Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Papernjaci (Papernjak)


These are the BEST cookies. They are from Slavonia, where my father's family is from.

Here is the English translation (the Croatian is to the right).
1.3 cups sugar
1.3 cups butter
3 egg yokes (yellows of eggs)
1 whole egg
4 large tablespoons of honey (use the best quality honey you can acquire as honey has an important influence on the taste of the cookies)
2 grains of clove, ground (use the back of a strong, broad knife to crush it)
2 grains of pepper, ground
1 lemon peel, grated
flour - as needed, so the dough is hard
Mix the sugar and egg until creamy, then add the butter and mix till creamy, then the flower, then the rest of the ingredients. Mix until the dough is very hard.
Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to a width of 0.7cm (as fat as a finger) and press down with the papernjak mold (pictured to the right). Remove the mold and cut out the individual cookies. Put the cookies in the oven to bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the middle rack of the oven. You can roll the cookies on the parchment paper as well, if you find it difficult to transfer them from the counter to the baking sheet (bottom photos is baked papernjaci).
I can't wait to go to my parent's and make these (my mold is there)! Sretan Bozic i sve naj naj!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kiflice, kifle, Walnut and vanilla cookies or Kiffel

http://balkanbarbie.blogspot.com/
To celebrate the holidays, my friend T. came over last Sunday afternoon and we baked these kiflice.

Ingredients (in USA/UK imperial measures and then in European):
half pound (1 cup) butter, soft = 225 or 230 grams butter
half cup sugar = 95 grams sugar
2 cups flower - sifted, all purpose = 200 grams flower
1 and 1/4 cups walnuts, well ground (mljevenih). Buy them that way or grind them in the blender or food processor. = 105 grams walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla (liquid form of vanilla, .17oz) = 5 ml vanilla
confectioner's sugar (also called powdered sugar) for dusting

Sastojici:
225 g puter / maslac
95 g secer
200 g brasno
105 g orah, mljevenih
5 ml vanilje

Tools: I used the lovely Bosch stand mixer you see in the photo, which my parents gave me as an early birthday present (December 23). A hand mixer will also work. Mixing with a wooden spoon would work as well. I guess you would need to use a wisk to cream the butter and sugar, in that case.

Directions:
The Dough:
Mix the butter and sugar until creamy. Probably use middle speed. Add vanilla. Mix until well integrated. Add the flower, a spoon full at at time, on low speed. Mix until it forms a solid mass. Slowly add the ground walnuts. When the walnuts are all integrated, stop mixing. Take the dough out and make a ball out of it. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours, or put it in the freezer for about 2 hours. It is nice to prepare the dough and refrigerate it overnight. The dough needs to be a solid, hard mass.

The baking:
Heat the over to 350 Fahrenheit, which is about 175 c, for those of you in Zagreb, Osijek, Vienna, Graz ... Toronto, and Vancouver
Line a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pinch off some of the dough. Roll it between your hands, specifically palm-side of your knuckles, to make it into a tube shape. When it is ready, it should be about the length of your index finger, thinner than your pinky. Lay it on the parchment paper in the shape of a horse shoe.
Keep all of the kifle the same thickness and length so the batch bakes evenly. I hope the photos are instructive about the size and shape of kiflice.

Bake for about 10 or 15 mintues at 350f, 175c, until slightly brown on the top. My oven took 15 minutes. The ones in the photo are pretty good.
Take them out, let them cool off. When they are cool and you are ready to serve, dust them with the powdered sugar.

Store them in a tin can or in a plastic box - anything with a good seal - in the cupboard. They keep very well in the cupboard (no eggs in the dough). They freeze very well. Children enjoy making them because they role them with their hands and that is cool. It isn't very messy either, maybe put a plate under their hands to catch crumbs when they roll the cookies.

For your convenience, here is a kitchen conversion web site in which you can ask for the conversion of weights and measures of specific ingredients used in the kitchen (convert-me.com).

And we ate a few, drank wine, then later some tea, and laughed quite a bit. Today, we had our first snowfall in Urbana. Very nice. The year will come to an end quite soon. The days are short, and cold, it is the time of lights, we can celebrate living through another year, and hope for what will come the next. Peace on Earth.

