A Hungarian Tradition – Bacon(Szalonna) Fry

When I was little, I remember every year we would gather around a fire pit, and my parents and relatives (and us kids) would stick chunks of bacon on a stick, roast it over the fire, and catch the grease drippings onto a piece of fresh rye bread that sat on a plate at your feet, on which was piled chopped peppers, onions and tomatoes.

What?  You say?

We didn’t call it “Frying Bacon”  – we called it “Shoot Sullinaw”  (my mom, or any other fellow Hungarian,  is going to probably fall off their chair laughing at that translation).   I googled and found that SZALONNA is the Hungarian word for bacon.   I can’t figure out why we said ‘shoot’  Szalonna…  I’ll have to ask my mom about that…

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Here we are, a couple weeks ago, at my parents for the annual Bacon Fry.    Wikipedia offers an excellent description of Szalonna and the Hungarian tradition –

In the traditional gypsy-style. szalonna is skewered on a rod (or preferably, a freshly cut stick from a cherry, apple or other fruit tree) and roasted over an open fire pit or narrow container allowing the fire to heat to extremely hot temperatures. A wood fire is best(hardwood) for additional flavor, although hardwood charcoal (not briquets) is acceptable. Once it starts to sizzle and drip with grease, the szalonna is removed from the fire and the grease is allowed to drip onto a slice of freshly baked bread. The szalonna is returned to the fire and the process is repeated until the piece of bread is nearly saturated with grease.

Sliced cucumber, red onion, green peppers, sliced radishes, paprika, other vegetables, ground pepper, and salt are used to add flavor to the slice of bread, and then more drippings are followed to top it off. Periodically, the charred remains are scraped off of the szalonna and are used as an additional topping. This dish was considered to be a peasants’ food since the most important aspect was the fat, discarded by wealthier Hungarians.

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DSC_6731 [Desktop Resolution]My cousin’s bag –


While googling I found another heartfelt post from a blogger Patti Ewald titled Nothing Tastes Better Than A Fond Memory.  It described my family… it describes where we are now… my mom wants to nix the bacon frying tradition.  It’s too much work,  and only a couple even fry bacon anymore. (like Patti mentions,  the ‘evils’ of all that grease….)   I think what we are really yearning for is just a purpose to get together.  An annual SOMETHING, so that everyone can make time to come and be together, and enjoy each others company –


Dad playing cornhole…

Me, getting ready for dessert!

Me, getting ready for dessert..

A magical photo –

Jenna and Julia on the float

Jenna and Julia on the float

Can you spread out any more?

they played all afternoon in the sand...

they played all afternoon in the sand…

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Three generations in one photo...

Three generations in one photo…



... and fireflies

… and fireflies

it can’t get much better than this –

can't get much better than this!

As an after note, two years later, I’d added a photo post –


213 responses to “A Hungarian Tradition – Bacon(Szalonna) Fry

  1. Patty…enjoy, savor, love, touch, smell, live for every moment you can like this one. So many of us take for granted our time here together. Something I miss terribly, is the family time we all spent together before the lose of my dad…Things change and you have to change with them and make new gatherings with new memories, but never forgetting the old memories that will forever be in your heart.
    Miss you my friend.

  2. Sült szalonna – (fried bacon) is the expression you are looking for. The activity is ‘szalonna sütés’ (frying bacon).

  3. “Shoot” is the poor phonetic translation of “sült” that means cooked, baked or fried.

  4. I’m so in agreement with what Renee said! There are sooo many things I miss about my childhood…like family reunions…my generation has just all grown apart and it is heartbreaking. We only see each other now at funerals for the older generation….this sucks! I guess I need to be the one to step up to the plate and get us all together so that our children can have some of those memories!

  5. SO glad knowledgeable people came forward and clarified your (unbeknownst to me)somewhat phoenetic (?) “pronounciation” of a Hungarian gypsy bacon frying picnic!

    I think this tradition is also called “cigany szalonna sultes” (Sorry, my fonts do not include the necessary umlaut and accents.

    It’s definitely a soon-to-be lost tradition. And but, only a couple slices of “greasy bread”, one time a year, can’t be THAT deadly! Our grandparents enjoyed the tradition and lived until a ripe old age.

  6. What a wonderful day! That dessert DOES look amazing!!!!!

  7. We also say lets “shoot some bacon”.
    Awww the memories

  8. I came across this page when searching for more information about szalonna. My grandfather and father passed on this tradition to me, and I have fond memories of making “greasy bread” over the campfire when I was a kid.

    I am going to introduce my wife and children to the tradition later this month but am not really sure what to ask for at the meat market. We’re a little short on Hungarian delis here in northern Michigan. Any help much appreciated. Can you describe what I should ask for?

    • Greg, I’m sending this to my mom to get on and post, since she is the expert not I! She’ll respond here –

    • A short response to Greg re bacon used for cigany szalonna:

      I cannot, normally, purchase (a) slab bacon from my local grocer/meat mkt. I have to make a special trip to Dearborn MI, to the Dearborn Sausage Co. There, I purchase a half slab (unsliced slab bacon (NOT SALT PORK), as that’s the amt of bacon we usually need/consume for our family.) You might be able to special order this from your local mkt…..check it out. You would want a slab that is NOT TOO meaty otherwise it will not drip enough grease.

      I have seen szalonna in an ethnic Hungarian market that was a chunk of pure fat – no meat! It was being sold specifically for bacon frys. I would NOT buy a hunk of fat.

      Cut the slab into pieces approx 3″x4″ (some people cut them a little larger – this is the size we prefer). You can do a quick math calculation as to the size of slab you will need: size of your per serving bacon chunk times number of people who will fry. If you have too much bacon, wrap it well and deep freeze it. It will keep in a deep freezer for a long time.

      One piece per person is usually enough because, if done right, (slowly, over the right kind/temp fire), the frying process takes a long while. Make sure you do not use pine for your fire! Use a quality wood: oak, hickory, etc.

      I also buy Hungarian Kolbasz (smoked sausage), and cut it into pieces about 4″ long. The sausage pieces can be stuck onto the end of the bacon stick and fried along with the bacon, if desired.

      Hope this helps.

      • http://dearbornbrand.com/

        If you want a lightly smoked piece of back fat with the rind on the company store in Dearborn has the real deal!! They call it Solona and the way they pronounce it hurts my ears but it is exactly what I remember my grandfather cooking over the fire back in Woodbridge NJ. Been looking for this product for years. The manager in the store pronounced it “So loan a”. Guess I don’t really care. The good summer tomatoes are in and I have three loaves of seedless rye waiting for pickup at a local bakery.

        If you are in Michigan and want traditional Hungarian (and polish stuff) the Dearborn store is the place to go.

        The Hungarian Kolbasz they sell is as good as any found in NJ. I have been to Carteret and have some Kovacs in the family. Try Dearborn. You won’t be disappointed. If I could only find the rye bread. The local stuff in MI is decent but not as good as bakeries in northern NJ. Suggestions appreciated.

  9. Wow! Thank you so much for your help! We have a couple of good meat markets in town, so I will see if I can special order. If you every make it up to the Traverse City area, drop me a line and I’ll start the campfire. 🙂 Greg

    • Hi, if you have a little luck, you may be able to mail order a chunk from a Hungarian meat store in Carteret ,NJ. off of the web. Carteret is the epicenter of the old school hungarians that are left in the country.I think since it is just fat it should be able to ship.Ask for Szalonna (pronounced Sulina). Most people do not want to try it the first time,but when they do they are hooked ! Also order some good,real Hungarian paprika to top on it,MacCormicks would be a sin.Add copious amounts of alcohol (drink it !),have fun !! Email back if you need cooking instructions !!

  10. Patty or “Mom” — I need more help, please!

    Today, I went to a good local meat market to order the bacon. They asked me whether I wanted it smoked or not.

