It is here. It is exactly one year since we had the crazy idea to eliminate our free time and start this blog. Yes, I remember very fondly the time when we were playing with templates and arguing over what are we going to publish on our blog. Our mission was and still is to introduce Central European food to the rest of the world. We try to recreate Hungarian, Slovak, and Czech recipes in an American environment (more so now that we live in California). Our mission was very successful last year, because we reached hearts, minds, and stomachs of expats, a few second-generation immigrants and people who spent some time in Central Europe and miss the awesome food. Our mission for the next year will be to introduce this food to the uninitiated: people who have never experienced Central European food. We have some strategies in mind. No, kidnapping people and force feeding them is NOT one of them. But cooking for school picnics might be.
Since we started this blog I had the chance to meet amazing people with amazing stories and recipes of their own. They should start a blog! It is not that hard to do. And in the next year, I am going to show you how. I am planning to put together a few posts on how to start a blog and how to do basic photography and maybe video. I hope I can motivate you to start your own empire.
Street food is the soul of the nation. It is true all over the world, except the USA. In Fort Mason, overlooking the San Francisco Bay, national identification merges with the scenery.
Let me back up a little bit. It is 2006 and I am visiting California. My in-laws respect my obsession with food and they love to show me fancy eateries. And I reciprocate, since I love to try them. It may have been a bit shocking for them when they asked me about my favorite restaurant during my 2006 stay and I told them it was a taco truck. Yes. The taco truck, which feeds workers in Napa. I remember very fondly visiting John, his vineyard, talking to the ripening grapes, uncovering the “sun blocking leaves”, and hoping to learn something about viticulture that could make my grapes in Slovakia the same as John’s in California. While the last will never happen, I do have happy memories of a taco truck, where I had my first encounter with pulled pork, as Anthony Bourdain would say a “noble beast”. And that memory stayed with me until last Friday.
Learning about a food-pornographic, decadent and morally filthy activity known as a “meeting of taco/food/catering trucks” was a revalation for me and I canceled all my job interviews. Jump in the car, let’s go! I have to admit, part of me was scared. I have such a fond memory of that first taco truck. What if these guys will ruin it? Well, see the result for yourself.
With our respective families 6000 miles apart, one thing Valerian and I have done together a lot is travel. And with two kids added to the mix now, we arm ourselves seriously when we head out to the airport: books, toys, changes of clothes, and of course, snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. When your kids start to get squirrely, sometimes a treat that would normally be off-limits is just what you need to get through the last hours of a 14-hour flight.
Once a year every town and village has its fair. In the town they are called “vásár” and villages have “búcsú”. Fairs were always a big part of the social life. If I have to use modern terminology then I would call it “social networking on a high level”. That was the time when the most important news were announced, the best gossip shared and the most vital items bought. Unfortunately socialism killed the vásár spirit and turned it into a big drunken party with boring rides for the kids. The situation after the Velvet Revolution did change, but not for better. The rides and beer stands were supplemented with cheap clothing stalls and companies presenting miracle knives, peelers and waxes. People want more, and things are changing again, for better this time. Fairs start to look like the ones my grandfather described, with stands offering honey-cake hearts, pottery, kitchen supplies, traditional food, candies, crazy guys selling charms and “flea circuses”. Many things are modernized, like never-ending stands with gummy sweets, but these things keep the Central European fair spirit alive.