In the spirit of Christmas, here’s an extract from my memoir recalling the thrill of being in three countries in one day for “holiday shopping,” which turned out instead to be “holiday liver consumption.” Plus, somewhat more tastily, a recipe for a Christmas cookie you’ve probably never tried before.
As for the “carp” reference in the post’s title… that will have to wait till you read the whole book! (Or until you Google “carp+Slovakia+Christmas.” If you want to cheat.)
Imagine, if you will, that under the communist regime from which you have recently emerged, you were required to create a “trade union” for the church’s seminary, so State Security could recruit informers and keep an eye on “subversive” activity.
And suppose that, after forty years of starvation of funds and personnel, your seminary has found itself in a borderless world awash in sudden and unaccustomed competition, such that its shoddy facility, lack of reading material, and underpaid, overworked faculty are a poor return on the enthusiasm of the hundreds of new students pouring through your doors.
Now suppose that you have some money left over from that defunct trade union. What will you do with it?
The answer is obvious. You will charter a bus to take the professors and their wives (and in one case, a professor’s daughter) to Austria and Hungary for a day of Christmas shopping… Read More