's not possible to get good fresh seafood in the Czech Republic (only frozen). I especially love the salmon and shrimp, but again, everybody's tastes are different.

    3. Challah bread. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Challah bread (Jewish sweet raisin bread) you can get in some stores here is very similar to bread we call "vanocka" in Czech ("Christmas bread", although it is not eaten only at Christmas). It is quite a common type of sweet bread in the Czech Republic and goes nicely with unsalted butter and a cup of hot tea.

    4. Becherovka. This is a traditional Czech made herbal liquor (alcohol), which can be found in some, although not many liquor stores in the US (e.g. West, TX). The US importer is in Southern California, the Texas distributor is in Arlington.

    5. Czech beer. You can find some Czech beers in the States, like Pilsner Urquell or Staropramen. You'd first have to find out if she likes beer at all though.

    As far as Czech recipes are concerned, a traditional Czech meal is roast pork with bread or potato dumplings and sauerkraut. It is hard to make perfect Czech dumplings in the States as you can't find exactly the same flour here. Soups are very popular in the Czech Republic. Also fruit filled dumplings or apple pie (apple strudel). I know it is possible to find a Czech cookbook in bookstores here.

    Unfortunately, I don't know about any Czech places in Dallas.

    Good luck!


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