    At first, I thought the answer was “no.” However, they said that the pork is not technically called “bacon” until after it is smoked. So, they asked if I wanted an unsmoked pork belly or if I wanted unsliced bacon, which would by definition be smoked. They said if the recipie says “bacon,” it probably means “smoked.”

    I guessed that I wanted it smoked but wanted to confirm with my experts. They smoke the meat for the week later today, so this is my last chance before the weekend. Can you advise?!?

    Thanks again,


  11. Hello Greg,
    Absolutely, you want smoked, unsliced bacon (a slab, piece of a slab — size or amount depends on your needs). The unsmoked would be pork rind! No, no, no!!

    Try to get a slab (or unsliced piece) that is NOT too meaty. It would be great for bacon and eggs but would NOT drip enough for your intended purpose. Request one (look for one) that has some meat but also about equal fat. Some slabs will be skinny – like only about an inch or so thick. I try to buy the thicker end – it’s fatty plus meaty.

    Good luck. Hope I got to you in enough time!!!

    Don’t forget to score the top (meaty part) of each piece when you put it onto the stick to fry. That scoring helps the fat to drip.

    Patty’s Mom

    • Patty’s Mom,

      Thank you again. Yes, you did get to me in time. Luckily, I guessed right, so I won’t have to change what I ordered. The folks at the meat market took detailed notes when I explained the kind of piece I wanted, per your earlier instructions, so I think that I should get a piece with a good fat/meat combination. I’ll let you know how it turns out!


  12. Enjoy! Eat heartily! Laugh a lot! Be sure you drink a little wine to dissolve all the fat globules in the blood stream! Have fun!

    Pat’s Mom

  13. Boy what wonderful memories. My grandparents were Hungarian so I grew up with all the chicken paprikas’, cucchinya? caposta goulaska? and of course, with every picnic was the szalonna…I remember my grandfather taking me out in the backyard and showing me how to pick the right stick off the apple tree for skewering the piece while my grandmother was cutting up the onions, peppers and tomatoes for the toppings..we had a Hnugarian butcher shop in town which we went to frequently when I was a kid…but I’m 58 now and they’re all gone..but I do have my memories…

    • Bob, chicken paprika was my favorite as a kid! I haven’t had it in a long time…. my mom still makes it, on rare occasion… I learned how, once, but it would be hard for me now.

  14. Hi Patty – I haven’t had that in years! I remember my grandmother making the homemade dumplings, nokedli, for it and boiling the chicken in a big pot..I’ve had it since but never as good, of course!

  15. I’m reading this with a belly full of szalonna or dirty bread and smiling at the stories and the comments left here. My family has the szalonna at least once a year at our labor day picnic and it’s about the only thing to look foward to at the end of the summer. There’s nothing like spending a day with friends and family catching up on each other’s lives and retelling stories we’ve all heard a 1000 times before. It’s really fun to see the looks on the faces of our non-Hungarian friends when they realize how good something so greasy and “yucky” can be. We’ve lost many of the older generations of our family, and others too young this is a wonderful tradition we can all partake in and pass onto to a new generation. It brings us a little closer to our past, this tradition has been part of our Hungarian roots long before any of us were around and hopefully it will continue long after we’re gone.

  16. This is a wonderful tradition I enjoy with my family also!
    Isten áldjon minket

  17. When I was a teen (decades ago), I visited Ohio and people there did a bacon fry. I’ve been looking for years for a recipe. I remember the slab of bacon and cut up vegetables on bread, but no other details. What is the best type, thickness of bread? What vegetbles…. any spices? Can it be doen on a barbeque, which is how I kinda remember it being done back then (in the 60’s) Haven’t had it since then and I’m really looking forward to making some!

    • Hi Carolyn, we always used the thicker rye bread. The veggies that were diced fine were tomatoes, onions, green peppers and hungarian peppers. No spices. Im not sure about doing it on a BBQ – we never tried that …

  18. Karen Steffens Western

    My dad, 80 yrs. old, my sister and I,53&51, still have bacon frys every summer. We do it about every other Sunday afternoon. It is our favorite food. I’m not too worried about the grease since I don’t eat it daily. We use onions on rye bread with red pepper on top. We buy unsliced bacon at the local market. You have to ask for it before they slice all of the bacon. They usually slice it after it comes out of the smoker. In recent years the bacon is very lean due to the pork industry and its healthy attitude. It is hard to find a fatty slab of bacon these days. All this means is that you have to use a larger piece of bacon to make yourself 3 to 4 slices of heaven. I have not convinced my kids to try the bread yet, so the tradition may end with us. We do have great fun trying to get the neighbors to try it. There have only been a few brave souls over the years. Most thought it was tasty, but not healthy for them. My great grandfather immigrated to America in 1910. His last name was Stofan. It has changed some over the last generation, seems the census takers had their own spelling. Would love to hear about other customs from Hungary.

  19. William Ballough

    My 90 year old second cousin told me years ago, in Toledo Ohio, every Sunday the air was filled with the smell of Hungarian bacon frying. When I was a child in Chiago, we used to get up at four in the morning and drive to the Chiago forest preserves and have bacon frys with Hungarian friends. Many Hungarian transplants in the US know nothing about bacon frys. even though it is a tourist attraction for Budapest visitors.

  20. Don’t forget to put a lot of salt on the bread. The grease closes down the arteries, but the salt raises the blood presssure and pushes that blood right on through the reduced arteries…..LLOL
    Kis Berti (little Bert)

  21. joseph gyimesi

    I remember well from my youth what a popular and much anticipated event it was, either camping out (since I was a City boy)or visiting relatives in the country. At that time we didn’t know about blocked arteries.

  22. Nope, didn’t know about all that when we were kids – and I fried it, dripped it, and ate it up every time…. not until I became a grown up did I find myself not wanting the drippy grease anymore… but my kids do!

  23. What a wonderful remembrance. I too grew up on the stuff and have the homemade metal “rods” my father made to hold the bacon. They have wicked barbed “arrow heads” on the ends as the bacon tends to shrink and slide when cooked. My grandfather insisted on a bacon fry the week he dies 9at age 88). It was a farmer’s meal. In Hungary, the farmers worked in co-ops – starting at someones home and working the morning out into the fields. Once at the far end, they needed food that wouldn’t spoil – hence smoked bacon and vegetables (which they could sometimes pick in the fields) plus a good crusty bread. build a fire, and “voila,” lunch! Then they worked their way back to the house in the afternoon.

  24. I could have been the author of any of the posts on this site. I just came back from an ethnic super market in the Chicago area. They had Hungarian Bacon and it is processed by Bende & Son Salami Co. in Vernon Hills, IL. Their website is http://www.bende.com they call it Kolozsvari (Hungarian Bacon) I bought a pound and will give it a try this weekend.


    • Hey Ron, I like your last name – my great uncle was Hungarian and his last name was Toth. He was ALWAYS part of our annual bacon fry (he taught us a few swear words as well 🙂 )

  25. Heading to my cabin this weekend, and the first thing I made sure I had ready to go was a slab of bacon…. I have the rods up there, and will get some veggies when I’m there.

    Blogs like this make me hungry….

  26. My family has been doing this (szalonna and kolbasz) every year on Memorial Day since long before I was born (I’m 38 now). People may scoff at the grease, but doing it one day of the year is not going to overload you so bad that it’s going to hurt you. You probably get more fat from the bacon in a BLT. Chicken paprikas is still a popular meal with us, and tarhonya is a side dish we serve up on special occasions.

    • Your right, 1 day a year (and thats all we did it) isnt’ going to ruin your arteries…. Chicken Paprika? My all-time fav!

