Easter Basket

Our Easter Basket
Our Easter Basket

I grew up going to an Orthodox Church with my parents. I did not realize how much this church meant, not only to my parents, but also to the history of my family--especially on Easter Sunday. You could smell the aroma of the paskas, sweet breads, that had been designed with care by each of the parishioners. My parents would prepare foods like my Grandma, my Baba. In our Easter basket, we had hrutka (cheese), pickled beets, vetchina (ham) and kolbasa (pork sausage) that were made once a year in keeping with our family tradition. As we made them, my Dad, reminded me that this custom belonged to my Baba. My Baba’s name was Anna Matoka and she was born in Pittsburgh on May 3, 1919. She was one of three children who were born to Jan and Anna who both came from Pcholine (Slovakia). She grew up speaking Ruthenian at home and in her neighborhood. She traveled by herself to a local Settlement House to learn English. She graduated at the top of her high school class, but between the Great Depression and her status as a woman, she never went on to college. As a mother, she carried her family’s history with her by attending church in a Slavic speaking community, as well as making the foods her mother made. It was through these traditions that she was able to remember her parents and their life back in Pcholine. These foods are still made by my family every year at Easter as a way to remember our family roots and how we have made our own version of the American story.      

Place(s): Pittsburgh, Slovakia
Year: 1910

– Alex Delare

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more