Emilia Popa | Coșteiu de Sus

Emilia Popa is a Slovak from Coșteiu de Sus, coming from Bihor. She is originally from Vucova, one of the villages where Slovaks moved to settle more than a century ago. They came with their families, carrying several suitcases with their most precious belongings. Memories of home and their way of being. Hardworking and industrious. They worked hard, bought homes, and prospered.

Even today, the most important holiday for Slovaks is Sundays, when their children come for a meal after a week’s work. Their parents cook for them and they all sit down to eat together. Alongside the meat, they place a potato dish, potato soup, potato bread, and potato cake. Slovaks love potatoes.

It’s also the ingredient of their industriousness and enterprising way of being. They get on well with their neighbors, with the Romanians, and with the Slovaks, from whom they learned, among other things, to bake bread. And their hard work can be seen in the generosity with which they welcome their guests. Emilia’s mother, like herself, cooked for anyone who came to her door, and never let them go hungry, even if it meant giving them the last scrap of food. It’s the Slovak way of lending a helping hand, of befriending strangers, of befriending others, whoever they may be, because, in their words, “no matter what ethnicity and nation we are, let’s hold hands and not forget that we are human and together we can go far.”