The trials and travails of a Fulbright Fellow in Debrecen, Hungary
Monday, February 8, 2010
I love the fact that I live five minutes away from the biggest fresh market in town. It runs every morning, and I see fruits and vegetables I cannot even name in English, let alone Hungarian. I now have the reverse problem: there are several fruits and vegetables I can name in Hungarian, but not English. I buy milk that was taken from the cow that morning, and I have to boil it before I can drink it (mmm pasteurization). The colors of all the produce are amazing... and it is all grown locally, as there isn't enough money to import anything (the one exception: oranges at Christmas time are a very important tradition, and I just bought some of the first batch this morning). I love going there, as the old women who man the stalls call out to me, "Drágám! Szivem! Tessék!" (My dear, my sweet, how can I help you?). There are a few produce consolidators, but most vendors are the widowed grandmothers of the farmers, dressed in all black with headscarves. They get dropped off at 5:30 am from the village and sell until 1 pm, when their sons and grandsons come back to pick them up and whatever produce wasn't sold. I've made lots of fun things (lots of Hungarian recipes too): this morning I made a meringue pavlova from fresh egg whites, butternut squash ravioli by hand (including making and rolling my own pasta from scratch!) in a browned butter sauce, quince tarte tatin, tons of roast vegetables with garlic,...the list goes on.
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