Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review of The Czechoslovak Cookbook by Joza Brizova

Throughout the years, my knowledge of Czech cooking has been acquired by two primary sources: family recipes passed on from past generations, and Czech cookbooks. One of the commonly used Czech cookbooks I have in my collection The Czechoslovak cookbook by Joza Brizova.

The 282 page cookbook translated in English is divided into sixteen chapters which include the main categories such as soups, meats, poultry/game, eggs, dumplings, breads, desserts, and confections. The index is very useful as you can look up a particular dish by Czech name or the English equivalent. For example Svickova can be looked up by that name or listed as beef “tenderloin” with sour cream. On each recipe page the recipe is first titled in English with Czech name below it. The degree of difficulty with these recipes varies (as in all cookbooks), though I find that most items within this Czech cookbook can be prepared by the novice.

The meat, dumpling, and sauce sections by Brizova are reason enough to purchase this cookbook. The pork and beef recipes in this cookbook will have you prepare dishes that can compete with some of those sampled at most Czech restaurants in the States. The sauce recipe section is very expansive as there are plenty of variations to prepare that will be a good accompaniment to a Sunday roast with dumplings.

There are a few recipes in this book that I considered “filler” and perhaps not necessarily Czech but suitable as originating from any ethnicity. For example there were pages of omelet and different egg dishes that may not necessarily be indicative of Czech origin, but perhaps French, German, Polish, Hungarian, etc. I am sure every country would lay claim to being the first to author it.

Overall, I think this 500 recipe cookbook is a must have for those that have a keen interest in preparing Czech dishes. The recipes are listed with English equivalents and fairly easy to follow. Unfortunately there are no pictures to follow with any of the recipes so one will have to have a clever imagination or surf the net to see what the finished product looks like.

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