Bessie Hooker grinding poppy seeds, Hillsboro, Wisconsin, 1945.
Naval hero Marc Mitscher’s visit to his hometown of Hillsboro—another Wisconsin community with a substantial Czech population—made the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal on July 12, 1945. The caption that accompanied this photograph by Arthur M. Vinje read:
With all Hillsboro striving to honor Vice-Admiral Marc A. Mitscher today, Bessie Hooker, maid in the Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Hart home, baked him a poppy seed kolache, a favorite Bohemian dish for which she is famous. The dish looks like pie and raises like bread, and ground poppy seed is what gives it its distinctive flavor. It was to be a surprise for the admiral, who was lucky that Mrs. Hart happened to have some hard-to-get poppy seed in the house.
via: Wisconsin Historical Images WHi-43133, Wisconsin Historical Society
This recipe for kolache published in the Milwaukee Journal in 1962 offers three options for filling: prune, apricot, or poppy seed.
via: Historic Recipe File, Milwaukee Public Library