Walking uphill is worse than down, carrying a big package makes it much, much worse, leaning forward to move up the steep incline… well, it was just too much. I picked a bit from the very corner of the loaf. It was one of those normal squarish sandwich white loaves with crust brown corners. It was a long hard climb, and I was getting hungry and that little bit didn’t help much, so I tore off some more, keeping the hole small.
After the iron curtain was lifted, and travel was allowed, my parents took me back to Hungary. They wanted to reunite me with my family, and with my birthplace, before too much time had elapsed.
As the airplane neared the ground, I saw the red tiled village rooftops, so many blocks of planted fruits and vegetables, white spots of geese, sunflower fields, paprika fields, so many patches of beautiful colors. A mad quilt of many shades and hues.
I suffer from this curious malady. It’s an obsession of sorts. I love dishes, plates, table settings, basically anything made to serve food and beverages, or that which goes onto a table to make it beautiful. I don’t know why this is. All I know, is that when I got engaged, the chore of choosing china and daily service was the only part of the pre-wedding rituals I liked and felt mattered.
Let me set the table. Putting the plates on the table for dinner was one of my jobs, almost on a daily basis, so also, was drying the dishes after my mother washed them, handing them to me to wipe off.
This is a basic soup my family has made for decades. It’s very paprika forward. Very Hungarian.
It’s simple, nutritious and deceptively full of flavor, in spite of the few humble ingredients.
The key is to add each element at the right time and in the right way. If not, you’ll have a very insipid or bitter soup.
This base vegetable soup lends itself to many variations, all completely delicious.
A tökéletes fehérkenyér / The perfect white bread How miraculously I managed to make perfect white bread after translating impossible HUngarian For the Sponge1 1/8 cup water1 3/4 cup bread flour4 tsp dry yeast1 tbs cooking oil (wesson light flavorless) Mixed the sponge in small bowl, and covered with plastic. It rose faster than I…
The bakery wasn’t that far away, just all the way down the hill and only a quarter of the way through town. I was quite mature now, (almost 6) so I was sent to fetch our loaf of bread. With this loaf of bread, my mother made my father’s work sandwiches, and when it got…
My father’s family lived in a small village southeast of the city, an area known primarily for paprika growing. It’s where I began also, until my birth which took us to Budapest for the big event, then back to Szabadszallas. During the Hungarian uprising after World War two, my father made the decision to leave…