Monday Meal Review: Hungary


“No, no, no. That’s not how you make it! You need much more paprika.”

I looked down at the heaping tablespoon in front of me.

Like, what? Two tablespoons? I asked, raising my eyebrows.

“At least.” Mom waved her hand like she was shooing a fly. “As much as you can stand.”

She looked down at Ava’s head and wrapped another strand of hair around the soft cotton curlers. In a few short hours they’d have matching curls.

I tasted the broth. My eyes began to water.

“It’s spicy.”

“That’s what the sour cream is for.”

“Should I add it now? That’s what these recipes say to do.”

“No no no. Where did you get these recipes? Add it at the end. At the end.”

She sighed dramatically. Ava looked up at her and sighed a little copycat sigh. Laughing, mom patted Ava’s head. The curlers were secure.

An hour later I whisked in the sour cream. “I can’t believe you’re not even going to eat this.”

She got up and peeked in the pan.

“I can’t – I’m vegan. I can’t eat like I used to.”

As she said so, she dipped her finger into the sauce and gave it a taste. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“It’s good.”

After a pause she added: “The chicken isn’t brown enough, though. Burn it next time.”


Chilled Cherry Soup [recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

The tart, slightly sweet flavor of this chilled soup was exactly what I needed this hot, humid summer. My mom loved it best of all, staking a claim to any and all leftovers. I will definitely be making this again.

What I liked least about this dish:

I should have doubled the recipe. It makes enough for 4 if you use tiny dessert/appetizer bowls, but if you’re wanting this as your main meal, it probably would only feed two.

Chicken Paprika [recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

This is childhood on a plate, for me. The creamy sauce cuts the heat from the paprika – the contrast is fun and interesting. I can’t believe I had never made this for Keith before. He loved it. Ava did too.

What I liked least about this dish:

If you don’t brown the chicken enough, the skin becomes soft and flabby… not good eats. My mom tried to warn me, but it was already too late – the chicken was in the sauce.

Hungarian Campfire Bacon Kabobs [recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

This is a fabulous summertime camping or grilling activity. I especially like cutting off the browned bits and dropping them over a salad. It makes the whole thing seem healthier somehow.

What I liked least about this dish:

Aside from health concerns, I’d say finding the whole, rind on bacon was the hardest part.

Palacsinta (Hungarian crêpes) [recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:


What I liked least about this dish:

Be sure to keep an eye on the heat – you don’t want to burn these. Have fun with the fillings. While the jam and walnuts are great, next time I’ll put out more filling options like yogurt and sliced fruit. I even found a sour cherry jam that would be a nice nod to the Hungarian love of cherries.

Ava’s Corner
P.S. I love my husband. He’s the one who edits these videos every week, ya know.
Not to mention the fact that he willingly samples new foods in an effort to overcome his “Mr Picky” tendencies.
He’s tops.


  1. Donnie says

    Thanks to Mr. Picky! I look forward to the written review, and most especially, Ava’s review. It always puts a smile on my face.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’m so glad! He puts a lot of love into those videos. We’re usually sitting side by side – me writing the review, him editing the video. 🙂

  2. What a lovely post! My grandmother was Hungarian and while she passed away when I was quite young my dad would make Chicken Paprikash on occasion growing up and it was always a favorite. Recently I traveled to Budapest for the first time and met family there and sampled the food. Just wonderful. This is a great menu that you made!!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thank you Katherine. How wonderful that your father kept the family tradition going. Someday I hope to travel to Hungary and eat some of my favorites at a little hole-in-the-wall. Maybe I’ll see you there… 🙂 best wishes.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I agree – I love her red glasses. So fun. And Ava loves to wear my necklaces… the dress-up stage is just beginning 🙂

  3. God, Sash…I just woke up..rolled out of bed in YOUR sweats…
    did not comb my hair or wash my face or even have my coffee.

    I owe you one!!

  4. i just read your book, loved it! I have also who has been cooking/eating my way around the work too…sooo slowly, and without a blog (should have thought of that) . I love now seeing your mama in the flesh, I feel like I (almost ) know your family.

  5. Excellent! Thanks for the family recipes. I made the Chicken Paprika, cucumber salad, and crepes. Everyone loved it.

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