Hungary. Not “I’m hungry” (that’s what I thought when I was little…who didn’t?), but the country of Hungary, or as the Hungarians call it Magyarország.
I personally don’t often hear of this country as being a common tourist destination. But let me tell you, it’s worth the money to check it out. It is absolutely gorgeous.
The picturesque landscape is full of lakes, mountains, rolling hills, golden fields, and dark forests. Dotting the hillsides, you will see ornate churches and quaint houses. The Danube’s bank nestle against the country’s capital, Budapest. In this large city, you will find McDonald’s and the ancient aqueducts from the Roman Empire.
The signature food of Hungary is Gulyás (gou-yash). It’s a mix between soup and stew. It’s full of vegetables (potatoes/carrots/onions) and chunks of meat, not to mention the most popular spice in Hungary, paprika. It is usually served with slices of hot peppers. Note to self, do not touch face after cutting slices of pepper for the soup. It burns. Sometimes it is cooked outside in an open vat, which makes the meal even more tantalizing. Delicious? You bet.
Another traditional Hungarian dish is cabbage and pasta. I regret to say the only healthy thing to found in the dish is the cabbage…I think the rest will just help clog your arteries. That’s probably why it taste so good. Here’s the recipe (well, the Americanized version of it…still tastes very much like the stuff I had when I was over there):
5 slices bacon, diced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
6 cups chopped cabbage (1-inch squares)
3 cups cooked noodles (4 oz. uncooked)
1 cup sour cream
Saute bacon until crisp in large frying pan. Remove bacon and set aside. Stir sugar and salt into bacon drippings. Add cabbage, stirring until cabbage is coated with bacon drippings.
Cover and cook 7 to 10 minutes. Add cooked noodles and bacon, stirring to blend. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spoon into a 2-quart baking casserole; cover tightly and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Spread sour cream over top of casserole; sprinkle with paprika and return to oven for 5 minutes more.
(Note: Usually I drain some of the bacon drippings, so I don’t have to serve all that fat)
Okay, I’m done with the food. It’s starting to make me hungry.
The city/town of Szentendre is full of quaint cobblestone streets lined with little shops. There is a certain spot in the town where you can overlook all the red tile roofs. Very old world and very memorable.
Have you ever wanted to push a pause button on life and let time stand still? The little, rural village of Hollókő is just that. Developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, Hollókő has kept to itself over the period of time.
Here all of the buildings are whitewashed, be it a home or a shop. And this is where I say, “Make sure there is a sign outside of the building before entering.” You may be barging into someone’s home. And that would be kind of embarrassing.
Hollókő also has this amazing castle. It’s been dated back to sometime in the 1300’s. Climbing up inside of it and looking out over the hills to the edge of the dense forest will bring your imagination to life. Let it go wild…you’ll be able to see the enemy armies lurking behind the dark trees, or troops descending the mountains off in the distance.