Anonymous Interviews: CULINARY HERITAGE – 1.8

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?

Participant: “Čokolino”. But that’s not… That’s Slovenian isn’t it? “Čokolešnik” is Slovenian? I think so. “Paštete” [pates]. I found it that there’s not such a big variety of them here. “Lovska pašteta” [hunter’s pate]. I really like that. Sometimes I feel that was nice. Any dishes with paprika, “filane paprike, pečene paprike” [stuffed peppers, roasted peppers], all that sort of thing. “Kakšen dober golaž kdaj” [Some good goulash sometimes.] “Tekoči” [liquid] yoghurt. It’s a special sort of… Just plain yoghurt in a pouring form, which is not like too runny or not too thick. In Slovenia it’s absolutely perfect and whenever I visit Slovenia I have tonnes of it. You can’t find it here. You can’t really find that consistency and that thickness and it’s pure yoghurt back home. Here it’s full of sugars and preservatives and sweeteners and E-s and everything. It’s really just yoghurt in a drinking form. There’s all these great flavours too in Slovenia, you have “borovnica” [blueberry], you have all those things.

And the other one is “Cedevita” [instant orange drink]. Whenever a friend of mine goes to Slovenia she always brings me tons of it back and we always drink it until… It’s a sort of healthy drink which is not full of sugar. The “tekoči” yoghurt is absolutely biggest missing ingredient that you can’t find here. [Interviewer: How you deal with that?] I gave up. I tried. All of this stuff, but it sort of works if you take plain rich yoghurt, maybe add a bit of milk to it. Then mix it and you get that consistency. I just bought a new blender so I’m sort of experimenting making it, but it still doesn’t add all those flavours. Making it yourself would be what I’m going to experience it with because there’s no other choice. Just the consistency, getting, and then adding the fruit to it. I’m going to bottle it in glass jars and put it in the fridge. I make some every week for breakfast and stuff. Also “kajmak” [kajmak butter]. It’s not Slovenian, but I absolutely adore “kajmak” and whenever I’m in Slovenia I eat “kajmak” all the time.

Participant: What I really wouldn’t be able to live without is pumpkin seed oil. There’s no salad without pumpkin seed oil. Plain and simple. You can’t get good prosciutto in Australia. You can get prosciutto but it’s not the same as the real thing. I used to have a huge problem with pickles, it was really difficult to find. Buying cucumbers pickled in vinegar and not sweet. They all tend to be sweet and I really didn’t like that.

Participant: Would be probably such as dairy products, special yoghurts. There are special pates that you can’t buy here, certain soft drinks, alcohol drinks, it comes to oils. When we came to Australia it was particularly pumpkin oil that was hard to buy, not so these days. Now would I miss anything? Not really because you kind of implement other ingredients, try to bring closer to Slovenian ones.

Participant: What I most miss here is traditional beef soup. And probably some other food that usually my mum was preparing. [Interviewer: How you deal with that?] At the beginning it was a bit of a problem, but now I’m used to cook on my own anyway. I try to use that recipes and prepare it as best as I can.

Participant: There are some chocolates and some sweets that you can’t buy in Australia. It’s just in Slovenia and I really miss that. I forgot how it’s called, because I haven’t had it for such a long time. [Interviewer: “Gorenjka”?] Yeah those, and those little eggs, the chocolate eggs. [Interviewer: Kinder “jajčki”?] Yeah. They’re different here. [Interviewer: How you deal with that?] When grandparents visit from Slovenia they bring lots of those sweets here.

Participant: I miss some brand of teas, particularly herbal teas. There are “Planinski čaj” [Mountain tea], or we finally found “komarčkov čaj” [fennel tea] which is a fennel tea, it’s my daughter’s favourite. Because they are mainly into black teas and green teas, but you can’t drink black tea the whole day. “Jurčki” [boletus mushrooms], we can’t get them here. You can get the dried ones but they are not the same, so that’s what I miss. And blueberries. You can’t grow the proper forest blueberries, you just get American blueberries that we are familiar with in Slovenia. You can’t pick them and they taste good. [Interviewer: How you deal with that?] You try to find. It’s difficult to find replacement for “jurčki”, you can’t, so we are not preparing those dishes. I just use ordinary mushrooms to prepare, mushrooms in a cream, sweet cream. Blueberries, we use the ones that we can get, although they are not the proper ones.

Participant: Not that you can’t have it here but it’s just a lot of the thing you won’t have every day. “Štruklji” [special dumplings] take a long time, as much as “potica” to do, but usually more often than not you’ll make “potica” [potica cake] before you make “štruklji”. So I would definitely have it there. Other types of foods, some more different types of seafood probably that aren’t as readily available here. You’ll get calamari here, the small ones, but they’re not as easily available. It’s more the produced one in the shops and things that you get unless you go to the fish market. [Interviewer: But in Slovenia?] In Slovenia it’ll be in every “gostilna” [inn]. You’ll always get “kalamari na žaru” [grilled calamari] for sure. So I will eat them by the kilo over there.

Participant: I find Laško “pivo” [beer], “Radenska”. This is in the Slovenian Club. There is cabbage still preparing, so every Sundays is cabbage, “pečenka” [roast] potatoes, “praženi krompir” [roasted potatoes with onion], traditional Slovenian. This is what people still having here or can still find it here in Australia. I was unsatisfied what I’m searching, my life. This is why I came to Australia because I want to open my knowledge to other culture, because you cannot only watch one program from 120 your whole life. Things like finding another ingredients, spices, vegetables or fruit, or maybe taste something new. New taste is there, you can search it thanks to the Internet and communication, you can still find recipe from that kind of fruit, vegetables or meat. World is here but people don’t see it.

