Anonymous Interviews: CULINARY HERITAGE – 1.1

1.1 On which occasions do you usually prepare or eat Slovenian food?

Participant: Most of the time when the family gets together, celebrations, or certain feasts of the year. Definitely Easter and Christmas, birthdays, and really special occasions, anniversaries and things like that. Children enjoy the Slovenian food, they actually ask for Slovenian food.

Participant: Mainly when we invite some friends over, just to introduce them to our food, traditional food. I prepare traditional food during the week as well. It’s very healthy and mainly because we are able to cook at home. That’s why I can cook Slovenian food as well.

Participant: When we get together as a family, sometimes we go to the Slovenian club and we’ll eat Slovenian food. Also when we get together, all of our family have “bograč” [bograč goulash] which is a “Prekmurske” [from the Prekmurje region] dish. Also sometimes at home, when we need to cook something quick, that’s Slovenian.

Participant: When my friends, mostly Slovenian friends are visiting. That’s when we usually prepare Slovenian food. When someone expresses an interest in our culture and wants to know what’s unique Slovenian and would like to eat something Slovenian. Then we would make that exception. Otherwise we would serve what’s locally more common.

Participant: Probably just incorporated in to the everyday menu somehow. Our, the typical cuisine that we eat, is a mix of Slovenian and typical Australian food. If we would have guests, if they’re not Slovenian guests, we might want to try and impress them by cooking a typical Slovenian meal.

Participant: That’s hard because what’s Slovenian for us? Slovenian for me is polenta, the things that I grew up with. Polenta we would probably have quite often. The more traditional things, “potica” [potica cake], I never had “potica” when I was growing up, but his [husband] family did. So Easter, Christmas… And “jota” [bean and sauerkraut/turnips hotpot]. “Jota” we had when I was growing up and that’s something I really love and I try and make that often. [Husband: We’ll have that in winter.] We have “solata” [salat or lettuce?] all the time. We grew up with “solata”, every night, and we do that. “Kislo zelje” [sauerkraut]. We have goulash, so we do that quite often.

Participant: It’s more or less on daily basis. I would be preparing that most of the time myself.

Participant: I usually prepare my food in the evenings after work, if I have some time. Dinner, probably some simple things, not very complicated. I try to involve at least one item which is, how to say, traditionally Slovenian.

Participant: Slovenian food I prepare at home. The best meal I ever prepare is Slovenian because it’s vegetables, it’s very open food. Also soup, no-one prepares similar like we do.

Participant: When we’re invited to a party, when we have to bring some food and we want to show them where we come from and we want to share that food. We don’t usually get a chance to eat it.

Participant: Generally every afternoon. Mum used to make “močnik” [porridge] in the morning which would be Slovenian food. In the afternoons when I came home, for lunch there would also be some sort of stew like “kislo zelje” [sauerkraut] or “bograč” [bograč goulash] or something going on in the afternoon. We meet usually on Saturdays or Fridays or Sundays, on the weekend when we all have time. Because we work a lot now it’s hard to organise, a set date. Generally, every afternoon there’s always some sort of Slovenian food especially if I go to my grandparents.

Participant: All holidays, would be Easter, Christmas. We prepare a lot of Slovenian type food all the time, every day in terms of when I go to my parent’s house.

Participant: Even though we are here for [a few] years in Australia, I still cook Slovenian food regularly. For special occasions, if some Slovenian people get together for some Slovenian picnic, I always make strudel because they now expect it each time. I work in a multicultural environment, and once a year, or twice a year, we have international lunch, and I always bring some Slovenian food. I already did “jota” [bean and sauerkraut/turnips hotpot], and apple strudel. It’s regularly, I make it at least twice a year for work. At home I cook “polnjene paprike [stuffed peppers], sarma [cabbage rolls], jota”. I do “štruklji” [special dumplings], I don’t know, “potica” [potica cake], that’s for home, or for Easter. I still do this salad with “hren” [horseradish], it’s horseradish with apples and eggs and pumpkin seed oil.

Participant: It could be once a week, so any occasion. For special occasions it will be for Christmas or birthday, Velika noč [Easter], but I try and incorporate it into everyday cooking if I can.

Participant: When I’ve got time and when I feel like it.

Participant [Australian]: I would like [my wife] to cook more Slovenian food sometimes, I have tasted it and it’s very nice. I enjoy it.

