porva, hungary

After our lagzi, when we had hand-washed all of the dishes, eaten the last of the goulash, simmered the remaining sour cherries and said our goodbyes, we prepared to close up the house for the summer. Just before we left, I went to pull the plug on the refrigerator, but realized there was still some fagyi {ice cream} left in the freezer.

“We should empty this, save energy while we’re gone,” I said.

But András, knowing his parents would be coming and going as guardians of the house while we were away, convinced me to leave it running.

A few months later, I headed back to Hungary to begin working on my citizenship, and check in on the house. After a day’s work in the yard, planting cherry trees and trimming the windows in paint, I headed into the kitchen for a snack. I opened the freezer door, hoping to find some leftover fagyi, but found instead a dozen little frozen, pale pink packets in a shape I couldn’t quite make out. I reached in, and my hand made a quick recognition of a little backbone. Mon Dieu, the csirke! I shut the freezer, swallowed hard and forced a smiled at András mother who was looking on; then returned to the yard where the csirke once roamed to find pulyka {turkey} prancing in their place.

Such is farm life.


Scott said...

The beauty of knowing from where your food comes sometimes tugs a bit at the heartstrings. It should work that way. I have little respect for those who "don't want to know", but consume blindly.

Sounds like a great trip!

sarah said...

Scott, thank you for your comment, and for opening up that part of the conversation! I couldn't agree more. At the time of this story, I was grateful both that I wasn't there for the killing of the animals, nor the eating of them, since in all my visits it somehow never occurred to me that we might. Though I realize this is a hobbyist farmer mentality. Real farmers, like my grandparents, like Andras' family, know both the pain and pleasure of living off the land. They take a life for a meal, but they do so with ultimate respect. We city folk do our best— we buy meat direct from the farmer (as I do) or abstain from eating meat altogether (as my husband does), but there is nothing in the world like meeting your meal in its living form to change thought or habit.

Scott said...

I always say that I respect vegetarians a lot more than "tenderloin-atarians" who make icky sound at the thought of consuming the other 550 Lbs. or so of a steer. Ii think that as a nation we are geting a bit better. Thanks for replying!

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.