Sunday, January 18, 2009

Country Challenge: Hungary

For this week's Country Challenge, I chose Hungary. I've been craving Pierogies, and my Great-Grandma made the best! She was part Hungarian (we have some Hungarian Gypsy in my family tree!) and she always made them for us when we visited her... so rather than just make pierogies one night, I decided to do a whole week of Hungarian food.

Hungary is a landlocked country in Europe, and has been invaded many times. As many armies swept thru the country, they left their culinary influences. The two that left the most impact were the Magyars and the Turks.

The Magyars gave Hungary it's traditional Goulash as well as the cooking vessel called a bogracs, a copper kettle that is suspended over an open fire.

Hungary is most commonly known for Paprika. No one can narrow down to exactly when or where it came from, but it appeared in the 1500's during the Turkish occupation. It was only used by low class, but eventually began to creep into Noble dishes, and even won Hungarian professor Albert Szent-Gyogyi a Nobel Prize for discovering it was the world's richest source of Vitamin C!

Strudel and Coffee are Hungarian staples that were also introduced during the Turkish occupance.

Today, Hungarian meals tend to be lighter, however the traditional dishes, as you will see this week, are all stews and soups with common ingredients!

Recipes this week and information in text are from:

Cooking the Hungarian Way, Magdolina Hargittai.
Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis: 1986.

Gundel’s Hungarian Cookbook, Corvina Kiado
Egyetemi Printing House, Budapest: 1956.

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