Participant: I cook Slovenian food all the time. Because my husband, he loves Slovenian food and so am I. I’m cooking like we used to cook at home in Primorska [a region in Slovenia]. [Interviewer: So it’s a little bit Italian flavour?] Flavour. Yes. For instance, I cook “mineštra jota” [minestrone soup, bean and sauerkraut/turnips hotpot]. That is our food that we really love, and it is combined with “fižol” [beans], beans. Potato, sauerkraut, and of course you have to put some pork in, because without the pork you can’t do that recipe, and I cook usually the “fižol” in our, with a hock. Hock it is a pork end of the leg. Bone, but it got meat on as well. You can buy it here in supermarket and that what I do. I cook that with beans, the potato, and “zelje” [cabbage]. I usually cook separate, combine altogether, and then I do the rue, the “prižganka” [rue]. I throw that with some salt and pepper and I put just little bit of “kimel” [cumin]. I put that and that is our favourite “mineštra”.

Also I cook “juha” [soup], “domača” [home-made] “juha”. Meat and bones and then I make “nudlčke” [noodles]. I got machine to make “nudlčke” and that what I do. For dinners in the evening I got different meals. Sometime I could cook potato with onion and then a little bit of meat, but very little, just about that much [shows] meat. What my husband really love it is that we have most of the evenings, we have beans and “salata” [salat or lettuce?] together with a couple of cooked eggs. I put vinegar and Slovensko “bučno olje” [pumpkin seed oil] that I buy here in Bright, the Slovenian place where they make Slovensko “bučno olje”. It’s grow here in Australia. The father who started, passed away, but his daughter and the son-in-law they are keeping the tradition. This is already second year that the whole bus of Slovenian people are going over there and we buy this “bučno olje”, and we love it. My husband’s favourite. Some oil is good with the bread.

I like polenta and “šugo” goulash. Goulash is quite strong but “šugo” is not that strong because you put inside onion, garlic, carrots, “zelena” [celery] and meat. Then you put fresh tomato if you have. If not, you put it out of the tin and you just make “šugo” and put parsley on the top and it’s beautiful. It is a little bit watery but not, it’s beautiful to eat with the polenta. On the polenta I always put parmesan cheese. Again, we have that “salata” with “bučno olje” and “fižol”… green salad. I grow it in my garden. I always… actually now I have “motovilec” [corn salad, lamb’s lettuce]. And “pohane jajčke” [fried eggs]. Oh, it’s beautiful. This evening, I’m having the potato, sweet potato and carrots. All I put in the oven and it’s cooked in the oven. And just two pieces of chicken, done very, very quickly. No fat, because my husband and I, we try not to use fat. [Interviewer: Not much pork anymore?] No. No. My husband, he love prosciutto but only to do schnitzel, two little.

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1.2 Is it you who usually prepares the Slovenian food or does someone else prepare it for you? Answers.

Other questions:
1.3 If your non-Slovenian friend invites you to a barbecue or a dinner to bring your plate of food what do you usually bring? Which of the foods you bring is a part of Slovenian tradition (ingredients, a way you prepare or serve it)? Answers.
1.4 Do you bring different food if you are invited to a barbecue or a dinner where there are only Slovenians? Answers.
1.5 Do you feel a need to show your ethnic identity through food? Do you feel more Slovenian if you prepare or eat Slovenian food? Answers.
1.6 If you imagine a virtual or a physical museum exhibition presenting iconic Slovenian food what would be shown? Answers.
1.7 Which are the most iconic Slovenian food/drink brands? Answers.
1.8 For the 1st generation: Which food/drink or ingredients that you usually consumed or used in Slovenia, do you miss in Australia? It can be also a commercial brand. For other generations: If you go to Slovenia is there some kind of food you like and that you cannot have it here? Answers.

See also:
1 Culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
2 Growing and sourcing food (see Questions and Answers)
3 Digital technologies for communicating culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
4 Connecting with other Slovenian Australians (see Questions and Answers)
5 Identity (see Questions and Answers)
6 Conclusion (participants’ ideas) (see Questions and Answers)

This is a website of a research project exploring digital technologies for communicating the culinary heritage of Slovenian Australians in collaboration with the University of Canberra under the 2015 Endeavour Fellowship Programme (PDR).