Enjoy
Merry Christmas, Sretan Bozic, i Sretna Nova Godina 2008.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Talking Heads

Lately, I have been listening to Talking Heads, especially the song "Sugar on my Tongue." I also like Elvis Presley. I can reccomend the movie, "Lost Embrace" (2004). In Spanish, it is "El abrazo partido." The movie takes place in a shopping mall in Buenos Aires, perhaps the most beautiful city in the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Timing

There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go.
Tennessee Williams

War crimes tribunal and job interviews and online dating

There are some things I can't impose rationality on. Yes, I am talking about love. I am also talking about the dynamics of job interviews. This could also be said for war, or Stalin. Maybe that is why historians explain events by saying one person is dominant, for example, things went this way or that, but so and so was mostly guilty. I think Milosevic was mostly guilty for thing sin the 1990s and early 2000s. What about the war crimes tribunal. Is that an effort to impose reason on horror? Maybe it is just a way to get rid of the past. It makes secrets public, it shames some people and social groups.
I watched an ad for an on-line dating service last night, I think it is chemistry.com, and it seems to be branding itself as the hipsters dating service. It is the opposite of e-harmony. They suggest e-harmony rejects people - hipsters. It criticizes their questions as long and not relevant to hipsters. The questions are the unique selling proposition of eharmony. They say it matches people on important values. I wonder how chemistry.com matches people - probably on cultural things like what music I like, I guess. I think chemistry.com is more like Bourdieu and interpretive marketing research brought into VALS while eharmony is more like VALS and lifestyle research. Please don't rip off my ideas and write an article on them and get tenure etc. Yes, I am a wounded graduate student, just back from a job interview. Regardless, I am right about these dating services and their connection to marketing research, and I am taking marketing research theories seriously. Hey, maybe if I have to teach Audience Analysis this spring, I will apply dating services as a case study.
I started to write about love and imposing reason on it, and how you can't, even though dating services say you can. Then the connection with Bourdieu came up. So that is why we went down that road.
Please, do not impose reason on love, that is a one way trip to crazy town.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Žuži Jelinek

Mrs. Jelinek (70) is a fashion designer. Recently she published a book and thus became an author too. In various Croatian weeklies we can read her columns, she is often invited as a guest to popular TV talk-shows and she has been frequently interviewed by the press. Mrs. Jelinek attracted the media with her statements about the relationship between men and women and has thrust herself upon the public as an authority on beauty, harmonious marriage and success in life. Although Mrs. Jelinek shamelessly and with a smile talks pure nonesense, nobody has openly said anything against them so far. Here are only a few quotations which are characteristic of Mrs. Jelinek's points of view.


(quotations taken from the daily paper "Vecernji list", Oct. 2nd 1998., journalist Branko Vukcic)

"VL: If a man does something inappropriate, for example is late....if he (un)intentionally hurts a woman, what can he do to make up for what he did? What works with women?

Jelinek: If only men would know how women are easy! We are all alike inside."

"Jelinek: In the morning a man should say a few warm, kind words, and all his problems are solved. If a woman was clever, and the majority is today, she would not reproach him anything, because men today are extremely touchy."

"Jelinek: Four rules how a woman can keep a man are: First, with sex. Second, with a smiling face. Men do not like women who sulk. Third, she must never begrudge him on anything because all men are alergic to reproach. Fourth, if a man is well fed, if he is happy and content at full dining table then a woman can't lose him. He might temporarily go to another woman, but he will come back. Men are different than women and sex is important to them as much as food."

