Monday Meal Review: Slovakia

“Everything bad is good for something.”
– Slovak Proverb

Have you ever done something, only to find it didn’t work out as you’d planned… but somehow it worked out even better?

Last week I casually substituted a video for my written meal review. I thought it’d be a fun change of pace- a more visceral experience for you. Almost immediately, the comments filled with a resounding “no,” – an outcry that was astonishing both in it’s passion as in it’s consistency. Almost every single person felt the same way, which is remarkable in itself.

And the fact that every comment was worded thoughtfully, kindly, and compassionately? So awesome.

As I read through the comments, I was moved by your devotion to the blog and especially to the written word, referred to as a ‘dying art’ by some.

I thought about your responses while I cooked this week’s comforting menu – soup, bacon bread, and blueberry bubbly cake. Maybe it was a subconscious move on my part – after last week, a big bowl of coziness was just the thing.

While the change I made was viewed as a negative (a “bad” thing), great good came out of your responses… (which goes to prove that old Slovak proverb at the top of this post). You see, whenever I post a meal review, thousands of people read it. Only a few ever comment. For years I’ve plugged away, content to share my message but occasionally wondering if the silence – your silence – meant you weren’t interested. That my words bored you or somehow didn’t seem important. The video was my attempt to “fix” something I thought might be broken.

Your outcry told me that nothing was broken. Your outcry was good.  You taught me a great lesson – I will never again assume silence is necessarily negative.

Thank you for this.

Keith will continue to try out the new format for the video (with variations along the way), but I will happily return to writing written reviews.

This week is a little different since I wanted to address the situation, but next week will take you right back into the kitchen, or some such surrounding lesson.

Please continue to encourage or critique along the way. I’m here to help you with your adventures as best I can.

Love to you all.

Ava’s Corner:



Grilled Garlicky Bacon Bread | Hrianka [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This is perhaps the most ingenious recipe thus far on the adventure. It’s quick. It’s easy. And it tastes like garlic bacon heaven. We all loved it, and rubbing the garlic on the toast was a fun activity with Ava. It certainly cheered her up on an otherwise rough, over-hungry night.

What I loved least about this dish:

Ok, ok. This isn’t the healthiest dish I’ve made on this blog. There’s actually a quick way to make it more health conscious: simply brush on the bacon drippings, using a light touch.

Slovak Sour Bean Soup [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

On days when even your bones feel cold, this soup will heat you up.  I love that it’s a simmer and forget about it soup. I also adore the fact that, in cooking the bacon for the garnish, the drippings can be used for the Bacon Garlic Toast. Huzzah!

What I loved least about this dish:

This soup is not pretty but, I assure you, the best things in life can’t be judged by looks alone.  Plus, a little bacon on the top is all anyone needs to feel dressed up. Soup included.

I never expected Ava to react the way she did. She was anything but comforted when she saw her piping hot bowl of Sour Bean Soup. This is basically beans and potatoes cooked with bacon and a splash of vinegar. No biggie. Unless you’re 3 1/2 and overly hungry… and not particularly keen on gloppy soup. Then all bets are off. (You’ve been warned).  To be fair, once her stomach was a little fuller, she relaxed and enjoyed herself.

Quick Blueberry Bublanina [Recipe]

What I loved most about this recipe:

When done correctly, this a  fun, rustic tart with ample charm for any party…. and all kinds of health benefits thanks to the fresh fruit. I love that it’s at once casual but pretty enough for a baby or wedding shower. This was a big win with the family (although the blueberries weren’t an immediate hit with Ava – it’s a texture thing, but once she got used to it, all was well).

What I loved least about this recipe:

Don’t think you know better than grandma when it comes to cooking, and definitely don’t think you know better than someone else’s grandma, from an entirely different country. Let me explain: I first tried to make a quick mix of this recipe and ended up with something more like clafoutis than the “bubbly” “airy” “souffle” like cake I was supposed to get. Trust the Slovakian grandmothers and whip up the egg whites to stiff peaks. The entire recipe counts on it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.