Today I buy Czech hard cheeses at the farmers' market in Lincoln to bread and fry, just as I remember from when I was young. I drive 40 miles north to the village of Prague, named after my hometown, for the fried carp, a Friday night Catholic Czech tradition. In Wilber, I can find slivovice, a plum brandy that we Czechs believe has medicinal properties. And I gladly go to 20 or so ethnic festivals in Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma each year, where I share the taste of Czechness with friends and relatives. By eating the food of our mothers, we return, at least in spirit, to the comforting fold of our families. I think this is why cuisine is the part of Czech life that is so well-preserved here. At the beginning of the 20th century, Nebraska's Czech-language newspapers were filled with letters from readers who shared experiences of substituting Nebraska produce—peppers, tomatoes, corn—in old family recipes to approximate the flavors of home.