Zelňačka [zel-nyach-kah] is an iconic soup from the area of the Czech Republic where I grew up. It is a traditional dish in the mountains of Moravia, and each Czech grandmother has her own slight variation on the recipe. Each is delectable.
Lara first experienced this part of Czech culture when I brought her home for Christmas last year – in a rustic refurbished underground restaurant, no less. She was sold, and I knew I had chosen a wife well!
In preparation for our upcoming summer in Czech, Lara and I thought it would be wise to start getting our taste buds ready. Thus I scoured the internet for a suitable recipe for this sausage-and-sauerkraut soup. I found one on a blog that had been published in a Czech cookbook at the height of communism – you know it’s authentic then!
Taken from: http://czechmatediary.com/2007/06/18/another-czech-recipe-sauerkraut-soup-zelnacka/
7 oz. Sauerkraut
6 cups of water
2 potatoes, diced
2 tbs. of flour
4 slices of bacon
Polish sausage (kielbasa)
5-10 white mushrooms, diced
1 tsp. Caraway seeds
1-2 tsp. Sweet paprika
1. Saute finely diced bacon
2. Add sliced Polish sausage, mushrooms and onion; saute for about 5 min.
3. Sprinkle with flour and stir everything around
4. Add drained sauerkraut, diced potatoes, caraway seeds and paprika and stir
5. Add water, salt and cook until tender
Lo and behold, it works!
It’s the caraway seeds that remind me of home. Czech chefs put this untraditional spice in soups, in mashed potatoes, and on top of baked bread. It’s my taste of childhood. And it made both Lara and I incredibly excited to be back among the Czech people this summer. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Dear Friends and Family,
A warm rainy day in September changed my life forever. After spending the summer as an intern in the Czech Republic, I returned to Chicago to continue into my junior year at Moody Bible Institute. What my then-girlfriend didn’t know was that I had returned with a diamond ring from Prague in my pocket. And on that brisk day in September, I asked Lara Elizabeth Ragan to be my wife.
On June 8th, 2012, we were wed in Chattanooga, TN, and were whisked off into that thrilling adventure of marriage as Tyler and Lara Patty! We found a cute little apartment in a neighborhood of Chicago and have been finishing our bachelor’s degrees at Moody – youth ministry and communications, respectively.
Both Lara and I came to Moody with a vision from the Lord of a life devoted to him in the service of full-time ministry. That has not changed, but only become further strengthened through our marriage. As we have prayed and sought godly counsel, we have felt a stirring in our hearts to return to the Czech Republic to disciple and equip young leaders in the local church.
When we were approached by Josiah Venture to lead a summer intern team, we were thrilled to begin investing into the lives of the Czech people. The area of Czech we will be serving in is largely untouched by the gospel, leading many to call it one of the most atheistic regions in the world. Working with Czech churches to put on evangelistic English camps for youth could not be more thrilling to us.
But we don’t want our ministry to stop there. God has placed a burden on our hearts to see a new generation of Christian leaders rise up and lead their nation back to the Lord. Specifically, we feel called to move overseas and pioneer a new program of theological education in the Czech Republic. I have been heavily impacted by my classes in theology and Old Testament Hebrew, and plan on pursuing even further education after returning from this summer. I desire to be equipped to offer leaders in Czech what Moody Bible Institute has offered me — rich biblical theology fused with practical ministry skills.
This summer is the first step toward that vision. Would you prayerfully consider joining with Lara and I as we invest into the lives of Czech students and young leaders? We will depart for the Czech Republic at the end of May, spending two and a half months working with national churches to organize and run youth camps. This will also be Lara’s first time doing ministry in the country, so we are looking forward to learning what it will be like to serve on foreign soil together. We need to raise $8,000 before May 1st in order to cover all the expenses. You can give online by clicking the “give” button. We would love if you would follow our blog and join with us in prayer for the summer.
Thank you for standing with us thus far. We know this is just the beginning!