|Chilled Sour Cherry Soup|
Last night a group met at my house to discuss Magda Szabo's novel The Door and eat Hungarian food prepared by my old friend Erika. I think we all agreed that the book was wonderful and the meal outstanding. The novel is about the complicated relationship between a peasant woman and an intellectual writer, taking place in the sixties in communist Hungary. Erika, a native Hungarian, informed us of the novel's distinct "Hungarian-ness," but each of us found something to relate to whether it was female friendship, the role of caretaker and receiver, the complexities of mother/daughter relationships and even that of writing and material. The book was written in the 1980s and only recently translated into English, but The New York Times included it on their list of the Ten Best Books of 2015. It's a short book, but I think most of us at Books & Bakes would recommend it.
Now, the menu. Good Lord, ya'll. Not only is Erika a beautiful writer, a Caretaker Extraordinaire of a beautiful little girl with severe disabilities, but damn. She can also cook. I milled around the kitchen a bit before acquiescing entirely to her skill and concentration preparing authentic Hungarian dishes. I won't divulge that the night before I had attempted to make a traditional Hungarian pastry that I had to throw in the garbage and left me in tears. I thought I'd lost my touch, but Erika assured me that the recipe I was using was at fault. Perhaps that's true, but I think that I have too many proverbial frying pans on the fire and have just lost my mind. I guess I just divulged that.
Here's the menu:
Mulled Wine forralt bor
Cheese Biscuits Pogacsa
Chilled Sour Cherry Soup Meggyleves
Meat-filled Crepes Hortobagyi husos palacsinta
Chicken Paprikash Paprikas csirke
Mushroom Paprikash Gombaporkolt
Hungarian Cucumber Salad Uborkasalata
Assorted Traditional Hungarian Pastries