Participant: Is there anything that my mum has it make? Because I work also in [a name of the town], I go there daily and there you can find everything from our country, or even ex Yugoslavia. Everything. I can buy more food from our childhood than I was able to buy in Slovenia, because it’s from Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, all the products are here. I have Vegeta. If you can remind me of some? [Interviewer: Radenska, Laško pivo.] Oh, yes, Laško pivo [beer], we couldn’t find it. [My husband] found it yesterday, first time, so he bought it of course. We were all happy to have Laško, but that happened exactly yesterday, and we couldn’t find it. [Interviewer: Where?] It’s here in the mall, it’s a bottle shop, more like the centre in [a name of the town], right there they have Laško now. That was first time we saw Laško in Australia. I remember in [a name of the country] it was easy to buy Laško, not here. Then maybe, but that’s not Slovenian, “rakija” [fruit brandy], that I bought here. What else? [Interviewer: Pašteta?] Pašteta [pate], yes, I buy it. Delamaris fish I buy it here, Argeta they have here, “ajvar” [roasted red pepper spread]. I don’t know there was something that I can’t buy here. Maybe “borovničke” [blueberry schnapps liqueur]. [Interviewer: Pumpkin seed oil?] You can buy it here. I found it, there is German butcher, and in health food shops you can buy pumpkin seed oil. Maybe some flour, but I found it… “gres”[semolina] semolina, and it’s spelt flour. I think more or less you can buy everything here. You just translate it in health food shop or in stores that are selling yugo.

Participant: “Bučno olje” [pumpkin seed oil], but it’s coming, it is available now. The big thing that I really, really enjoyed when I was in Slovenia last year, we tried “ajdove palačinke z bučno marmelado” and it was just magic. The buckwheat pancakes with the pumpkin jam… “Pršut” [prosciutto] Kras.

Participant [Australian]: Teran. You can’t get that here.

Participant: I haven’t been to Slovenia for a very long time. Ask me in a couple of months when I come back. But one thing that comes to mind which I remember having the last time I was there was “kremšnite” [cream cake / vanilla slice] at Lake Bled. That’s one thing I’d probably like to try there because I hear it’s so good. That’s something that would be hard to make.

Participant: The tea. But we bought some last time.

Participant: The tea. I’ve got a cupboard full of Slovenian herbal tea from, not last time but the time before, so it’s about five years old, but it’s still okay. We always bring something back. We’re very limited as to what we can bring back. The customs restrictions. What we eat over there, always lots of “pršut” [prosciutto], lots of… [Husband: “klobasa” [sausage].] “Potica” [potica cake], other Slovenian cakes, and [a name of the woman] makes lots of typical Slovenian things, polenta and, what are they? What’s tripe? It’s “vampi” [tripe], so things like that. We drink lots of Slovenian wine. “Šparglji” [asparagus], the cakes, “gibanica” [layer cake].

Participant: When I came here, o boy, when I was in Bonegilla, it smells of this Australian dripping. Oh, you couldn’t eat. It was shocking meat, shocking food when we first arrive to Australia. Australian people didn’t know how to cook. They were using dripping. You know what dripping is? Fat. Fat of the meat, and it could be fat of the lamb but “kaštron” you know, the old lamb. And it used to smell. Oh, no. I didn’t. No. I didn’t like. Now in Australia you don’t find Australian food any more the way it used to be traditional. Now it’s mostly Italian way. [Interviewer: So you like it?] Oh, yes. [Interviewer: What did you miss here when you came to Australia…some ingredients…?] Yes. “ajdova moka” [buckwheat flour]. When I was expecting my child I want “ajdova moka”. I want “ajdova” polenta and now I have “ajdov” breakfast every day. Now, you can buy that buckwheat flour and I can cook “ajdova” polenta any time and I still love it. “Ajdova polenta” and “kislo mleko” [curdled milk]. [Interviewer: Do your relatives from Slovenia bring something for you here when they come?] Not really. No, because they are not allowed to bring in food from overseas here without declaring. They can be fined very much. [Interviewer: How you dealt with not having “ajdova moka”? Did you use something else?] Yes. Slowly, slowly all this thing has come to Australia. You would buy it in different shops and there you can buy stuff that is from Slovenia, really Slovensko, food that you can buy here.

Participant: When I was little we ate very simple. It was mainly potato and cabbage and beans, hardly ever meat. Now here we have really everything and it’s hard to say what we don’t. At first I found it hard to find poppy seeds, which now it’s readily available anywhere if I wanted to make “gibanica” [layer cake]. Or black pudding. Whatever they make here in Australia it’s never equal to “krvavice” in Slovenia. [Interviewer: How you deal with that?] Black pudding it’s German, you buy it in the supermarket. I don’t like it unless it’s done…one of the Slovenian clubs, they have a function in the winter time and they make “krvavice”. They are good. Whatever it’s commercial, in delicatessens, supermarkets no, it’s not edible to me.

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Next:
2 Growing and sourcing food (see Questions and Answers)

Other questions:
1.1 On which occasions do you usually prepare or eat Slovenian food? Answers.
1.2 Is it you who usually prepares the Slovenian food or does someone else prepare it for you? Answers.
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.

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).