      • Phillip Karadak

        Hi! It’s Philip again. My father used to make chicken and rice, it’s chicken paprika with lots of rice. He tried showing me a few times how to make it and I do remember a fair amount of what he told me but I’m missing some of it In bits and pieces. If any other Hungarian or child thereof knows the recipe for Hungarian chicken paprika and rice would you please share it with the rest of us who are dying for a taste of this awsome Hungarian dish? My sister and me would be truly grateful for it. I’m sure we have it written down somewhere here in the house but we have to find it. We do have this really cool little recipe book my mom had that has nothing but traditional Hungarian recipes in it and she added her own personal notes to it. My mom was a superb cook and honestly never saw her cook anything that was bad. She was actually of German decent and my dad was Hungarian but my folks lived with his parents for the first year or so when they got married and my mom learned all the Hungarian recipes from my grandmother and she was absolutely spot-on with all of them. She was already a great cook from learning from her mother, she just got better.
        Anyway, sorry for rambling on but if anyone or everyone would contribute their families recipes for chicken paprikao any other dishes they’d like to share I’d be super grateful! Thanks all!!

  27. My family has been doing this since I was a kid back in the 50s. We just had one over the holiday weekend and it was great. Normally we hold this tradition in sept. oct. of each year, this year we changed it up a little bit and had it early and we had a great showing.At least 30 or more made it to the szalonna outing.Thank you Patty for putting this out there.

    • Wow Craig, you had a great showing with 30! Unfortunately, our group is shrinking – this last year 2 of my great uncles and 1 great aunt all passed on – they were the ones I grew up around – and were always at our bacon frys… it will never be the same, without them…..

  28. Karen Steffens Western

    My mouth is watering. I just emailed my sis and requested a bacon fry for this Sunday. Mmmmmm.

    • Our family will have to find a new gathering place to fire up the bacon fry. My parents just moved, this month, from the lake (with nice big open fire pit) to a condo….

  29. Patty's sister Diane

    OK, so now I’m feeling really sad as I look at these lake pictures and think about our bacon frys… we can’t let them end.. maybe we can do a surprise fry and christen Mom and Dad’s new patio?? ha ha… or how about at Karen’s one day in July? They have the fire pit.. wonder what Dad did with his sticks? Probably buried them in the yard before moving.. fond memories put to rest? It wouldn’t be too hard to plan.. we don’t need the lake, we can do it anywhere!

    • Maybe we could do it at Stony Creek one day – they have firepits, even down by the lake… Kar’s is fun for floating, but they get zero breeze down in pool area. Or, I could dump the flowers out of our old firepit and we could fire it up here – hey, I should plan that for this summer when you’re home! When are you here again?

  30. Hello from the east coast. A Hungarian friend of mine asked me about “shootney” yesterday…we had NO idea how to spell it, so we began googleing for the answer and I came upon your blog. My family (originally from Bridgeport CT- a city located about 50 miles north of NYC) “shootneyed” every Memorial and Labor Day, plus weekends inbetween. In the 50s and 60s, even into the 70s and 80s there were several Hungarian butcher shops where we got the bacon for cigany. Today, only one little shop is left (in Fairfield). But the seeded rye bread is really hard to find now- only a couple of Jewish/European delis even have it. The common “rye” bread of today is a lot fluffier and less dense. That type of rye bread doesn’t hold up to the lot of veggies and drippings. The rye bread (generally caraway seeded) is primed with drippings till black (or a solid greasy-gray shade), only then is it topped with the diced veggies. Then add MORE drippings so it’s plenty hot. My family put a lot of salt and pepper on it too. As a kid I soaked the bread black, put the burned bacon on it, added pepper. I didn’t like the green peppers, red onion and tomato at the time.

    We kids were never allowed to do any of the “roasting” because there was a technique to render every drop of fat out of that szalonna- you had to keep it moving- never allowing one side to roast more than the others. It had to be kept hot and rotating. And it had to be a certain distance from the actual fire. Certain aunties and uncles prided themselves on their abilities…one of my uncles made the “official” cigany roasting can and another made 4 metal sticks.

    The fire can was a metal “bucket” the type asphalt used to come in. He made a lot of holes in the bottom and sides. As I recall, a grate was mounted inside about 6″ from the bottom. We used hardwood charcoal, but I believe wood was traditionally used. The maintainence of the fire required another skilled effort. It was important to keep a really hot fire going with minimal flame. I recall being yelled at because my “twirling” of the bacon stirred up the flames. The flames will burn the top rind and stop the grease from flowing through the scored channels. Betcha didn’t think cigany szalonna” was a fine art did ya?!

    Where is Cigany U? It’s one of those skills that is passed down- someone just reading about the process without actually participating in a roast with skilled Hungarians, will burn the bacon and not be able to GET AN EVEN COATING OF GREASE ON THE BREAD! Using the wrong bacon, not scoring the bacon, not rotating it evenly, not using the right type of rye bread, not having the fire hot enough- et al….well, it might just end up as the most discusting, gross food you’ve ever consumed! It’s just not normal barbeque as we know it these day, a pity- it will soon be a lost art.

    Some years ago at one of our last family get-togethers (mostly only cousins at this point) in Miami I brought down the bacon and bread (impossible to find in Miami but my cousins found a place in California that mailed them some bacon). I video taped our roasting with constant complaints from the cousins over not being taped. Being more knowledgable than they, I ignored their protests because I was certain this would be the very last opportunity to record the process. By this time (the mid-90s) fear of fat was in full force and everybody had maybe one piece and refused to eat more. Our parents traditionally ate half a dozen slices each- generally tempered with a hot dog (with fried bacon and saurkraut) and maybe a hamburger. It seems to me people in general have lost their “taste” for cigany szalonna.

    • Wow, I love reading the continual stories from Hungarians near and afar that shared in this same tradition…

      I agree, the rye bread today isn’t the same rye bread we had as kids. I am not familiar with the metal ‘bucket’ – maybe my mom will chime in here and comment…. we always fried the bacon over a firepit. Had to laugh at your ‘twirling’ comment – you know WAY more about the details than I do, it is so interesting to read your comments!

      I hate to agree with it becoming a lost art… families are shrinking, and we are losing our elders that carry with them the strongest of Hungarian traditions…. and you’re right – even I will admit the last couples I wasnt keen on eating the bacon – I was perfectly fine having my dad share a few drippings, and eating the bread loaded with the veggies….

  31. Happy Labor Day to you all. I just couldn’t resist putting in my two cents, Patty. I am surprised you couldn’t smell our szalonna cooking today in Rochester Hills. We had 3 generations cooking, but I am not allowed because one time I didn’t have my piece of bacon tipped at the “right” angle to drip. My 90 year old mom had 3 breads, so did my daughter and her new gentleman friend who was a first timer! Now, just the lingering scent of bacon clinging to my jacket makes my eyes well up. How lucky we are to have szalonna once or twice a year. Thanks for letting me savor the memories.

    • Happy Labor Day to you as well Sharon – I am delighted to hear your story! Let’s just say if I was ever in your neighborhood and got a glimpse of what you guys were doing, I’d feel inclined to drop in, uninvite, and introduce myself 🙂

  32. Hello All,
    How funny it was to find a blog on Greasy Bread!!! We are celebrating my Hungarian mother’s 90th birthday party this weekend (10-10-10) with a traditional bacon fry. My parents had 11 children, have 22 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren. All of us LOVE the greasy bread!!! But when I was growing up, we called it ‘jittish kenyan’ pronounced ‘jude ish ken yan’…I have no idea where that came from, but it is what I grew up with. Our grandparents came over from Hungary in the late 1800’s and raised their family in Northeast PA (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area)where you can still find the dense Jewish seeded rye and slab bacon. I remember what a treat it was getting a piece of bacon to add to my greasy bread. I am hoping to continue this tradition with my family as well.

    • I’ve never heard of that jittish kenyan. I know my mom had certain markets she’d drive to, across towns, to find the right bread and bacon..