"Jelinek: Every woman must be interested in politics so that she would be able to make conversation with a man at all."

http://crowwomen.tripod.com/zuzie.htm

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adjusting to America

For one whole weekend, I didn't go to the mall. No, it wasn't a dare, or a political statement, it just happened that way. I was working, doing laundry, watching DVDs, talking to friends, going swimming at the pool, and having a cafe late at Cafe Paradiso. It just quietly happened on its own that way.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Looking Good in a Buffalo Stance

What I miss about Zagreb:
I miss Otvoreni Radio (it translates into Open Radio and you can listen here through live stream and you can listen here www.otvoreni.hr). They have a mix that floors me. I love it. I feel like I am back in my kitchen on Kaciceva, the third floor, with the balcony on the garden, not street side, dancing while cooking up some lunch, maybe trout, on a Saturday afternoon, listening on the 1960s era Grundig "Yatch Boy" he bought on ebay (his first ebay experience) and mailed me in Zagreb from Germany, cause he knows I think Grundig makes the best radios, my father has them. I even shipped it back with me, and it is in my kitchen right now.
Or sitting in a car in front of my building, he's driven me home after drinks, it's Chaka Kahn's "Ain't Nobody," on Otvoreni, he thumps his palm on the driving wheel, tells me about when he was a DJ at KSET ages ago. It is the first time I listened to Otvoreni, and I kept my dial there since.
I heard this song (Buffalo Stance) on Otvoreni while in my kitchen and was delighted. Nenah Cherry (she's Sweedish, are you also surprised) sings it and this is what she says about it, from her web site: this song "is about sexual survival. It's not a feminist record - none of my songs are. But it's about female strength, female power, female attitude."
Yah, I am back in the USA, in a town in the mid-west.
I just heard the whistle of a train, that reminds me of Zagreb...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Moving a bit slower

My recovery time after a night of dancing and drinks is two days.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What Everyone Should Know About Those Things

You would have seen me dancing at Global last night, here is the web page of this gay club in Zagreb, in case you missed it last night:
http://www.globalclubzg.hr/home.asp?lang=eng

Trout Lady

Trout Lady, who sells me trout once a week at the fish market at Dolac, the main market in the city center (this was last Thursday; I usually go Saturday):
(As she is turning to me and holding the trout in her left hand knife in the right, standing over the chopping block, inside the square of tables with fish)

Do you want to take this now or do you want me to hold on to it until later?

(As I am waiting on the other side of the table, looking at Trout Lady as she's just sliced open the first trout and is pulling out red mushy insides)

Thanks, but no, I'll take it now.

(Lady Trout, looking up, right hand pulling out slimy insides of trout)

I thought you would have a coffee and then come back for it.

(Me, trying to memorize how to clean a fish and happy she always cleans it for me and is willing to hang on to it so I don't have to go to coffee smelling like trout but uncertain about this answer)

Usually, of course, but today it is too hot, it is too hot to sit and have a coffee, I am going home now.

This is important because I went to see Lady Trout last Saturday just as she was about to leave. I was with my girl friend Mare to buy fish for her and for me, to show Mare where I buy cleaned, fresh fish. And Lady Trout was really not happy that we had arrived at five minutes until two and wanted cleaned fish. She said to Mare,

You can't come here at this time and ask for fish, I have been here since 4am. She (nodding at me) comes here all the time. Next time, buy it earlier and then come back for it (referring to what I usually do). We said sorry and Ok. Mare was also shy about it and tolerant of Lady Trout's scolding us (well, and Lady Trout has power, she has cleaned trout). I was a bit ashamed and I think Lady Trout was making up for it Thursday with the offer to hold on to it, or letting me know we are still cool, and she will hold the fish, or thanking me for not coming at the last minute, or reminding me this is an option.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Plastic


These Barbies caught my eye. The way they are friends, they shine, they are unclothed. Someone was selling them at Hreljic last Sunday. Passed by them, they were laying on the blanket with many things. Looked like things you would find in your junk closet. Will write more later. In a bit of a rush in the moment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reader's Request

I will tell you about going to the gynecologist in Zagreb, but only if you really want to know. So, please let me know. Ok, I really want to write about it, am a bit shy, and need your gentle prodding first.

What Every Woman Should Know About Those Things

Differences in gender relations between people in the US and in Zagreb. That is something I can talk a lot about, I do talk a lot about, and I am interested in talking a lot about. Beyond men-are-stupid, women-are-smart.

