HOMEMADE AMARETTO LIQUEUR
This is a lovely almond flavoured drink with a slightly bitter taste. Recipe is by Margaret Garfield from “Garfield’s Party Time Favorites”. Amaretto extract and smoothy crystals can be purchased at any wine supply store.
2 Tbsp Amaretto extract
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tsp smoothy crystals
• Combine extract, sugar and crystals in blender.
• Add the vodka to the 32 oz or 1 L mark [4 cups] on blender.
• Blend at low speed until sugar and crystals are dissolved.
• Improves with age.
The Easter Monday Story:
Liquoring the Easter Monday sprinkling-visitors was probably the only time I saw an array of liqueurs while growing up. My parents didn’t drink; they neither had the time nor the inclination. So before Easter the annual 2 litres of barack pálinka that my other grandma cooked up for us was turned into a variety of liqueurs, using chocolate, coffee, walnut and orange essences. I snuck a few swigs from it when nobody was looking and my two absolute favourites were the coffee and the walnut flavoured liqueurs. My husband cooks up the stuff now, but he uses vodka for the base. Darn it all, for my old age I developed an alcohol allergy. I am not exactly sure what kind of booze I am not allergic to, but the prospect of going into an anaphylactic shock stops me from experimenting. However, I am happy to say I can liberally cook and bake with booze and I love the flavour booze gives to my cooking.
Speaking of Easter Monday sprinkling… I was aghast to learn that the old barbaric custom of men dumping bucketfuls of cold water on young women on Easter Monday is making a comeback in rural and not so rural Hungary; perhaps it never left from some parts. The idea is that girls must be dunked, sprinkled or they will wilt. So on Easter Monday Hungarian women and girls wait for the men and boys with decorated eggs, baking, and liqueur and sometimes with money gifts in exchange for the dunking service.
Growing up in the busiest section of Budapest, [hetedik kerület] I was never subjected to these humiliations. I don’t think that was because city girls were held in higher esteem, it’s just that apartment dwelling is not conducive for throwing buckets of water around. So I grew up with getting sprinkled with cheap cologne instead. Now that was plenty humiliating for me so I cannot wrap my head around the idea why would a 21st century young woman allow men to soak her with ice cold water on a chilly spring day in the name of tradition! This custom is nothing more then the re-enactment of a fertility rite, but in the past couple of years the Hungarian propaganda machine has morphed it into a religious custom; something to do with baptism and the resurrection of Jesus. When all else fails give some outrageous pagan custom a Christian purpose, involve the nationalistic pride and all of a sudden what once was passé becomes a sacred duty to uphold. I am truly amazed at the gullibility of people. Mark my word, the cheap cologne in the not too distant future will be replaced with holy water.
I cannot tell you how I hated Easter Mondays. I resented the imposition of the neighbor boys coming to sprinkle my hair for money and sometimes taking a swig of liqueur when I was fully aware of the fact that the same guys would never acknowledge me if they passed me on the street. By the end of the day I had a headache from the mixture of cheap colognes and when I no longer could stand it, we stopped answering the door, cutting off all stragglers, who would be drunk by then anyway and we washed the junk out of my long red hair. When I turned twelve I got a haircut and hooked up with an older cousin and her friend and started the tradition of spending Easter Mondays walking the belváros [downtown] and sunning on the steps by the river. Now these… were fun times. As for the rest, the Hungarikum can have it all.
I will never forget my first Easter Monday in Canada and the realization that no sprinkler will call. I felt a sense of loss for a brief moment and then we bundled up our brand new baby daughter and the three of us went for a walk.
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