A Very Czech Thanksgiving

By: Erica Wery

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, and when people imagine Thanksgiving, they most often times picture the Martha Stewart style table spread of turkey, cranberries, stuffing, etc.

While other countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they still have many delicious seasonal autumn dishes, many of which can be substituted in to your own Thanksgiving celebration this year.

I was lucky enough to grow up with a 100% Czech grandmother, who would always make authentic Czech and Slovak dishes year round. Autumn and Winter were my favorite times of the year (meal wise), because it meant that she would be baking more, and making more hearty warm dishes (and she still does!)

I have chosen a few of my favorite recipes to share, and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Grandma Kurka’s Fruit Coffee Cake


1 C sugar

¼ lb butter

2 eggs

½  C milk

2 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 C fresh peaches (chopped), apples (peeled and chopped), cherries or blueberries (or a mixture of several fruits.)


Crumble topping:

1 C sugar

⅛ lb butter

½ C flour


Crumble Topping Directions:

Cream together butter, sugar and flour with a fork until dry lumps of varying sizes form.

Cake Directions:

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and milk then beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla. Spread into well greased 9×13 cake pan. Top with fruit, then with topping. Bake at 350˚ until golden brown (45-50 minutes.)


Potato Dumplings

6 Medium potatoes, cooked and mashed

1 tsp salt

2 Eggs   

¼ to ⅓ C Cream of Wheat



Mix together thoroughly, then stir in 2 cups sifted flour. Sprinkle about ½ cup flour on board and knead well so dough will not be sticky. Shape into oblong roll and cook in salted boiling water about 20-25 minutes. Serves 6-8.


Sautéed Red Cabbage

1 Med. Head of Red Cabbage

About 6 slices of onion

2 tsp caraway seed

2 tsp salt

2 tsp vinegar



Put a tsp of oil in pan and heat. Chop cabbage and add with other ingredients. Saute over low heat stirring every so often (about 10min). Then add a ½ cup of water and cover. Cook over low heat until reduced and cooked down (about 30-40 min). Check to see if it needs more vinegar or sugar (add to taste).  Check periodically to see if it needs more water. 


Sautéed Wild Pheasant                                           

My family loves game hunting, and we always have an abundance of wild Pheasant to eat in the fall and winter.  Not everyone is able or willing to go out and shoot a Pheasant, so store bought will work as well for this recipe. If it is frozen or thawed, treat it the same as chicken in regards to thawing and rinsing. (The following recipe has freshly shot Pheasant in mind, so it would need to be cleaned, gutted, defeathered, etc. in preparation.)


Clean Pheasant accordingly, then cut Pheasant meat into pieces, salt and roll in flour. Brown pieces in hot oil over a medium heat. When nicely browned, add ½ cup water to pan and cover. Cook about a half hour. Make sure you have enough water in the pan (for a gravy), then add the cabbage on top and cook another half hour. It should be done after this amount of time, but check a piece of meat to make sure.  Depending on how many are going to be eating, you can add multiple Pheasants accordingly.  When done, serve with sliced Potato Dumplings.


Denmark 108

This entry is a reproduction of a Kelsey’s Korner article that was first published in the June 2013 Fraternal Herald.

Here is something interesting to think about: wfla’s long history (116 years and counting!) means that right now is not the first time we have run into generational differences. This is a quote from one of our Presidents, “We need to make greater progress in reviving all lodge activities so that greater numbers of members will attend our meetings where in a friendly atmosphere they may enjoy proper social contact with their fellowmen.” What decade do you think that sentence was written? If you said 1950, you would be correct. President John Rompotl said this in his annual address to the members in the Fraternal Herald in January 1956.

It is clear that getting new members and maintaining the lodge system is something wfla has always strived to do, even 60 years ago. The dedication of our members and agents is what has made this organization survive and thrive for so many years. Because of our members, we have survived! Those who are in leadership positions now, many in their 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s, were young in the 1950’s when the article was written. Something drove those members to come to the meetings. It was the commonality, the bonds of community and the fraternalism we have always provided. Today, we can offer the same thing, but we need to package it differently to appeal to different generations. Looking to offer family fun, community involvement, and leadership opportunities are the same values as before, but using words the younger generations ‘get.’ If you need more ideas about how to get young members involved, contact Kelsey Logan at klogan@wflains.org.