Let's start with the Wikki entry on Romantic Love. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_love
From their web page:

Properties of romantic love include these:

  • It cannot be easily controlled.
  • It is not overtly (initially at least) predicated on a desire for sex as a physical act.
  • If requited, it may be the basis for lifelong commitment.
No, it cannot be easily controlled, and trying to control it has, in the past, made me quite frustrated. Is it American to think emotions can be controlled or should be? For me, it can be hard to control my obsessions in romance, and to tell the difference between my obsessions and feelings for someone. Maybe men here are less intolerant, they do expect women to have personalities, relationships to have flows, they do not expect to put people and relationships into categories and check off like a list.

It seems to me that here, some men control emotions, some don't, and some are so up to their eyeballs in getting ahead in a tough context you just marvel at how they can have so many emotions and so many jobs at once. Other men, you want to kick them to the curb, they are so vulgar and arrogant. Probably some men see women these ways.

I am not sure if I can agree with Wikki that romantic love is not overtly predicated on a desire for sex as a physical act. I would argue for a desire for sex and small talk, conversation. To fight off boredom. Men here like to conquer, to dominate, the relationship and the sex. Maybe they do in the US, too, but they have to hide it or are frustrated by it. US Feminism says: their domination is oppressive. Popular culture: equality in a relationship. I say: there is no equality between two people, none. Give and take. Let him think what he wants. If he wants to think he conquered me, I can pretend to be surprised and seduced. I'm certainly going to do what I want anyway.

Lifelong commitment. Overall, I should have taken the chance here and have that affair with that married man. Get some myths out of my head.

If you read the whole web page, you will read that romance is something that exists in specific occasions and moments in a relationship. I think that is really true in Champaign Illinois and in Zagreb.

--------------------------------------
Why am I writing this, I have to write my cover letter for job applications and get ready to move back to the University of Illinois from my sweet home in Zagreb. I can't believe I still haven't been to KSET or Limb, that I worked so much here (you are right, there were some non-work moments - the writing about romance).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sparno

It is really, really hot here in Zagreb. Also, woke up around 4am with thoughts about upcoming Zagreb departure. Not looking forward to trading Zagreb for U-C.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Spring

It is spring here, how did the time fly by so fast...I am departing in July...more posts with images soon...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Communist China

Communist China. Meaning china sold under Communist rule. I think these objects, especially the decanters, are clearly the tools of the class enemy. That rhetoric may have been important for revolutionaries from 1945 to 1955. By 1968, however, the party had embraced its inner class enemy. Perhaps for most people, a decanter was always a decanter was always a decanter, still is a decanter.
These images are from the Nama katalog, winter 1968-69 (please see post below for the cover).

A good blog you might like

The following blog is by Grant McCracken. Most of you know who he is. And for those of you who don't, I can advise you to read his blog if you like cultural commentary that is observant and straddles the lines of mundane and sophisticated in a way that has harmony.
http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Communist Department Store

Nama is a department store in Zagreb. There are three convenient locations: Ilica (next to the main square), Krvatric, and Crnomerec. Nama during state socialism was the equivalent of Sears Roebuck. It was a communist (or state socialist) department store. Here is the cover from the fall-winter 1968-69 catalogue.
I just bought this on Sunday at an antiques market. The catalog is in very good condition and I think it is a good investment. Lots of color photos to use as illustrations in publications and presentations. Oh, and just fun to look at. I always look at fashion from other eras and think, "wow, they thought that was fashionable, hilarious!" Or, sometimes, I like to think of what I would have liked to have worn if I were living in that era.
I'll show some of the contents in later blogs. You can enjoy the game...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sljeme





A perfect Sunday morning at Sljeme... some photos of and from the lift cars as well as a bit of the view of Zagreb from the trip up the mountain.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Paradise




Saša Šekoranja
Ilica 82, Zagreb. Saša Šekoranja
This florist is in my neighborhood. A crowd formed on the sidewalk, looking at this display. My guide book describes him this way: "Sasa is not so much a florist, but an artist who happens to use flowers as his means of expression. Beautiful, natural and unusual arrangements - very different to what is usually available.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Astonished

