Recipes • A Chronicle of Our Life
Written by Marie Stejskalová, housekeeper to Leoš Janáček and his family
"Our master insisted on good food. There were no elevenses or snacks, but at midday and in the evening he ate a lot and with gusto. He knew how to praise the cuisine as well as find fault with it."
What did the most frequently performed Czech opera composer like to eat? Find out by delving into the cookbook of Marie Stejskalová, the Janáčeks' housekeeper (in Czech language only).
Marie Stejskalová (1873-1968) was the Janáčeks' housekeeper for over forty years. One of the items preserved in the Leoš Janáček Archive of the Moravian Museum is her book of recipes, mostly for various desserts and sweet dishes. This in itself would not be of such interest had the observant Mářa (as the Janáčeks called her) not interspersed the recipes with notes concerning the life and work of the master, which she called A Chronicle of Our Life. As a result, the cookbook contains unique information about the genesis of some of Janáček's works and brief descriptions of events from the housekeeper's viewpoint, as well as that of Janáček's wife Zdenka, to whom Mářa was a constant source of support. The publication includes numerous editor's notes on the people and situations mentioned as well as illustrations by the artist Vendula Chalánková depicting scenes from the life of the Janáček family as recalled by Mářa.
Marie Stejskalová's recipe book is kept in the Leoš Janáček Archive of the Moravian Museum, which is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.
Publisher: TIC BRNO and the Moravian Museum.
LOOK IN THE BOOK:
Illustrations by Vendula Chalánková