Thursday, July 29, 2004

Rain and food

It’s raining cats and dogs here. Today and yesterday, it’s been raining kittens and puppies, to be precise. A constant dripping stream. The day before yesterday, however, it rained panthers and wolfhounds all day, filling the gutters and making me very sleepy and very hungry.

I’m beginning to resemble an overinflated beach ball. Two plus weeks of rich, earthy Hungarian food have taken their toll. Mutton stew, venison stew, fried chicken, roast chicken, grilled steak, grilled ribs, salads made from mayonnaise and corn, salads made from mayonnaise and cabbage, salads made from mayonnaise and green beans, pastries, deep-fried dough, sausages, salamis, pork cracklings, goose cracklings, goose liver, meatless bacon grilled over an open fire dripped onto bread, sausage flavored potato chips, cheeses, sour cream – and that’s all just for breakfast.

You go to someone’s house for dinner or for lunch and there is never just one kind of meat. No, there has to be at the very least two kinds, or else that’s a poor offering. And at least three different ‘salads’, if mayonnaise laden dishes can be considered salads. The Hungarians even have a ‘hot dog salad’ (no joke) which consists of mayonnaise, hot dog slices and onions. There also has to be enough of each type of food on the table that everyone there can have at least seconds. It’s also impolite to refuse too much, so you find yourself eating ludicrous quantities of food. It’s like being at an all-you-can-eat buffet and being told that you have to eat it all.

Today we’re making deep-fried dough. I just finished my breakfast of leftover sour cream-cheese-ground pork-noodle casserole with some chocolate pastry as a starter. In a couple of hours, it will be time for deep-fried dough with garlic and/or sour cream and cheese on top. Then, we’re going to make a noodle dish for dinner, consisting of layers of poppy-seed filling, walnut filling, jam, cottage cheese and sour cream and sugar and whipped cream interspersed between layers of noodles. That’s just a light supper. Probably during the day I will eat some salami – a bite here and a bite there, or maybe a slice of fresh bread from the bakery with ground-up pork cracklings which is sold in the form of a crunchy spread, reminiscent of peanut butter, but oh so unhealthy.

I still haven’t figured out whether it would be good for an anorexic person to come to Hungary for treatment or bad. Part of me thinks that the Hungarian ability to concentrate calories into small-seeming items (known here as ‘calorie-bombs’) would make an anorexic gain weight. On the other hand, the girls here seem to have adopted the heroin chic look for their trend and all look like they’ve been starved for years. It must be part of the Hungarian depressive nature – they’re clearly gluttons for punishment if they can bypass all of the amazing food.


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