Knedlíky

Here’s my latest…dumping on dumplings.

I have discovered, after great trial and error, a way to respond to the dreaded question;
“How do you like the knedliky, Fred?”

I put on my most genuine face. “Of all the knedlik I have eaten in my life, this is by far the most recent.”

I admit to being in the ugly group of subhumans who don’t appreciate Czech dumplings.
I’ve tried to like knedliky. Really, I have!

Grannies have made it for me. Mothers have made it for me. Beautiful seductive women have made it for me. As far as I know, gay, bi, trans, and intra-sexuals have made knedliky and I’ve probably eaten it.

I’ve eaten knedliky in the finest restaurants, and in humble kitchens in the countryside. Hot knedlik, warm knedlik, cold knedlik. It’s been in my mouth, stomach, intestines, and colon.

I’ve eaten regular knedlik, potato knedlik, fruit knedlik. With and without drippings, oils, syrups, grated cheeses, sugars, salts and peppers, and every kind of sauce known to ancient and modern civilization.

I just don’t like the stuff. I’m sorry.

It’s the texture. Like wadded up and boiled white bread. Slimy when masticated. Easily permeated by surrounding liquids. Wet bread. Going from gooey to gluey.

It’s a bland, bloating experience for me. How I feel lumpen and heavy afterward, wanting only to curl up like a sick animal in a dark corner and sleep for hours.

So I avoid it when I can.

Still, Jirka has asked me to suggest improvements to this alleged food, the world-famous inedible Czech dumpling. What can I do but my very best, and worst:

Use a non-stick pan and high heat to toast thin slices of knedliky until it becomes a sort of pseudo English muffin. This might be then coated judiciously with jam to your taste. Basically, dry the stuff out until it’s toast.

Cut a freshly boiled loaf of knedliky lengthwise into thin strips, about 2 cm thick. Coat the knedliky strips in a mixture of ground cinnamon and sugar. Place them in a hot oven for five to ten minutes. Serve hot.

Slice fresh boiled knedliky diagonally, and toast on a non-stick pan. Make a 3 cm hole in the center of the toasted knedlik. Return the toast to the non-stick pan, and crack one egg yolk into the hole so the white of the egg spreads to the rest of the knedlik. Cook for three minutes at high heat, and turn. Cook three to five minutes and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

I’m serious. I think this might make knedliky edible for me. Try it yourselves at home and see if I’m right.

Of course, it’s easy to invent ridiculous and improbable uses for knedliky…so I’ll do that too.

Mix fresh knedliky and grated selzer tablets into thumb size balls. Throw these selzer-knedliky balls to unwanted pigeons. Watch them explode.

If you live on a busy street, use knedliky to mold your own “speed-bump” in the road.

If you don’t have a bicycle helmet, use fresh knedlik and plastic bags to make your own. (If you have attempted this at home, please send pictures to slovodne.)

Perhaps you too have a great recipe for knedlik? Please post it in the comments!

Čekám velkou vodu

“You’re waiting for high water” is a taunt I’m quite familiar with. Of course, the kids usually said, “where’s the flood?” The meaning was clear. Wearing my older brother’s hand-me-down pants that were too short for me, I had on “high waters”, which is an unforgivable crime on the playground. Of course, those pants finally came in handy in summer of 2002 when I could wade through the Vltava’s flooding waters in comfort and style.

Dost

When being treated to a Czech home cooked meal, be sure to know this word first. “Enough”, comes in handy when granny, grinning widely, ladles a pool of pan grease onto your food to show how extra welcome you are as a guest. Granny will continue piling food on your plate, and plying you with drink, and later cookies and maybe shots of Becherovka. Granny can drink you under the table. You may find yourself with granny in a disco later. If you do not know how to surrender, with this simple and easy to pronounce word, you may receive so much hospitality it puts you into the hospital. Know when to say, “dost”.

Soup with sea force

The Cafe Louvre in the center is a fabulous restaurant. In fact it was in this illustrious place that Fred Williams and Jiri Pallas first met back in 1999, introduced by the ever lovely and talented Lotta Fjelkegard. But their menu has a few mistakes. The best of these is the parenthetical explanation that Boullabaise is Soup with sea force. Imagine if such things were really true — you innocently order what you think is a normal soup when suddenly you are bombarded from offshore by a heavy frigate while marines make an amphibious landing on your table.

Soup with sea force

Apache Server

Czechs love country-western music. From the days of the great falsifier Karl May, the Czechs have a romantic view of the cowboy/indian saga of America. So there are even country themed bars, restaurants, and tourist sites here. At these interesting places you can find gunfights, bar-brawls, and wailing guitars. You might even find a place where the waiter is dressed up like a native american. If you go to such a place, and you have geek friends with you, be sure to point out that this individual can actually be called an Apache Server

Vo co go?

Řekni mi vo co go… “Tell me what’s going on” is a common enough phrase for speakers of all ages. In traditional Czech, you say “o co jde”. In modern Czechyou can now say “vo co go”. By replacing “(j)de” with “go” and adding a “v” to the front of “o”, a new and attractive rhyme is created. So if you want to be hip (freekoolin?) you can try out this neologism.

Edukace

Though one would think that education would be easy to translate into Czech, it’s not. Edukace sounds good, but it is in fact just stupid. I would have known this if I’d attended the Czech 101-class at the University of North Carolina, where they use SlovoDne as a teaching tool. Unfortunately, I remain as ignorant as ever, struggling along with my research associates at the local pub.

Smažený květák

Not all Czech food is dangerously fat-laden and over spiced. Deep fried cauliflower is a real treat. Golden brown, hot and mild, it’s a perfect sping time meal. It’s not even too difficult to pronounce, which is always a plus considering ordering řízek can be so confusing for everyone involved. I just wonder, for the sake of linguistic and culinary flexibility, if one couldn’t make květinný smažák.

Twister

Sometimes, the worst Czech is that which is derived from English. For example, I’m rather fond of what at KFC is called a Twister. This is a flour tortilla wrapped around chicken bits with a bit of vegetable matter and majonaise squirted inside. Though it doesn’t sound so great, they’re quite tasty. The problem comes when it’s time to order more than one. It’s easy to say jeden twister prosím. As soon as it’s plural, this somehow turns to twistery. Can you say that? I cannot. Prosím, dvakrát twister is the best I can do, because when I try to put the plural endings together I end up involuntarily spitting at the clerk. Then he spits on my Twisters.

Today´s language breaking from Fredoteque.
Download ww.slovodne.cz/wp-content/audio/dvakrattwister.mp3

Mejkap

Another English word to enter the Czech language in recent years is Mejkap (make up). In English, this is the whole category of things known also as cosmetics (kosmetika), or anything a person puts on their face to improve their appearance. In Czech, however, it seems to mean only the liquid or powder base spread on the face and then covered with still more stuff, such as blush. Well, no matter how you say it, I’ve got one good question for the manufacturers of this stuff. Why does it always taste so bad? I mean, you kiss a beautiful woman, and it’s like eating an oil slick. Can’t they make something that both looks and tastes good?