Czechs who lunch eat Svíčková na smetaně

Elizabeth Rust
The recipe swap
Published in
4 min readAug 9, 2021

--

I first went to Prague in the mid-2000s. I stayed just outside the city center across the street from a red neon lighted Bar Diana where the absinthe wasn’t watered down and two young Norwegian men sat at the bar drinking off their state unemployment checks. They didn’t have much chat, but I remember being incredibly impressed that the Norwegian government gave them money as they ‘waited’ for employment.

The bartender lit a fire under my glass full of absinthe, and as I sipped the anise-flavored drink, the red neon bar sign started moving and bouncing off the wall.

The absinthe was good, the food not so much. My then boyfriend, now husband, and I decided to book a traditional Czech meal. We arrived to what was described as grandma’s house with lots of old-fashioned pictures, plants, dated carpet and gangster rap music playing in the background. We were still in our early 20s and didn’t want to offend anyone, so we sat there eating our boiled beef and dumplings while listening to N.W.A wondering if this truly was an authentic experience. No one else in the restaurant seemed to hear what we were hearing, and continued eating their meal, so we did too. And unfortunately, after that, I wasn’t completely sold on the Czech Republic.

--

--

Elizabeth Rust
The recipe swap

Send me your recipes. I’ll do my best to create them to feed my hungry family