      That just made me think of the sausage we used to eat too – I bet everyone thats commented here experienced that as well? Hudka? Gotta go google it for the proper spelling – my sister calls it ‘dirt sausage’.

      • I think I can answer Irene’s question…the way it was in my family the Szalonna Shutney was the bacon fry….jiddish kenyer is the actual bread, “jiddish” (kind of a phonetic spelling, not sure of the actual spelling) being grease or greasy, and “kenyer” is bread.

        So the szalonna drippings make the jiddish kenyer….

        And the sausage is Hurka….the rice and liver sausage. I remember splitting it open and putting ketchup on it…until I learned it was liver, then I stopped eating it! We have a really good European butcher on the west Side of Buffalo who makes Hurka, and when my mom comes up, she always grabs a few rings to bring home….she says its as good as they used to get from the Hungarian Church in Carteret…

  33. I love this thread! Ive recently been on the hunt for authentic szelonna in an effort to do what most of you are doing: continuing a family tradition and enjoying some delicious food.

    @Patri: I live in South Carolina but my family is from the Fairfield/Bridgeport area. I wouldnt be surprised if our families know each other at some level!

    @Ronald Toth: Thanks for sharing the link. I’ve actually contacted a local pig farmer here to see if he would be able to smoke some of this special cut for me. Im looking forward to it as I have been casually searching for about a year now.

    @Bob: youve listed about every Hungarian dish Ive ever known or heard of. I remember my grandfather telling me about cucchinya and not believing what it was. Pickled pigs feet? Is that correct? Do you happen to know of a recipe? HA!

    Thanks again for this thread, glad to see a few people out there still enjoy this traditional family get together. It has almost become a memory of the past and I am trying to keep it alive.

  34. Fantastic Post!

    All of my great grandparents came to the US directly from Hungary, bringing my granparents with them, so ethnically, I am 100% Hungarian, which is becoming a rarity anymore. I am not helping, as I married a Chinese girl!

    My parents were born and grew up in Carteret and Woodbridge, NJ. I grew up doing “shutney salonna” with my grandparents and parents, and those times are definitely some of the best memories growing up. They became less and less over the years, as we moved further away, and we could not find proper Szalonna where we lived. I have been thinking about those times a lot over the last few years, and now I have a son who is almost a year old, and I have pledged to myself we will do this at least once a year, definitely when my parents are up for a visit.

    We have a few good butchers here in Buffalo where I am sure I will be able to find proper Szalonna, now I just need to find and cut some good gnoshes (my attempt at a phonetic spelling of what my grandfather called his skewers) from some apple or cherrywood branches….

    Thanks for the memories!!

  35. Here’s another one to see if anyone else ate this…

    My favorite thing of all time to eat was my grandmother Krumpli Galuska, which was the potato dumpling with fried bacon and drippings. Sometimes it was also served with sauer kraut, but I never liked it adulterated. When my grandmother came to visit, it was the fist thing I asked for….she would grate 5 lbs of potatoes and make a huge batch.

    I make it for myself now….its close and still very good, but never as good as hers. Something about grandma’s cooking that you can’t replicate. I miss my grandparents very much, we had a lot of really good times with them growing up. I did get her cookbooks which included all her recipes hand written in a notebook, and also her copy of the Hungarian Reformed Church in Woodbridge from the 1930’s…lots of really good, really old classic recipes.

    • Yes, Michael, thats the sausage – Hurka – with liver… That was always present during holiday gatherings – Hurka and then a good smoked kolbas (spelling?). I’d split mine open too, didnt like eating that casing, reminded me of a snake’s skin, but loved the inside rice and liver mixture.

      My grandparents didnt live near us growing up, but my great grandmother did. She spoke broken english, and she’d come to all our family and holiday gatherings. Her kids (a son and a daughter) lived near by, with their families, and that is who I grew up around. My great uncle was the one that attempted to make Hurka, for the last 15 years? so that we could enjoy it at our Christmas gathering. It never quite tasted the same but close is better than none! He left us a couple years ago, now we have zero Hurka. Michael, I wonder if that place in Buffalo by you ever ships meat? I’d be willing to purchase some for this coming holiday….

      I don’t remember the potato dumpling dish…. I remember deserts that we’d have regularly (not sure if they are Hungarian?) like kiefleas, and kullach (okey those are both spelled phonetically 🙂 ). I loved the old days with my great gram around, she’d sit in the chair with her white hair tied back in a bun, and her big glasses on, skirt/blouse and short stockings… and just take it all in. They’d converse in Hungarian – my great aunts and uncles, and their mom…. my mom tried to learn some of it. Us kids just learned the swear words – never knew what they even meant, they just sounded cool – like “buzz meg un-yad ” (lol, the spelling!) or “Esh-ten-UN-yad-coot-cha” one of those was something about a dog…..?? My great uncle was the best – he had a GRAND sense of humor, and was always fun to be around. Oh wait, there was a good Hungarian wine they liked to drink too – suit- it – ka – but-ash ?

      I miss all my loved ones that have passed, these last few years wiped out my Hungarian relatives… and then my parents, who lived for years on a lake with a huge property and great fire pit, downsized to condo living. My mom recently said, of our past traditions, “Good thing we did what we did, it’s over sweetheart” … how sad. My I am forever greatful for my childhood memories, and I gotta say, I love reading these posts from others…

      • I hear you, it was pretty much the same in my family. I remember a lon time ago, being a kid, and going to family get togethers with everyone there (almost all gone now) including some of my great grandparents.

        Lots of good food, lots of drinking, lots of fun. Eating and boozing were certainly some of the favorite Hungarian past-times when getting together, at least in my family! I remember the stuffed cabbage, palacinta’s, Gulyas, chisken and krumpli paprikash, kolbaz, and of course the szalonna. And yep, desserts….kiffli’s, and kulloch. Kulloch was never popular with me when I was a kid, not sweet enough, but I enjoy it now.

        I remember a few of the Hungarian phrases too….one I always heard growing up was “usta mashi kut” meaning other one….always heard when helping the kids on with their shoes or socks, or when cutting our finger or toe nails when we were little.

        All of this inspired me this weekend, and I made Porkolt, pork stew with lots of paprika (went a bit too heavy with the hot paprika, came out a bit csipos (hot) much too hot for my wife!) and sour cream….I thought it was very good though (even have some for lunch today!

        As for the butcher hear in buffalo, the link to them is


        But I know they won’t ship, I asked them last year about shipping. Apparently NYS requires an on-site inspector if you are going to ship….But if you would like a ring or two, I would happily ship it to you, just shoot me an e-mail….

    • Diane Kovacs Morin

      Krumpli Galuska is my favorite! I still make it from scratch my grandmother would make It with sautéed grated cabbage for the adults. But she would put a mixture of sour cream and a kind of dry curd cottage cheese on it.
      My two sisters and A cousin tried to have greasy bread yesterday. I ordered the szalonna from a European deli in Brooklyn. But it was way too meaty and hard to get much grease from it.
      As a child growing up in Trenton NJ with a mother that grew up in Carteret and Perth Amboy, from Memorial Day through Labor Day every Sunday we would meet and my grandparents lot near Fort Dix. My great-aunt built a house on the lake across the street and some good family friends owned lots adjacent. My grandfather tended a large vegetable garden with an old hand pump well over a galvanized tub.
      We would all gather round and make zsiros kenyer (translation = greasy bread). Then the adults would play 3-deck, 8-hand pinochle all afternoon. Around dinner time we would put on huge pots of jersey corn, fry some kolbasz, cut some watermelon, and eat again. As it got dark we would all drive home. After school ended we kids would stay with our grandparents at the lake house during the week while our parents worked.
      My grandmother and great aunt would cook huge pots of gulyas leves (goulash soup) on barbecue grills outside. And they made fresh pickles with the dill from the garden.
      And we always bought Jewish rye bread because it was denser. I can remember it being still warm and eating the ends in the car on the way home from the bakery.
      We moved to Florida after my Dad died so most of this is just a memory now. There is a good sized Hungarian community in Sarasota and we went to their festival once, but it isn’t the same.
      Yes, the best Hurka and Kolbasz came from the ladies at the Hungarian churches where they got together although I remember making it at my grandmothers along with winter Saturday’s making huge batches of all kinds of teszta (noodles).
      My kids were never interested and I didn’t marry a Hungarian so it all dies with my generation. My sisters and cousin had no children. But I am making this a once a summer tradition with them, and hopefully will be able to get better szalonna next year.

