Greetings from Hungary
On Friday night in our Around the World in 80 Days trip we landed in Budapest. We learned that Buda and Pest were two cities that grew on opposite sides of the Danube River, and merged into the capital of Hungary. Our first thought – let’s eat! (Food does seem to play a rather large part in our interest to travel the world in our imaginations.) We crossed the Danube (as represented by its “stand in” the Bow River) and found Jonas Hungarian Restaurant at the south end of downtown Calgary.
I had signed out The Hungarian Cookbook by Susan Derecksey from the library, and so we knew the names of the main dishes, and how many of them include the spice paprika. We ordered the small plates of a whole bunch of dishes and dug in. There was Hungarian goulash (naturally), a delicious cabbage slaw, pork schnitzel, cabbage on noodles, chicken paprikash, beef stew with egg drop noodles, and deep fried cheese. The food is rich and tasty, and we decided the Hungarians gave the French a run for their money for creamy sauces. To finish off, there was a crepe with chocolate and ground walnut sauce and a delightful pear aperitif. By finish off, I mean a happy, waistband unbuttoning push away from the table for a restorative stroll along the Danube.
The Hungarian Cookbook was printed in 1972. We looked up the recipes when we got home, I mean back to our hotel. It was interesting to look at a 40 year old cookbook, with its small type, and lack of concern for design or photos. There was a card catalogue glued in the front, and a donation plate for the mother of someone I knew. It was like a little window back in time.
Rick Steves is an amiable traveler host, so we watched him stroll through Hungary in a travel DVD Eastern Europe 2000-2012. Many of the sites in Budapest were built during its 1000 year anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars in 1896. Then we finished our visit to Budapest by listening to some classical music. Hungarian composers are as plentiful as paprika. The library has lots of CDs by Bela Bartok, Franz Liszt, and Zoltan Kodaly.
Today we’re heading down the Danube south to the Mediterranean Sea and across to Egypt. It’s time to put a hold on the classic Agatha Christie DVD Death on the Nile.