Isn’t it funny the things that trigger a memory? Perhaps a song on the radio, mention of a place or the way a stranger walks.
My mum was an adventurous cook (no mean feat for an Irish woman in the 60s, 70s and 80s). We ate well in our house – spaghetti, curry and fried rice; dishes many of our friends had never heard of.
My favorite was a dish she called Hungarian Goulash. Not quite sure where the Hungarian part came in;.the recipe is unlike any I have found in any true Hungarian recipe books or online. But I digress; she made that meal for me on special occasions – home-comings, birthdays, graduations and sometimes just because she loved me.
I have been on a very restricted diet recently, courtesy of my doctor, as a way to defeat rheumatoid arthritis and most of my meals have been bland and uninspiring. That’s what happens when you can’t have any garlic, potatoes, rice or tea, and other foods only once every four days. Yup, a royal pain and I have missed cooking and eating my favorites.
Today the stars aligned; I am now able to eat potatoes again and am re-introducing rice. It also happens to be beef and nightshade’s day. It would be impossible to fully express my anticipation of this day over the last four months.
Today, I cook goulash. I cut the onions, the meat and brown them together…nothing. I open the cans of tomatoes…nothing. Then, I sprinkle in the seasonings and that’s the moment. The moment when all the delicious memories come flooding back in, directly through my nose, straight to my heart.
We will sit around the table this evening, we will laugh and tease and we will eat and remember.
I am sure you have plenty of wonderful meals you prepare for your family but I could not resist sharing a piece of my heart.
My Mum’s Hungarian Goulash:
1-1.5lbs stewing beef, in chunks 1 large onion, chopped
Brown together in a large pot 5-10 minutes.
1 large tin chopped tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon carraway seeds
Add tomatoes and seasonings to the pot and allow to simmer, covered 1 hour.
1lb potatoes, cut in chunks 1 teaspoon salt
Add potatoes and salt to the pot and allow to simmer until potatoes are cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve over rice with a large dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream on top.
Now I am off to set the table for dinner; does life get any better than this?