Yesterday, Melanie and I made Povitica, the nut bread of my Croatian Grandmother. We do not make it regularly. Since this was a tradition of previous generations who are now past, I have had a lot to learn so as not to drop this craft from our family. Dad and I made it together a few times the 3 years before he past.
The whole process is still new to me. But the more I make it, the more it is becoming natural. I keep learning more about it each time that I make it. And it is great to share this with Melanie. We are both learning together.
Making Povitica at this holiday time just seemed right. Plus, Mother has 3 acquaintances at the Nursing Home who were Povitica makers and/or eaters. Two are sisters that Mother and Dad have known throughout their lives. These ladies' parents were Croatian immigrants at the time my Grandparents also immigrated. The 3rd lady's parents were Italian immigrants but she married the son of Croatian immigrants. As a result, she became a Povitica maker too.
Yesterday, I told them all that I would be making some and would they like a taste? The smiles spoke the answer. Now that is a promise I need to keep. Of course, all promises need to be kept, but sometimes they get stored in an overflowing folder marked "good intentions".
Plus, I met someone who is a reader of this Blog at the local grocery store a few weeks back. He had read my earlier entries on Povitica and my Croatian Grandmother. I had never met him before but we have mutual friends. He remembered a similar bread from his Slovakian ancestry. I promised him a taste the next time I made it. As I write this, I have sent out an email trying to make that connection since I do not have his email or his phone number. Should he read this, he can give me a call. We are making a trip to town this morning. The Povitica will be fresh!
The connections just go on. In visiting with Brenda, a member of Mother's church, I discovered that she too is a descendant of Croatian immigrants who were from the same village as our family. Amazingly, some of her relatives settled around the area of Madrid, Iowa. That's where my Grandfather's brother, Steve (Stif, in Croatian) Bloscovich also made his home. In doing an internet search several years back, I noted several Kruzich's there. That was the name of my Grandfather's Mother. Now how cool is that?
Back to Brenda: Brenda and Mike, the pastor, will be serving Communion to Mother on Easter Sunday. Since Melanie and I will be there too, I plan to tuck into my stash a taste for her too. Life is just too short to not do special things all along the way
Dad told us that his Mother would cut off the edges since they make too much bread in the Povitica. Grandma would roll those tasty morsels up like little rolls and pop them into the oven. Since the little rolls would be done well before the Povitica (which also needs to cool before eaten), they would appease the Children. I should add "Big People too".
Below you see the dough is rising and with it a whole slate of connections. Where once I thought my connections with that culture were soon to be past, they are popping up all around me. That connection defines who I am and it just cannot be denied. It is ever waiting to be reclaimed.