Texas Czech Culinary Traditions
looks at Czech culture in Texas and how food traditions have changed since the 18th century. Texans with Czech heritage have been able to preserve their culture in America through organizations, cultural events, church groups and especially through food. This project looks at the experience of Czechs who emigrated to Texas in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Two books of recipes trace the development of food from the Czech lands to a church group comprised of Texas Czechs in El Campo, Texas. Other documents contextualize the process of migration into life in Texas. A combination of pictures, recipes, and stories create the framework for understanding this cultural subset in a new light.
In addition to blog posts that help understand the documents that I have curated, this website has a map of important Czech-related locations in Texas. Points of interests in these visualizations come from the documents selected from two repositories at the University of Texas at Austin: the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Perry Castañeda Library. Both institutions have helped in the creation of metadata for each document. Lesson plans on this material are included for college and elementary education levels.
Who are the Texas Czechs?
When people migrate, so does their culture, history, and food traditions. Many factors can cause a group of people to migrate and for Czechs in the mid-1800s, freedom and democracy were two main considerations. America, and especially Texas, appealed to many Czech immigrants coming from Moravia and Bohemia, two of the three main regions in the modern Czech Republic. Texas Czechs can be found all over the state but are mainly concentrated in East Texas. You can find Czech influences in popular culture in the famous Czech Stop in West, Texas and other stores that sell kolaches.