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Malin traditions
Jaternice dinner celebrates Czech heritage
by Jill Aho, Herald and News 2/17/09

  More than 270 people turned out Sunday to celebrate Malin’s century-old founding with food, drink and dancing.
   The annual Jaternice dinner started in Malin in 1960. Its attendance had dwindled since the event was moved to Tulelake, said Czech Lodge Krasna Budoucnost President Joe Victorine.
   But on Sunday the line seemed interminable, worrying some organizers that there wouldn’t be enough sausage, sauerkraut, bread and apple strudel.
Traditional food
   Although the meal mirrored a traditional Czech dinner, some ingredients were difficult to find this year, Victorine said. His wife, Mary, made the sauerkraut and left out the caraway seed this year, she said, because the spice was too expensive.
   “Traditionally, it’s a food that’s a little hard to get used to. We like a lot of garlic, a lot of spice,” said Elizabeth Wilcox, who later danced at the event.
   The jaternice, or Czech sausage, was made ahead of time, then grilled outside. The all-pork sausage traditionally includes tongue, heart, liver and skin, but Victorine said the group found pork chops instead of tongue inside a meat order, and used it instead.
   The Victorines’ grandchildren were involved in many aspects of the dinner, from preparing the sausage to serving the food to dancing the Beseda, the Czech national dance.
   A chance to dance
   Bringing together generations of tradition, the Beseda has been a part of Linea Victorine’s upbringing and she performs it two to three times a year.
   “It was brought over from Czechoslovakia by the settlers and it has been passed down through the generations,” she said. “It’s a story about the forming of Czechoslovakia.”
   Different parts of the dance symbolize Czechoslovakian history, including the Soviet invasion and later independence, she said.
   Linea Victorine recruited her fiancé, Daniel Johnson, to help keep the tradition alive. Since he’s lived in Malin his whole life, Johnson said, the dance was familiar.
   “When I was about 5 or 6, I did the dance myself,” he said.
   Malin’s history
   The history of Malin’s heritage is important to pass along, Joe Victorine said. The settling of the area was hard, and the traditions and stories are familiar to the Victorine clan.
   “My grandfather was one of the original 66 Czechs that came over in 1909 and settled this land,” Joe Victorine said. “They never had any realization of the hardship and such they were going to get into.”
   The settlers fought to work the land and control wildlife.
   “The Czechs loved their new country and their new lives, but they also wanted to remember their heritage and where they came from,” Joe Victorine said. “They passed that knowledge on. The older ones taught the younger ones.”
   The Beseda dance is an example of that passing of knowledge and tradition, he said.

H&N photo by Jill Aho. The Beseda, the Czech national dance, celebrates history and tradition. The dance has been passed down through generations of Malin families, and was performed at Sunday’s Jaternice dinner at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds.
Traditional Czech beer

   Rod Kucera, head brewer at Mias and Pias Pizzeria in Klamath Falls, joined the jaternice tradition by supplying a Czechstyle brew. A member of the Czech lodge, Kucera donates the beer to the Jaternice dinner each year.
   “What makes the beer a Czechoslovakian-style beer is the style of malt we use in it and also the style of hops we use in it,” he said.
   Kucera carefully chooses the ingredients, and even tweaks the water to mimic the mineral content of that region.
   “It’s been a big hit,” he said. “It is one lager that we always try to keep on tap because of the local heritage and the Malin community celebrating its 100th birthday.”


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