Posts Tagged ‘Ingredients’

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My Dad was Hungarian and a very good cook. I think he even had his own Hungarian restaurant once.

Mom, on the other hand, was known far and wide for her burnt porkchops and except for a few tried and true ultra-simplistic recipes, she was not considered an inspiring cook.

Maybe it is true that opposites attract.

But Mom’s brave attempts at gourmet cooking caused Dad to make a teasing proclamation he repeated often at the family dinner table. It was an anonymous quote guaranteed to make Mom angry when she had done the cooking.

And the impact of those words echo in my memory and remain a constant reminder today of what constitutes a good cook.

What did my Dad say to provide such contemplation and inspiration?

He said, “The cook is not in love!”

And that meant there was not enough salt!

Nowadays we all seem to be “watching our salt” intake. Still, there is something to be said for tasting as you go. And that was the way of the best cooks in my Dad’s experience. Poor Mom stayed quiet and just kept trying.

On occasion Dad would give me his recipes for the dishes I liked best. Here’s a good one, for the most favorite dish in my family.


For a family of four: 6-8 chicken pieces or more.

In large pot, melt 2 sticks of butter.

Add 2 large chopped onions and saute until onions are translucent.

Add the larger pieces of chicken (breasts) skin side down.

Spoon some of the onion over each layer.

On top of that, add the smaller pieces of chicken skin side down.

Simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Reverse and turn everything.  Now put smaller pieces of chicken on the

bottom skin side up and the bigger pieces on top of that, skin side up.

Simmer covered for 20 minutes more.

You should now have lots of juice.  If not, add some water.

Also now add lots of paprika – 4 or 5 or 6 tablespoonsful. 

You are looking for a very orange colored gravy.

Simmer another 15 minutes.

Your Hungarian Paprikash is done!

Serve over cooked egg noodles or spaetzle.

Serve with sour cream on the side.

The odd thing about this recipe is the only spice is Paprika. NO salt or pepper are called for and in fact discouraged. Each diner can add salt or not at will. And no comments will be made about the cook not being in love.


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Mom's Pot

Mom’s Pot

Daily Prompt: Ingredients

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? 

A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup,

instant ramen – what’s your magic ingredient and why?

Maybe it’s because I hate to cook that no specific special ingredient comes to mind.  I do wish there was a magical elixir like a spice or something.  If I had to choose, maybe it would be powdered gravy!

But if we are talking about “items” and not food ingredients, I would choose my Mom’s flat bottomed sauce pan.

I silently call it “Mom’s Pot.”  Mom is long gone but I still miss her, so that pot has deep meaning.

Because it belonged to her and I always saw her cooking things in it, I figure it must have wondrous qualities.  Mom would only want the best for her kids – like the best mashed potatoes (even though hers were always lumpy).

Still, I have my issues with Mom’s Pot.  I think I have mentioned she was not a good cook and maybe she could blame that pot and never told me.

It burns everything I cook in it.

I spend hours soaking the thing and then scraping off the stuck on stuff with a sharp instrument.

But hey – it’s Mom’s Pot and it is the one thing in my kitchen I would never want to do without.  And I would NEVER give it up.

“Cooking with memories is a far finer thing than serving a good meal.” ~Dor

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