The iconic roasted piglet, the laughing chimney sweep and the bubbly champagne existed only on greeting cards. The New Year’s Eve celebrations of my youth took place in Zugló at my relatives’ home party. Fireworks and street parties were not known during the communist era; those types of festivities are recent developments. Food was always central in Hungarian celebrations and New Year’s Eve was no different. The party started at 8:00 PM with the TV Szilveszter Kabaré.

Vidékiek Budapesten - kabaré

Shortly thereafter, the aunts brought in a tray of piping hot töpörtyűs pogácsa.

Around 11:PM we ate frankfurters with bread, horseradish and mustard.

After the countdown, the National Anthem played. 
 We kissed and that is when the grownups shed a few tears.

We drank bólé and danced to the wee hours of the morning.

At dawn, we walked down to the Erzsébet Királyné and Fűrész Utca corner, 
  got on the first streetcar of the New Year singing and laughing all the way home.

On New Year’s Day we ate cabbage rolls, pork jelly or lentil soup. Lentil and pork was essential to bring health, wealth and good luck for the New Year. My food list is both typical and personal. People partaking in large, posh parties would have a very different list of foods with caviar crepes, suckling pig and drunkard soup. A cold wave is coming down from the North and drunkard soup is in my plans to make. As for the rest... I shall leave those to the imagination.


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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!