Nada Chunta Orlik was born in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbaad), Czechoslovakia, in 1948, on a large farm with cows, sheep, horses and goats. Four years later, the communists took everything her parents had – their land, their home, and most of their possessions. Her family moved to Vsetin in Moravia, and Nada’s parents started life anew, working in a factory. No matter how difficult their life was, her father was always happy and played the mandolin at family get-togethers. Both of Nada’s parents did the cooking (which is how she learned how to cook), and they always ate dinner together. One of Nada’s shining culinary moments was when she was thirteen and made her first soup. Her father proclaimed it to be the best soup he had ever had, and told her how happy and proud of her he was.
Nada studied electronics in school, and played handball in a league for sixteen years. She got married when she was twenty and had the first of her three children a year later. In 1969, her brother escaped Czechoslovakia while on vacation in Yugoslavia. Because of this, Nada and her family weren’t allowed to leave the country for twelve years. In 1980, when their children were 7, 9 and 11, they requested and received permission to leave the country for vacation. To ensure their return, her husband’s boss wrote on his paperwork that he could not take his children. Thankfully, they forgot to write the same exclusion on Nada’s. They left the country in their car and landed in an Austrian refugee camp with no money and only their suitcases. Six months later, when the sponsorship paperwork from her brother came through, they moved to Cleveland, Ohio. They weren’t happy in Cleveland (“it was too flat”), and had heard that Portland resembled the “old country,” so they moved here in 1984.
Both Nada and her husband always worked, yet Nada managed to have dinner on the table for the family every night by 6:00, just like her parents did when she was growing up. Sunday dinners were even bigger, and an opportunity for the whole family to catch up with each other. All her children rave over her cooking to this day, and it’s thanks to her daughter Dagmar’s efforts, that we get to serve Nada’s delicious food this month.
slow-cooked “Carlton Farms” natural pork with onions, garlic & paprika, served with buttered egg noodles
slow-cooked “Carlton Farms” pork with onions, garlic and paprika, served with buttered egg noodles & braised red cabbage
slow-cooked “Cascade Natural” beef, braised for hours & served with bread dumplings, braised red cabbage, & aromatic vegetables including onions, carrots, celery & celery root, pureed into a velvety sauce
Chicken with Mushrooms
chicken thighs slow-cooked with a rich mushroom & onion gravy, served with bread dumplings & braised red cabbage
filled with a Czechoslovakian rum-scented pastry cream, topped with a lemon glaze