Archive for November, 2007

Hungarian Thanksgiving

Yesterday was, of course, Thanksgiving. I’m not the biggest Thanksgiving fan–I lived in Canada until I was 10, so I didn’t celebrate it until sometime after that and I’ve always felt pretty disconnected from the holiday. I never made hand turkeys, I don’t actually eat turkey or very much like many traditional Thanksgiving foods, and I never had to be in any silly, politically incorrect Thanksgiving plays.

Still, my family developed some nice traditions around it–namely, going to our friends’ house and having a nice dinner, avoiding Black Friday specials at just about all costs and having a relaxing weekend. I’ve been known to skip out on Thanksgiving some years–take it as an opportunity to go to snowboarding or get away a little–but this is the first year in a long time that I was in a foreign country for Thanksgiving.

I spent most of the day working on my website. I talked to my parents and sisters, who are all together in Mammoth for the weekend. Evan and I made a late dinner–salad, gnocchi with pesto, and peas. And we finished watching season 3 of The Office. We’ll have to find something new to watch now.

All in all, not a bad day. It was actually a pretty good one. It just didn’t feel like Thanksgiving.

So for my own personal celebration a day late, I watched my favorite Thanksgiving-themed movie moment–the Thanksgiving pageant in Addams Family Values. (Enjoy, Suze and Mich and everyone else who grew up with this awesome movie.)

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Also, strangely enough, of all the people Evan works with, the only one who went to a Thanksgiving dinner was a Hungarian.

The Comment That Made My Day

If you’ve been following the blog from the beginning, you know that I started this trip on a British Airways flight sitting next to a Romanian film distributor and an Italian porn star (totally unrelated). Anyway, Cristina, the film distributor and I have emailed a few times, and today she finally read the post about my trip over here–and commented! Check it out.

Near Success: Only 1 Veggie Confiscated at Checkout

Last week, on a trip to the Match supermarket in the West End mall, I had a bit of a problem at the checkout–I didn’t realize I needed to weigh some of my vegetables and get a sticker before I tried to pay. Silly American–I thought they did that at checkout! Anyway, I had a cauliflower, a zucchini and a few other things confiscated because of it. Thankfully, the other vegetables I bought–broccoli, kohlrabi and avocados were fixed-price and not a problem to buy.

Today, I was determined to get it right–I tried to read the chalked signs and figure out if the price was by weight, which was surprisingly difficult in some cases. I checked the scale to see which fruit and vegetable pictures it displayed. I went back to the ones I wanted to buy to check the Hungarian names. I weighed my tomatoes and got a sticker. I didn’t even think about the cucumber! I’m just used to buying those plastic-wrapped English cucumbers at a fixed price. Stupid American again! Of course, I didn’t realize until it was too late, so I surrendered it to the check-out woman.

At least my track record is improving.

Dobos Torta is Delicious

Yesterday, Evan and I started off the day with brunch at Lukács Cukrászda–a famous bakery and coffee shop that shares its space with a bank. The food is on the expensive side, but their coffees and cakes are almost uniformly delicious. The meals, however, seem to be an afterthought.

The entrance is peculiar–you really do feel like you’re heading in to a bank instead of a coffee shop, but you’ll see a large pastry case to your right, and if you’re eating in, you’ll be directed up a short flight of stairs to an oversized and elegant white, cream and silver dining room with crystal chandeliers, marble-topped tables, large windows and mirrors and ample chairs and love seats.

The highlight of our meal yesterday was the dobos torta–a traditional Hungarian dessert I was essentially ordered to have before I came on this trip (Bryna was aghast that on my previous trips I hadn’t tried it). It had many layers of white cake and chocolate, and it was topped off with a triangle of cookie and caramelized sugar. I ate it with a very foamy and hear-topped cappuccino. Yum!

Iced Tea and the Makeshift Funnel

We’ve been wanting to make some iced tea for quite a while now, since all the store-bought iced teas are sweetened, but we’ve had some limitations:

  1. The only tea we had in tea bags was chamomile–the others were loose leaf, but we had no strainer.
  2. We have no pitcher.
  3. Our fridge doesn’t have a shelf tall enough to hold a pitcher, even if we had one.
  4. We have no ice to make it in a glass (our freezer is miniscule–think smaller than a bread box).

Today, though, I thought, what about putting it in a water bottle? That would eliminate the pitcher and ice problems.

Here’s what happened:

  1. We boiled water in our electric kettle, but figured it would be too hot to put directly into the plastic water bottle, so we decided to steep the tea in a bowl (the kettle has an electric coil in it and we had nothing else as big, except for a pot).
  2. We used our loose leaf green tea, so after it was steeped we had to strain it through a colander into a pot–the only other thing in our kitchen big enough to hold it.
  3. We were stumped as to how to get it from the pot into the bottle because we had no funnel or anything with a spout to pour with. We tried a ladle, but we couldn’t get much in the bottle that way. We tried a glass and had more spillage problems. Then I thought, we can make a funnel with a bag! So we cut a hole in the bottom, stuffed it in the top of the bottle and ladled away. Check out the picture, below.

  Iced Tea and the Makeshift Funnel

Now it’s cooling in the fridge. Hopefully it was worth the effort. Ah, cooking in a small, understocked kitchen…

New Hitched Article: Spoiled Rotten

Check out my latest Hitched article:

Spoiled Rotten
Think your spouse has spoiled your children too much? Here’s how to get back on the same page and deprogram the brattiness.

“Dad, can I get this?” asks your little one, holding up a toy on what was supposed to be a quick trip to Target for toilet paper. You say no—she doesn’t need one more toy that she’ll forget about in two days and then have it clutter up her room. But she starts whining. And even worse, she says, “But Mom would get it for me.” Now, before you go into a blind rage—at both your spouse (assuming your child’s statement is true) and your child—or just give in and buy the item, think about how and why your child expects and even demands unnecessary items from you and why your spouse is so willing to give in. …go to Hitched to read more

The Spike Look

The Spike Look