  36. The sausage being discussed was called “hudakuh” (phonetic spelling) in my family (my dad was first generation in this country, and spoke Hungarian as his first language – which was the only language my grandparents spoke – and as an aside, there are somethings universal in any language – like when gramma wasn’t happy with us young kids – but I digress….) – and in the Hungarian community in Toledo. To this day, my aunt buys some for me from Takas – a Hungarian butcher in the Birmingham section of Toledo (a couple of blocks from Tony Packo’s restaurant) for Christmas (I live in Akron, Ohio now).

  37. I just googled that, Michael, and they have a website! http://takacsgroceryandmeats.com/ Its Takacs Grocery and Meats… is the hurka good from there?

    • Patty: I think it’s good – but to be honest, it’s the only place I’ve ever had any from (my grandparents lived very close by) – and as I said, they call it “hudakuh (and I’ll ask my aunt to see how it’s spelled when she makes her annual trip there).

      • Michael, I agree, I’ve always heard it pronounced “Hoodkah” (no “a” in there in my family)…its one of those spelling-pronuciation things….just like Maygar, looks like it should be pronounced May-gar, but its always been pronounced “mudge-yaad” in my family.

        A bit of an aside, my Uncle Joe (Joseph) escaped from Hungary after taking part in the Revolution, was an Olah….(he unfortunately died last year, but was a great guy, even though he nearly killed me when I was a kid with a hot pepper!)

    • Death by (Hungarian) hot pepper? Ahhhh, my idea of the best way to go! You’re Uncle Joe is my kind of uncle!

      • The man had an asbestos mouth…he grew the hottest peppers ever. They had a groovy 70’s basement complete with shag carpet, dark wood, a pool table, and a complete wet bar, that is where much of the partying took place. Lots of Hungarian kitsch all over too.

        I remember he handed me this little pepper (I was about 10) and told me real Hungarian men ate these…of course wanting to be a real Hungarian man, I popped it in my mouth, and after a long moment, fell to the floor in agony…my dad and he had a good laugh at that one.

        I remember his mother when she came over, the prototypical Hungarian Babuska, white hair in a bun, and always a brightly embroidered apron, cooking directly from the old country. Couldn’t eat a dinner at their house EVER without starting with a bowl of fresh chicken soup, made EVERY Sunday…..

      • Diane Kovacs Morin

        Michael Tahirak, from the Sunday after Labor Zday to the Sunday before Memorial Day we went to my grandmothers EVERY Sunday and had chicken soup with homemade noodles. I was forced to eat a carrot in mine because I didn’t want anything else. I still love nothing in my soup but noodles.

    • Michael: You uncle’s mother sounds like my Gramma! Except she never left her house, except for weekly Bingo at the church. Same bun. Same apron. She never spoke English – but some things are universal (especially when Gramma’s mad!). I don’t remember soups – but the pastries were deadly (the legacy of which I still wear around my gut).

      Good Hungarian peppers are still the hottest I’ve ever had. Sliced and placed on the bread for the bacon fry added a kick you wouldn’t forget – either when eaten, or when, um, er… at the other “end” (especially with the lubricating bacon grease).

  38. I just stumbled across this site and enjoyed all the comments. I thought you all may be interested in this site from Hungary that has an “encyclopedia” of food names and lots of recipes. I’m not Hungarian but I do love Hungarian food and got lots of nifty recipes here. PS, Anyone here familiar with Arpadhon, Louisiana? I had a girl friend long ago whose mother’s parents settled there around 1900, had my first Hungarian-American food there.
    PS, I’ve always heard that the best Hungarian paprika and pepper “burns twice” if you get my drift.

  39. I’m glad to see so many still doing this tradition. My family has done this for generations, although it has been modified a bit. When we do this it is usually for a picnic with many many people and we can not all take turns over the pit. We cook over the open fire but put a big flat pan over the pit. We cook thick sliced slab bacon on the pan, along with some onions and/or peppers (not everyone likes the raw veggies). We will then take thick sliced fresh bread, dip it in the grease, and toast it over the fire. Then we can put out big pans of all ingredients for everyone to share.

    Today i began to write a paper for college on a cultural tradition we observe. Once i researched this and told my kids about it, they were fascinated.

  40. Pingback: My Two Year Blog Anniversary! | Fabulously Finished

  41. Dear Patty:

    Imagine my delight when I visited this blog and saw a post from my son, Paul. Another generation has been bitten by the szalonna bug.

    I was raised in the Fairfield/Bridgeport, CT area and summer cookouts always started with szalonna prepared by the men. Yes, I remember being instructed on how to cut it, twirl it, drip it, etc., and years later instructing my own son how to do it…this special art!

    Over the years we shared the szalonna tradition with many (initially) horrified friends over the years, only to have them request another greasy masterpiece.

    Upon moving to the Charleston South Carolina area, it was difficult to find the proper bacon and we have had to be satisfied with slab bacon from the local grocery store. However, the tradition and intent (and actually the taste is pretty darned close) remain and continue.

    (And I see from my son’s post that he is on his own quest for the Real McCoy!)

    As for the rest of the Hungarian dishes, I may have been one of the luckiest of all of your posters. My grandmother, prior to coming to America, was a cook for the workers in the Esterhazy’s royal home. She learned her art of cooking next to the chefs for the royal family. While all of her dishes were wonderful, her chicken paprikas was a gift from heaven. It remains my all-time favorite.

  42. I am weeping as I read these entries –– recalling the memories of my youth, many of which I apparently share with so many of you.

    I was born and raised in the Detroit area, and grew up in neighborhoods populated by Eastern Europeans. I am the only child of 2nd generation Hungarian parents (my mother was a Nagy and father, obviously, an Oros, or Orosz –– the z was dropped upon immigration to U.S.). I was one of the first in my family to marry outside of my ethnicity, but as my mom says about my wife, “She turned into a pretty good hunky.” We live in St. Louis now, not necessarily a hotbed of Hungarian activity but the largest Bosnian population in the U.S.

    Hungarian was spoken about half the time in our household until I was at least five, when the grandparents and great-grandparents began to pass on. My mother and aunt are the last surviving members of the older generation and are the only ones who still speak rather fluently.

    I wish I could have retained the language but without practice it seems impossible doesn’t it. We still trade (phonetic) “buhl-duhg korahchin” (happy Christmas?) among us during the holidays and toast with “ehg-eh-sheh-geh-deh” (to your health?) My Mom’s favorite phrase is “Yoy, eesh-teh-nehm!” when she’s frustrated. “Yo-deh-gehl” is still an occasional greeting and “Eh-yoy-tso-kaht” a farewell.

    Patty Henning’s entry really made me rear back and laugh with her mention of “Buzz-meg” (another favorite phrase of mom’s) which, as I understand is somehow equivalent to the “f-bomb”.

    We haven’t had a good bacon roast in many years but each summer we threaten when the fresh vegetables come out. Maybe this is the year. I remember eating so many pieces as a kid, accompanied by fresh and smoked kolbasz, that I’d have to go lie down for a while to recover and drift off as as the voices and laughter of my beer-swilling relatives carried over the the neighborhood.