Just like every other Saturday at 3pm, today I walked over to Sedmica with the Weekend Edition of the Financial Times. I sat in the corner table with my back to the window, and my waiter came over. He said, didn't ask, "kavica" and I smiled and said yes. He came back with my "kavica" and a glass of water. He said (in English), "No sugar" (because there were none on the saucer and I usually don't take sugar) and I said, in Croatian, "yes, that's it," and smiled. He walked back to the counter, I enjoyed my paper and the music. A very tall man came in pushing a toddler sitting in a stroller. I've seen them here before, she's a little girl, this is her father, and when they come in, I hear lots of men greeting them with hello for the father and sweet things for her. About an hour later I walked to the counter to pay. The waiter was siting on a bar stool at the side of the counter, talking to the three customers at the counter. I couldn't find a space close enough to hand him the money, so I signaled to him that I would leave it on the table in front of me. I was really surprised when he said, no, it's ok, so I thought I misunderstood the language. I repeated my gesture, he repeated his. I smiled and said thank you. I left feeling so warm and happy. I felt like home. Maybe even for the first time.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Socailist Textiles"


Ad for "Socialist Textiles" by the trzic factory in Slovenia (Svijet magazine, 1975)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Something for you

I ran across this the other day. In France, there used to be jukeboxes stacked not with records but movies. Please check it out at this web site:
http://scopitones.blogs.com/scopitonescom/

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ordinary People

It seems that I flew all the way to Zagreb just to find a tv soap opera and make it my favorite. It is called Obicnji ljudi (Ordinary People) and it airs weedays from 6.40pm to 7.15pm on a state tv channel, HTV1. My favorite female lead actor is Helena Minić, who plays Saša Kincl. I also like her best friend, Zrinka Kusevic, who plays Hana Hrvatin My favorite male actor, even though he plays a supporting role, is Robert Krubasa, who plays Robert Knezevic. More later. It has to do with walking down the street and seeing one of the characters and thinking I should go say hi because that is a good friend. It also has to do with finishing the book on which the show is based, "The Family Way" (2004), by Tony Parsons, just a few days before the series ran its first broadcast last fall.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Trams in Zagreb


I took this photo (the second one) Sunday around 1pm. I was walking from the street up to the tram stop on the South side of Savksi Most (The bridge over the Sava that connects Novi Zagreb to older parts of the city), going North. I wanted to take tram 6 because I can ride it directly to my neighborhood, but this one, tram 7, arrived first. I rode it to Autobusni Kolodvor (the bus station), where I switched to tram 6 after a few minutes' wait.

I took this photo (the second) because I had taken a similar one, at the same time of day, of tram 6, in late October. I like this one better because it has better contrast with the light, since this was a sunny day, and the composition is better. For the first photo, the composition came into frame as I was waitng for the tram and talking to a friend. I like them together because I think the old and new trams present life in Zagreb. But there is something different about the old and the new trams, although I am not quite sure what. I guess the old tram is part of the time when all of this concrete was laid, and the new tram more about the present.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Fashion Never Takes the Day Off"

I like this cover spread from July 1966 issues of Svijet magazine. I'm working on a reserach project about how to dress for summer holidays in socialism. I'm calling it "Fashion Never Takes the Day Off." Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 08, 2007

Passing through

This is the view from Dolac to trga bana Josipa Jelicica on a Sunday afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Three Kings


January 6 is the festival of the Three Kings, or the Three Wise Men. These days, I could see from my living room the decorated Christmas tree in the apartment across the street from me. Last night, most people returned from their ski holidays (not much snow here in Central Europe for skiing this year). Some people have asked me about Christmas traditions in Zagreb, and I knew about most of them from my family. For example, decorating the tree on Dec 24, eating fish for dinner, and opening presents that night. One I didn't expect was walking around town yesterday afternoon and today to find many Christmas trees waiting to be picked up by the city. Posted by Picasa

Benches


There is a great pleasure in hunting the benches of Zagreb. I like to take photos of people sitting on benches. I like the photo to ask something about how people share space. Do strangers sit with a specific posture? How intimate can men and women be in the theatre of the park, on the stage of the bench (if they are teenagers, men and women can sit very close). Can you sit alone on a bench in the park? Are you there because you have no where else to go to be alone, or to find company?
 Posted by Picasa