Author Archives: Luka Karaman


NK is my grandmother who was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Being a local she knows a lot about the city and its folklore. She knows a lot about the local and traditional cuisine. Rozata is a very traditional dessert in Dubrovnik.


“Rozata is one of many traditional cuisine in Dubrovnik. This type of desert has been made for special occasions in our family for generations.“


What ingredients do you need to make rozata?


“well to make it you need:

– eggs 12 pcs.

– sugar 0,22 dkg +0,12 kg (for the caramel)

– milk 1 l

– vanilla bean 1,00 Pc.

– whipping cream 0,35 l

– almonds 0,10 kg

– raisins 0,07 kg

– rum 0,02 l

– candied orange peel .”


How do you make it?


“You boil the milk and the vanilla bean, mix the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl. Pour the boiled milk through a sieve, cool and carefully add to egg mixture, stirring all the while. After that you want to mix carefully, paying attention that foam does not form at the surface. Then caramelize the remaining sugar and cover the bottom and sides of the forms. Fill the forms with the mixture and place in a medium hot oven in a water bath to fix the cream. When the rozata is half thickened, add a few rum-soaked raisins in the middle of the forms. The finished rozata is removed and cooled. Then you place it in the fridge overnight. Remove from the forms, and pour the melted caramel over the tops. Then you can decorate it and add flavor with whipped cream, thinly cut home-made candied orange strips and toasted almonds.”


Rozata has been prepared in my family for as long as I can remember and way longer than that. It has been passed down from generation to generation, but managed to keep your original recipe. I am grateful that I was a part of the generation who had the opportunity to grow up on this exquisite pastry prepared by our grandmothers, and I am even more honored to be able to present and write about it.

Dubrovacka rozata

Pticica krade djeci dude varalice (little birdy steals baby’s pacifier, binky)

SK is my mom who’s been living in Croatia for the past 15 years. She told me that both my brother and sister used pacifiers. And then she told me how she got them to stop using them.

Just like here in the United States, parents in Croatia buy pacifiers for their babies to calm them down. And as everyone knows it is hard for a baby to get rid of it. So I asked my mom how did she get my siblings to stop using them.


Why did you buy them pacifiers?


-It helps a lot, for an example it helps them go to sleep, it calms them down, but they easily get addicted to them.


How did you get them to stop using them?


-The teachers at the local preschool your brother and sister went to, told the babies when they lost their pacifiers that a little birdy took it and gave it to its baby birds to make it seem ok. I heard it from them and decided to give it a try. And it worked.


The whole story about birds steeling pacifiers from babies is ridiculous, but when you think about it, it actually works in this case. A baby can be strongly addicted to its pacifier and a playful story like this one can teach them a lesson of growing up.

Bez muke nema nauke

Bez muke nema nauke

Informant: MK was born in New York, but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He is a senior in high school. He has an older brother, and a younger sister. While growing up our grandparents would teach us valuable life lessons and most of the time they would use a proverb in doing so. Proverbs are a huge part of our family’s culture.


MK heard this proverb multiple times weather it was from a family member, school teacher or even his water polo coach.


“Bez muke nema nauke” when translated literally means “Without suffering, there is no learning.” The English equivalent is: No pain, no gain.


Have you ever heard of this proverb?


“Of course I have, it is a common saying in our community.”


Does it have any meaning to you?


“The same it means to anyone else that lives in my community. It teaches people a lesson. It’s a valuable lesson that I ended up learning the hard way.”


This proverb can be used in multiple occasions in variety of fields. For an example it is most commonly used in sports and schools. In sports without pain, suffering and sacrifice there is no gain, improvement. In schools, it is said when students complain about studying; without spending hours behind a book, one wont learn



Informant: SK is my mom. She was born and raised in New York, but moved to Croatia in 2002 and has been living there ever since. Living in Dubrovnik she noticed how weather can have an effect on people. She heard this peace of folklore from a colleague at work.


Briefly about jugo:

Jugo or Sirocco is a mild, gentle and worm wind. It blows from the sea towards the mainland. During the winter in Dubrovnik, it can blow up to nine days, and sometimes it can take up to three weeks. When the ‘jugo’ wind drops, the sky becomes dark, cloudy, and it begins to rain, while the waves grow rapidly.


What’s so special about this particular wind?


“People are struggling with time changes, especially if ‘jugo’ is involved. In the old days and even today in some areas, the people of Dubrovnik did not marry or make important decisions during the ‘jugo’. If someone committed a crime, he would not be punished harshly.”


It’s was interesting to learn about jugo. It’s fascinating how superstition can go this far. Even today people still believe they are affected by jugo, but of course without the “if someone committed a crime, he would not be punished harshly” part

Ginger tea for headaches

Ginger tea for headaches

Informant: TF was born and raised in Villa Park, California. His father works in commercial real estate and his mother working as a manager for Choc Hospital. He has one older brother, a twin sister, and one younger brother. TF is half Lebanese and strongly connected to his Lebanese background. He is a first year student at USC. The informant heard this type of medicine from his mother who learned it from her mother who used this kind of medicine all the time when she was a child.


Where did you get this information?

“From my mom and she got it from her mom and so on.”


So how do you prepare it, and how does it work?


“So ginger is traditionally used to treat headaches. You’ll want to mix half a teaspoon ginger powder into a glass of water and drink. Or pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of freshly ground ginger. Let it cool slightly and then drink it. Simple as that. Ginger is particularly effective against migraine, and also helps control the nausea that often accompanies migraine.”


Does this folk medicine mean anything to you?


“It does, my family has been using this recipe for generation. It became a traditional cure for headaches in my family.”


It’s interesting how even with today’s medicine folk medicine is still used. This is proof of that. The recipe so simple and healthier than taking a pill. At the end of the day it’s cool to know that my informants family has been using the same recipe for headaches like his ancestors before him.