    Offal or organ meats were always very popular with us. My grandmothers made kidneys and liver regularly. (Many still don’t realize that the secret to good “coney chili” in Detroit is beef hearts).

    I love “kutch-en-ya” (gelled pigs feet), a specialty of my paternal grandmother. She also bought all her poultry live and kept it in the basement under laundry baskets until she was ready to slaughter. She used to grab the chickens and ducks by the heads and spin them around in the backyard until their necks snapped! I remember a certain headless rogue chicken that landed on the roof. My uncle had to climb up and retrieve it.

    Gramma used the whole bird –– duck blood soup was popular. I used to like to suck on the chicken feet in the soup. I must be careful now (at 57) as all of us do, but I right now I have some great spicy head cheese in the frig that I bought from a place called Global Market here in St. Louis. They feature Bobak’s meat out of Chicago (good Szalonna) as well as ethnic products from other butchers so I can get just about anything I want in the area of cured, smoked and fresh Hungarian delicacies, except “hurka”. The comment about “hurka” was the same as my memory –– splitting it open and dousing it with ketchup. You didn’t ask what it was. You just ate it because it was put in front of you and it tasted good.

    All the baked goods you all mentioned were standard in our home. In fact we just made a big batch of kiflis (sp) for Christmas. Huge pots of stuffed cabbage graced our stovetop for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. My kids love it, especially when we drop kobalz among the cabbages for a good, smoky flavor and thicken the sauce with “rahn-tasch” (roux) made with bacon fat and flour. We’ve learned not to make “healthier” versions of these dishes. The traditional flavor is ruined. You just have to eat less.

    Like all of you and your entries, we should be very proud of our Hungarian background and traditions and do everything we can to pass those on to our children, as strange and inappropriate as the customs might seem to this culture. I’m video taping my mom cooking and talking about Hungarian traditions every chance I get so they’ll have that to keep.

    • My Mom’s favorite phrase is “Yoy, eesh-teh-nehm!” when she’s frustrated. ”

      We heard that one alot too Frank 🙂

      I am enjoying the smiles, from memories – and even when I don’t relate to some of it, it is still enlightening…

      some day, all us Hunkies should unite……

  43. Hi, I’m a freind of Di & Kent. She forwarded your blog, and, I commented back to her and she suggested that I add my comments to your blog.

    Reading through the blog brought some tears to my eyes. I’m the only one left. My memories mirror everything in the blog. My grandma and mom would make it all. The krumpli, the kollach…sometimes they would make their own kolbascz. When I was little my grandma would always make a comment about the store bought stuff. “Nem ademecsh ueny”. I have no idea how to spell it. But it meant it wasn’t even worth eating. And, when she would taste the kolbascz, she would say it tastes like it was made after lunch (in Hungarian). And, I never understood what that meant. I asked and she would say that it was too salty. But I couldn’t put two and two together until I hit my teens. But, I didn’t get a full appreciation for the phrase until I started working in a factory. The only thing I could add would be poppy seed kollach and noodles. My grandma would tell me how they would feed the kollach to the kids in the”old county” to make them go to sleep. And the noodles. They would spend all day making noodles, and the dining room table would be full of sheets of the noodles drying, for I don’t know how long. Then they would cut them up, making all types. Long skinny ones, little squares, etc. I’m surprised no one brought up some of the other “traditions” of Delray. Sweeping and washing the street in front of your house every morning. What about wash day? And, someone always had an uncle that would butcher your hair. Did you ever go to the annual Hungarian picnics on Estral Beach? They used to make some dynamite kolbascz sandwiches.

    • Diane Kovacs Morin

      Denny, yes the noodles! Sometimes she would have friends come over to make these special noodles. They would cut squares with a pastry cutter then roll them corner to corner with their finger on theses small frames which had straw strung on them. It would put lines on the noodles and seal the ends. We would make thousands of these noodles, very time consuming.
      My grandmother would make the best kollach with cinnamon and raisins and we would dip it in our coffee flavored milk. My great aunt would make a dios torte for birthdays that had no flour in it and this marvelous chocolate frosting in between the layers.
      Nagymama also made angel wings. They were fried strips of dough that looked like lasagne noodle that would puff up into this light flaky pastry dusted in powder sugar. I’ve had it commercially made but I think she put a shot of brandy in hers.

  44. I am happy that I stumbled on to this thread! (amazing what gets done on a rare snow day in upstate South Carolina.) I stumbled on to the Bende & Son’s Kolozsvari at Sahara Mart, my favorite grocery store in Bloomington, IN). This stuff is AWESOME! I recently started curing my own bacon, and would love to know the cure that is used to make this.

  45. thought I’d share my cousin’s thoughts-

    ….Had fun reading but the last one really did hit home, I feels like I could have wrote it. Video’d Mom making paprikas, a few years ago, and just last year, he got her doing stuffed cabbage. It was funny how she would get slightly perturbed when we stirred to fast/or slow, she would shove us out of the way, and show us how her and her mother did it, while all along muttering and talking to my Dad in Hungarian, probably about our inadequacy’s in Hungarian cooking. Then she grossed us out, when seasoning the cabbage mixture. She would take a pinch of the raw meat, and taste it, spitting it out (into the trash), so as she could be sure the seasonings were just right. Mike was not going to do it because of the raw pork in it, but I figured that if Mom and her Mom did it all their life(grandma was in her 90’s), then I could too, without any life threatening issues. We had great fun doing this and probably the Hungarian wine helped out too. One of my cousins from my Dad’s side( his brother), and I were talking,at a funeral wake, held at the Rhapsody restaurant, the Hungarian’s were speaking in their language, and the familiar scents of Hungarian food wafting around, she said how it took her back to her childhood, and how much she missed all the Hungarian food and talk. And she is right, I do miss them talking to each other in Hungarian, it was a comforting thing to hear. It was good to look back at the great pic’s from the last bacon fry. It looked just as beautiful as it does in my memories. xo the “Hungarian Diva”

    • I laughed when I read my cousin’s email, because just a few weeks ago mom came to visit for the day – brought along all the fixings for a HUGE pot of stuffed cabbage. Her plan? Have ME make the stuffed cabbage with her. You see, I hate cooking… and mom does it sooooooooooo wonderfully that I play on my stupidity, while she brings over, on occasion, home made food. My kids LOVE stuffed cabbage. My husband doesn’t. We tell him “Good! more for us!!” He’ll call it ‘gwumpki’ and it pisses me off – I’ll reply, “I’m Hungarian – its called STUFFED CABBAGE!!!” …….

      Anyway, we got to the meat mixing part, and she told me ‘you know, you MUST taste – to see if the seasons are right, but don’t worry, just spit it out and wash your mouth out with soapy water….’ Seriously. lolololol I had no part of that raw meat tasting.

  46. Karen Steffens "Stofan" Western

    My dad turned 85 last November. I can’t wait until memorial day, so we can have another bacon fry. The last few years every time we have one, I wonder how many more will be left. My dad is the last of the family who still remember the old folks speaking in Hungarian. Most of them are buried in Toledo, I think at St. Peters.
    My great grandfather Josef and wife Gisella(Kruss) Stofan. Lived in toledo. I believe they were married there. My grandfather emigrated about 1910 at age 26 with his older brother Emil. i think my grandfather said they were from Magyar near Budapest.
    My grandfather could speak Hungarian, but my father could not speak or understand it. I wish I could locate some of my relatives from Toledo. I would love to visit Hungary some day to see the area where they may have lived.

  47. Love to continue to read the comments here. Makes me hungry…. By the way, I’ve solved the mystery of the pronunciation of the sausage we’ve talked about – that I thought was pronnounced Hu-da-ka (three syllables). It *is* spelled “Hurka” but the “r” is rolled. The rolled r sound to my ear (especially when done quickly – as my hungarian speaking family did) made it sound like a hard “d” and a third syllable.

