This was a weird Thanksgiving. The first without my mother. It's caused me to remember these holidays in context with her.
There was one constant for this time period. Patiza or Potica it seems to be spelled both ways. It's a type of bread that comes from Easter Europe.
It's similar to German Strudel, but doesn't use fruit.
Growing up both my parents lived in Pueblo, Co. My paternal grandfather worked at the CF&I steel plant. My maternal grandparents owned a small business. They attended different high schools. What they had in common at this time of year was Potica.
The reminisced about always wanting something good to take for lunch so they could trade it for Potica from the other students.
The steel mill brought in a lot of Eastern Europeans. Potica was their traditional pastry for Christmas.
In Albuquerque it wasn't even known, so we kids always wondered what they were talking about.
Skip to my wife. An aside here, I met my wife in March and we were married in November. I didn't know a lot about her family traditions come this first Christmas.
Linda's mother came from Leadville, Co. Her father was from Austria in the late 1800's. Her grandmother always made potica for Christmas. Our first Christmas together grandma sent down potica. We had a joint family Christmas at my parents house and her parents brought potica to the meal.
You should have seen my parents eyes light up. They hadn't seen or eaten this bread in decades.
Linda's grandmother passed away and Christmas was devoid of potica. Mom though got the potica bug and in a few years she found a catalog that sells all kinds of sweets and nuts and candy and you name it. It had potica. She started ordering it and we once again had potica for Christmas. This will be the first one without it for some time.