Food, Friendship, and Fraternalism

Food is the binding force that holds together people in many cultures. Between lodge meetings held over delicious culinary dishes and celebrating special occasion with recipes from the homeland, our members have been sharing and perfecting their recipes for over 116 years. Over the years, wfla has compiled recipes from our members that were made into a cookbook. To order the cookbook, email here. To read more of our favorite recipes visit our website here. Here are some of the Czech recipes for you to try your hand at!

Brambrova Polevka Czech Potato Soup

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, diced

½ c. celery

2 T. parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

4 potatoes, cubed

½ c. mushrooms, chopped

¼ tsp. marjoram (optional)

Put onions, carrots, and celery in large kettle. Add salt and pepper and cook slowly, about 15 minutes until ingredients are tender. Add potatoes, mushrooms, marjoram, and parsley. Make a roux of 3 tablespoons flour and butter; brown lightly. Add to soup and cook 5 minutes.

Sauerkraut Soup

2 lbs. spareribs or pork hocks


1 qt. sauerkraut

½ chopped onion

1 T. caraway seed

Pepper to taste

1 pt. sweet or sour cream

1 T. flour

Put meat in kettle and cover with water. Boil until meat is almost done. Add sauerkraut, onions, and caraway seed. Boil meat until meat is tender. Add pepper. Mix cream and flour together and add to mixture. Cook 5 minutes longer. Do not overcook. If soup is too salty from sauerkraut, add a little sugar.

Head Sausage “jeternice”

1 cut up pig head or 10-15 lbs. pork butt roasts

1 box quick pearl barley

4 oz. pork sausage seasoning

1 T. garlic powder or pressed garlic cloves

Pepper and salt to taste

Marjoram (optional)

Boil the pork meat after cutting it in smaller pieces. It takes 1 ½ hours or so to boil. In the meanwhile cook the box of barley until done. Remove the meat from the bones and grind up. Add the seasonings and mix well. Pour into pork casings with sausage stuffer. Cut in lengths desired and tie ends together in a circle. Fry in oven in frying pan or under broiler.

Grandma Monica’s Kolache

¾ c. lukewarm water

2 tsp. sugar

2 packages dry yeast

3 c. warm milk

¾ c. butter softened

¾ c. sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt

4 egg yolks (reserve whites)


Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let it bubble. Combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and egg yolks. Add 3 cups flour and beat well. Set bowl over warm water and let mixture get bubbly. Add more flour until dough can be handled. You will want a soft dough. Lightly grease bowl and dough. Place bowl over warm water and let dough rise. Punch down dough and let rise again. Pat dough out with hands in floured surface. Cut dough with pizza cutter and fill with desired filling. (We cut into squares and pinch corners together in the middle). Let rise again. Brush tops with beaten egg whites and tablespoon of sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Brush baked kolache with melted butter. Yield : about 12 dozen kolache.


½ c. butter

2 c. sugar

6 eggs, beaten

½ c. milk

3. c. flour

1 T. baking powder

3 c. pitted sour cherries

¼ c. sugar to taste

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and milk. Beat well. Sift flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixture. Beat again. Pour into a greased and floured 10 X 15in pan. Sprinkle cherries over batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. It may be frosted with powdered sugar frosting while warm. If using a glass pan, bake at 325 degree.

Bramborvy knedliky

(potato dumplings)

6 C shredded, boiled cold potatoes

4 eggs

4 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients together well. Take half of the mixture and roll out on a floured surface into a long roll, about 1 ½ inches in width. Cut into 3-inch lengths. Drop into boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Move them around so they do not stick to the bottom. Remove them with a slotted spoon onto a cookie sheet. Brush with butter or oil. Or mix them with hot sauerkraut. If you have cooked a pork roast or duck, pour some of the drippings into the dumplings and sauerkraut.

The Arts were Alive: Dance, Drama, and Drills

The performing arts began a long tradition within many lodges as a way to preserve the Czech and Slovak culture for our members.

Sokol Team 1931

Sokol Team 1931

As noted in our Centennial Edition of the Fraternal Herald magazine, “Music served the double purpose of raising money and preserving the heritage” of the Czech and Slovak members. Many lodges hosted community dances that helped to raise funds for the lodge halls, and gave fun, cheap entertainment in the mostly rural communities. In Ledec No. 192 in Alexandria, MN, members enjoyed these dances. “Everyone looked forward to the double dances held on consecutive nights prior to Lent [in the 30’s].” Beyond the community dances, choreographed performances by Sokol groups were hugely popular in the early decades of the 20th century.

Lodge 377, Los Angeles

When immigrants from Czechoslovakia began their journey to America, they brought their love of physical activity through gymnastics. Beginning in Czechoslovakia, Sokol groups have been around for over 150 years emphasizing a healthy body and healthy mind. The lodge halls served as perfect arenas to practice and perform gymnastic routines and many young members were involved.

“The connection between ZCBJ [WFLA] and Sokol remained strong through the 1930’s, and many lodges helped introduce Sokol to their communities. Lodge Bratri Novych Hradu No. 141 in Cadott, WI began Sokol in 1928. The anchor holes for the parallel bars are still embedded in the original maple floor. There were many exhibitions at the hall. People performed on the horizontal bars, parallel bars, rings, horse, calisthenics, marching, singing, and folk dancing.”

1936 Dance Group

Lodge 225, Bannister, MI 1936 Dance Group

The Bohemian Amateur Theatre.

Lodge 141, Cadott, WI: The Bohemian Amateur Theatre

Lodge 225, Bannister, MI 1918 Divadlo Freedom for Czechoslovakia

Lodge 225, Bannister, MI 2012 Dance Group

Lodge 225, Bannister, MI 2012 Dance Group

Drama clubs began in several lodges in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Drama was just as important as music in the life of the lodge. Many lodges performed dramas for the community to enjoy. Several lodges have hand-painted background scenery still found in their halls today.

History is preserved today through lodges who continue to perform. Lodge 225, Bannister, MI has had a ZCBJ Czechoslovak Folk dance group for more than thirty years. Lodge 141 in Cadott, WI has been entertaining with their Bohemian Hall Amateur Theatre group by presenting plays each fall and spring. Keeping the arts alive has helped the lodges to thrive throughout the years.

To learn more about wfla and our history visit or browse through our archive blogs to learn more about our rich history!