  48. yes Michael, when I listen to my mom say it, she rolls the “r” – but I say it flat like hoo – d – ka

    I’d love to see Hungary some day as well! My parents have been there numerous times… good Lord willing…. part of my bucket list.

  49. Kenneth E.Kapasi

    Thanks for sharing this with the whole gang of gypies.Myself included it has been tradition for as long as i can remember ,and my son now 25 has his friends over in Alberta Canada caring on this great feast.And all cant wait until my son calls the day.We always used the gwal of the bacon it contains enough fat for the purpose thanks again and hope one day while i down in Ohio doing this you guys can come and join us .Kenneth:)

  50. Leann Toepfer

    Hi all! I stumbled across this blog looking for the Hungarian bacon fry tradition, and much to my surprise found MUCH more! I love it! My grandmother was Hungarian and I grew up hearing, smelling, eating and attempting to speak Hungarian. I remember her saying something like “ahn-na-na-eesh-ta-nay”, phonetic spelling of course. I think it was something said out of frustration. Lol I would like to put together a good old fashioned bacon fry this summer with my family. I remember them as a child. Even though the thought of fried bacon on bread with vegetables wasn’t that appealing as a child, I think it would be great to “resurrect” this almost forgotten tradition. I have recently ordered a Hungarian cookbook called “Hungarian Cookbook: Old World Recipes for New World Cooks, by Yolanda Nagy Fintor”. You see, I wasn’t left ANY recipes and have searched and searched for recipes online that I remember eating as a child. My favorite was Nokedli with “Pink gravy” (pork or veal, paprika, butter, sour cream and onion). Love that stuff! I think I have come close to making it taste like Grandma’s, but of course, not the real McCoy. : ( I would love to introduce my husband (who is half German and half Italian) and my son to some more “native” dishes. My Grandmother was a Pogany from Barton, Ohio. Her mother was a Nagy, originally from Ostfiaszonyfan, Hungary and her father was a Pogany, originally from Kazincbarcika, Hungary. I would be very interested to talk to others that might have part of the same family tree (and those that don’t have the same family tree also!). Sadly, most of my Hungarian relatives have passed. I just recently got a tattoo across my shoulders that reads “Ki a kicsit nem becsüli, a nagyot nem érdemli.” Which means if you don’t cherish the little, you don’t deserve the more. I thought that was a great saying, in any language! I look forward to hearing from anyone on here!

  51. Hi Hogy van. My name is Kenneth Kapasi,Live in windsor Ont.I too grew up with both parents being hungarian.I have been a certified chef since 1979 worked in the industry for 25 yrs.I grew up on the traditional hugarian peasent food,both my mom and grandmom where both good home cooks and could cook something out of nothing.if you have any problem introducing hungarian cusine to your family give me a shout i am sure i can help you out even with the mid evil days of cooking.Welcome to the site i find it very enjoyable here to help keep traditon alive.Kenneth

  52. Leann Toepfer

    Thanks Kenneth! I can’t wait for the Hungarian cookbook I ordered and I’ll be whipping up native meals for my boys! It gives me great pride to help try to keep our traditions alive! I think my Grandma would be proud!

  53. My mom is an awesome cook – I wish I was as talented with a spatula as I am with a paint brush 🙂

    She tries to tell us kids that we need to know how to make some of these dishes – its really the only way to pass down the tradition to our kids….

  54. I just happened on this link, another collection of Hungarian recipes –


    I clicked on Cabbage and Noodles – I had no idea this was considered a Hungarian dish? My mom used to make this (she explained, years later) when cash was low – aka end of month – because it was a cheap dish.

  55. Hey Patty i must say u stirred an interest here.I was going through your whole web site and it is amasing.Hope u well in the future and just keep doing what your doing .Tell you the truth i haven more fun posting pics and tellin stories.Kenneth

  56. And by the way if u see a litlle hungarin dog on my cymbalome his name is bookie.:)

  57. Leann Toepfer

    Thanks for the link Patty! I will check it out!

  58. Patty in english they call it Dulcimer,in hungarian it is a cymbalome.Its a instrument you play with cotton batten sticks.Sounds so good.My dad played in a band since he was 11 yrs old at weddings and clubs in the Detroit area.Google it and listen to some of the guys play if u have any Hungarian blood in you your hair should stand up or have goose bumps.:)Keneth

    • I learned something new, thanks Kenneth! What an awesome instrument – I just sent one youtube link to my sister – she has the gypsy blood running through her veins- even took belly dancing when she was younger – and has always been musically gifted – plays the piano, organ, harp etc – but never this cymbalome….

  59. betty hatzikian

    I CANT BELIEVE I FOUND THIS!! Been dreaming of szalonna but couldnt spell it so i just googled the ingredients and i found this sight!! I cant wait to get some slab bacon and get my daughters neighbors and friends to try this when we go camping this summer! I know they will love it! I miss my mom…she passed 2 years ago at the age of 92! Im determined to carry this tradition on in her name! I only did this once as a child but NEVER forgot it. My moms family lived in Clark Township NJ. We went there on vacation and went to the ‘shore’ (who knew it would have a TV show named after it). All the neighbors of every ethnic group would gather in my aunts back yard and build a fire and ‘shoot szalonna’. The parents would serve (in General Grants Drinking room) and we would all sit outside under the trees having a wonderful time. I remember fresh unsalted butter on fresh soft wonderful rye bread. What great times when the Polish, Italian, Hungarian families would all enjoy life together with their children. We are all so spread out now….all of the elders are gone now. Thanks so much for this site!!

    • Hi Betty, sorry to hear your mom passed – 92 is a great lifetime of memories, though, how blessed we all are to have had childhoods ROOTED in family and culture and tradition….

      cherishing it now ….

  60. My husband’s family has always done “Bacon Roasts” since he was a little boy and we’ve carried on the tradition with our sons who are now adults. We always put the szalonna on a stick and put a small whole onion on the stick next. We put salt on the rye bread along with strips of green pepper, green onions, and hot peppers. Then the fun part of letting the bacon drip on the bread and slicing off the bacon and onion as it cooks. We always try to see who has the smallest piece of bacon left on the stick. Red wine is also a must for this tradition. Our son in NC has asked us to bring szalonna with us when we go for a visit so they can share this tradition with friends.

    • Marsha, your name caught my eye – my maiden name was Fumich – my dad was Croatian, not Hungarian – but anytime I see the ‘mich’ endings on names, I feel like our ancestors came from the same general area!

      Interesting twist, roasting the whole onion too….

    • Patty, Somich is a Slovak name. My maiden name is Forthofer which is German, but my family has not followed any German traditions. I try to keep some of the traditions my husband’s mother and grandmother (Toth), like Hungarian Easter Sausage and
      Sirecz (Easter Cheese)a traditional Slovak Easter Cheese served with the Easter meal. This is served sliced and cold. It tastes like a sweet custard.

  61. I’m also a 100% , 3rd generation Hungarian (father Batcho (or Bas’co in Hungary), mother Nagy) from So. Bend, IN, now living in Seattle, WA., after spending years at Cape Canaveral, Fla. working on Apollo 11 thru 17 moon landings & Shuttle. I also was looking up the spelling of sult szalonna and found this terrific website. I found the sult szalonna nearly a “religious ceremony” as listed in “The Cuisine of Hungary” by George Lang. Apparently roasting bacon exactly as you describe goes back to nearly the first centruy in Hungary! So, you’ve all been practicing a Hungarian tradition that goes back nearly to the time of Christ! Very cool! That history / cookbook of Hungary lists most all the old Hungarian recipes and I still make many of them at 64, taught to me by my mother and grandmothers. Just made Chicken Paprikas for 20 the other day! It’s easy, essentially homemade chicken soup with roux added to thicken a bit, add lots of sour cream and sweet paprika. The Bende website mentioned above also has Tarhoyna imported from Hungary. Much easier to make than buy. $2 / bag + shipping. Simple to prepare, slowly brown Tarhoyna noodle nuggets in oil (traditionally rendered chicken fat), then cover with chicken stock, bring to a boil & place in the oven for 30-min. , add more stock & repeat. The greatest!!
    I have several Hungarian Cookbooks from the schools, churches back in Indiana and my mother/grandmothers recipes. The “Cuisine” book has all those recipes you’ve lost and would like to recreate…..at least one or two versions similar to your old family recipes. My wife bought me an “Iron Chef” apron and customized it with Iron Chef Hungarian.
    Yeah for roasted bacon, bread & onions!!
    Great link….glad to see there’s still a few Hungarians out there.

