Home-Cooked

Just a couple days ago while going to my bus after class, I passed a neatly-dressed older woman on the street. As I was walking towards her, she stopped suddenly. Then she stepped over to a windowsill on which a large slice of bread sat. She picked it up, turned it over in her hands, considered it thoroughly, and put it back down. I honestly thought she was going to eat it. Now, I won’t say that I have high standards—I don’t—but I personally have not extended the five-second rule to mysterious bread slices on Bethlen Gábor utca left out for an indeterminate amount of time. As we passed, I think I was watching her with a dumbfounded expression because I tripped on the sidewalk and she gave me a what’s-wrong-with-you? look.

While I am still confused by the whole situation, I definitely am glad that she made the choice that she did. Some things are better left to the pigeons.

I think that my parents will be happy to hear that my standards are still firmly above the bread-off-the-street level. In fact, I’m proud to report that we’ve had some great homemade meals this semester. I know that restaurant food generally gets the attention during study abroad, but I wanted to highlight the fun of cooking and eating for oneself in Budapest.

Shopping

Getting ingredients to cook here can be a lot of fun. There are grocery stores on nearly every block in central Pest, so it’s easy to find a small neighborhood Spar, Tesco, or Aldi to walk to. Even better, however, are the markets around the city. Vendors set up shop inside large wrought iron structures to sell everything from produce and bread to meat and spices. These were the places where I really had to practice my Hungarian–certainly no one spoke English!

Something to keep in mind: the key to food shopping in Hungary is to arrive early. The markets and grocery stores generally open at 6am, and most don’t replenish their stocks by the end of the day. While I could never wake up quite that early to get my bananas and cauliflower, it is good to remember that the early bird does indeed get the worm.

Shopping at the Rákoczi market

Potlucks

Our friend group has had several potlucks over the course of the semester. I think that our final one will actually be happening tomorrow–brunch, as it turns out! It’s been a great way to stay in regular contact with everyone from my language course at the beginning of the semester.

Featured here: Indian curry and chicken, rice, soup, and a peanut noodle salad.

Memorable Meals

In no particular order, some memorable foods I have made or people have made for me.

The largest single meal that I made–other than sesame chicken for a potluck–was an egg bake. Want to guess how many eggs?

26. 26 eggs. I definitely recommend egg bakes for high quantity food production.

One of Alex’s gourmet mushroom cheeseburgers.

 

Sometimes we make mistakes as we cook. What I thought was a wrapped package of ground beef turned out to be baloney. C’est la vie, it still made for good pasta.

 

And see? The next time I was able to identify the ground beef. Remember, study abroad is about challenge and growth!

 

The homemade alfredo pasta that I could never achieve, by master chef Sina

Homemade Japanese curry and panko chicken with miso soup by Andy and Vincent, also something that I could never make.

When we have no toaster, we sometimes also make mistakes while trying to make toast with an oven…

…and sometimes we make those mistakes more than once. Challenge and growth, people, challenge and growth!

 

Needless to say, this has been an exciting semester for food. I’m guessing that you’ve seen enough food reading these posts to make you hungry–I have–so let’s go have lunch, shall we?

This will be the last week of my blog, but I anticipate writing on a couple more topics. I am planning on writing two shorter posts intended to (1) help students considering BSM determine whether the program is right for them and to (2) give some recommendations to future BSM students on how to prepare for and be successful in the BSM program. This may be relevant to current readership, but is intended for underclass college students. But in addition, I’ll be writing a culminating post at the end of the week. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Nathaniel

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