My Grandmother is 76 years old and she is predominantly Yugoslavian and Spanish. She has lived her whole life in the United States.
My grandmother’s mother was very Yugoslavian, she came over to this country from Yugoslavia when she was a young girl. With her she brought many of the recipes that she learned from her hometown. My grandmother is a very good cook and loves to bake, so the first piece of folklore she could think of was a recipe for strudel that her mother taught her how to make.
Informant: “I learned how to make it from my mother and she learned from hers and so on, who knows how long it has been in the family, but it’s damn good. You make it with really thin dough and the other ingredients can be variables, but it always has cinnamon sugar. She could make it so thin and then would cut it into pieces and then bake them until they were perfect golden brown. I am telling you it is the best thing you would ever taste. I still don’t think I can make it like her, there is something about the way that your mother makes something that is almost impossible to recreate. She would always make the strudel on Sundays because she didn’t like going to church so it was sort of her way out. I always go to church but because she always made it on Sundays, Sunday is the only time I ever make it. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t feel right if I made it on any other day. I guess it kind of celebrates her life in a way. I think about her whenever I make it and this recipe is something I hold very dear to my heart”.
Analysis: In many cultures, food is something that is very important. Culturally, a group of people can be known specifically for their specific types of food they make. It is one of the most important elements for the obvious reason that it keeps us alive, so whatever a culture is making, is important and becomes a part of their identity. The strudel represents a part of my grandmother and a part of her Yugoslavian heritage. It may seem a bit silly, but things like this can be very important to people because it helps them stay connected to their roots. Things like food create identity and bond people together who share this specific identity.