    • Andy, how did I miss your post? 100% Hungarian – I think that ranks you pretty high up there 🙂 I bet your cooking is fabulous – chicken paprika is my favorite – not for the chicken, but for those fabulous dumplings, swimming in creamy paprika sprinkled sauce!

    • Nagy is in my family tree. My great Aunt married one. Email if you are interested.

  62. Holy moly! I cannot believe all of the information in this thread! Prompted by the concern over the lack of Szalonna in the area (my family also goes to Dearborn Market for our supply), I decided what I could find online. This is amazing!

    Just a couple years ago I did a similar search and found almost nothing. What a turnaround. It may take me a week to read everything here but it’s very exciting! It feels like I have been wandering around in a world of people who had no idea what i was talking about, then BLAM! I find my tribe! And they are all speaking my language!

    The thing I find interesting is how my family tradition for a Szalonna Sute is different than the others. It seems that everyone else makes it a cook it yourself kinda thing, like marshmallows. In my family, one person (typically the patriarch of the family) is responsible for holding the Szalonna over the fire and distributing drippings over a baking sheet covered with rye bread. We then add sliced onion (not chopped) to the majority of pieces, add more drippings, then add sliced tomato to a percentage of the pieces with onion, then more drippings. Once that tray is sufficiently lubed up, we put it out for everyone to help themselves. On the side we have an electric skillet with fried fresh Kolbas and peppers (sweet banana, Hungarian hot wax, and a couple green bell peppers), which you can add to your “piece of Szalonna.”

    My dad likes his with everything, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and Kolbas. My mom likes hers with onion, tomato, Kolbas, and little pepper. My sister likes hers “plain” with Kolbas, maybe a little pepper. I like mine with onion, Kolbas, and hot peppers.

    Also, we have this for breakfast. I once worked with a woman who’s family had Szalonna as a post dinner snack, in the evenings. No i don’t know about you, but when I have Szalonna at 9:30 am, the last thing I do when I put my head on the pillow later that night, is burp up a little Szalonna flavor. So I can’t imagine what it would be like to go to bed having just consumed Szalonna only an hour or two earlier. Of course now that i think of it, my normal posture having just ingested several pieces of Szalonna is prone and dozing off. It’s quite possible a niece piece of Szalonna before bed would work like three Unisom pills.

    We just had our first Szalonna of the year this past Sunday and we are officially out of Szalonna. I am panicking a bit as Dearborn Market says they have not been getting it in. Thus, I want to learn where to get it, or failing that, how to make it myself. It is clear that the biggest problem will be finding fat pigs.

    • If you have any problem finding bacon come over to Windsor and on Walker road there is Europan Deli it s called.Just ask for some cured Jawal Bacon ,but if you tell them what your need it for they will su[pply u with all you need.Or we have City Market right across the street if you are interested in veiwing.Have fun.Ken

    • this part cracked me up Dan –

      … wandering around in a world of people who had no idea what i was talking about, then BLAM! I find my tribe! And they are all speaking my language!

      I am as amazed as you that this post continues to draw interest – its pretty cool isn’t it? I do feel like part of a tribe!

      We always roasted around noon – circled around a family get together, summers, nice weather, nice fire….

  63. My husband and I were just in NC at our son’s and daughter-in-laws house. A bunch of their friends came on Saturday and we did a bacon roast with them. At first I think it scared them, but once they got the hang of it they really enjoyed it. We made some other Hungarian recipes like Half Moons, POGÁCSA, and Palacsintas. It was great and they thanked us for sharing some traditions with them.

    • are Half Moon’s cookies? I mentioned what you made to my mom and she thought they were…with almond flavor?

      • Half Moons are considered a cookie, but have the texture of a pound cake. No almond flavor, but the top is sprinkled with sugar, nuts and lemon zest. They were a hit!

  64. KE Cholewinski

    OMG ! This collection of remembrances is wonderful ~ Since the early 80’s my sisters and I have been on a never ending quest for the holy grail of our family picnics: ‘shootney'(LOL) szalonna . Sadly our nirvana ended abruptly when the Drotos Brothers Hungarian Meats in Black Rock (Fairfield CT ) stopped smoking this cut of bacon the old fashioned way – no thanks to the town of Fairfield and their dang !! regulations. The late Miller’s Provisions in Stratford tried to pass off a similar but inferior product for a while but it could not compete with the old fashioned szalonna the Drotos Brothers produced. So at this point we’ve been without the real thing for 20+ years and try as we might to forget the sizzle and the mouth watering aromas of the smoke, sweet anise from the caraway and super fresh scent of sliced peppers, the closest I’ve gotten to the real thing is the memories brought on by this BLOG !!! Backatcha Patri and Rich S ! – I so miss that greasy slice of rye piled high with slices of green peps, onions, tomato and garden fresh cucumbers – it hurts !!! ps: miss my parents too ! Thanks to them I have this wonderful memory.

  65. Hi again ,time of year to do spring cleaning.My girlfriend asked me to cut out her rose of sharon bushes.In the mean time the branches where so nice i widdled a few of them down,and proceeded to city makrket in Clevland.Picked up a few pounds of bacon and guess what we did instead of the spring cleaning,Yep right and sat out all night drinking and listening to old hungarian music.Have a good one Pattie and friends.

    • well, that sounds WAY better than Spring cleaning 🙂

      On my list of to-do’s is to dig out old pictures of years past bacon fry’s and post them. If anyone has photos, and wants to share them, you could send them my way and I could add them on – wouldnt that be cool? we could do a VISUAL post! it’s on my list…..

  66. Pingback: Bacon Szalonna Fry – A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words… | Fabulously Finished

  67. https://fabulousfinishes.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/bacon-szalonna-fry-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/

    thats the link to the new photo post – if you send photos, please try to send them as jpg or gif files. wordpress doesnt like bmp format.

  68. Linda Toth-Winterkorn

    Füstölt Szalonna-that is the name of the fabulous bacon slab cooked over an open fire, drippings pressed onto rye bread covered with onions, peppers, garlic, salt, pepper and Hungarian paprika (is there any other kind?!)
    We are having a family reunion next month and I am in charge of the Szabados Family 1st Annual Reunion Cookbook. The book would not have been complete without the Füstölt Szalonna recipe in it! As kids we would crowd around Grampa Szabados as he cooked the bacon over the fire. I am thrilled we kept this ancient tradition alive. Now that the recipe is in the book, our relatives from the U.S., Canada and Australia will be able to take it home and keep the tradition going!

  69. Way to go Linda .Just wondering if this book is out on the shelves>?Have fun.

  70. Pingback: Global Table Adventure | Hungarians like their bacon on a stick

  71. Discovered this site while on another,”Global Adventures”. I am enjoying reading all the comments. I’m 3rd generation Hungarian and remember growing up with all the various foods and traditions that everyone is talking about even down to the cuss words.(I laughed when I read that one). Anyhow, we would walk to a park near us in the early evening,my grandmother with her basket of “tools” with her,consisting of bacon,onions , rye bread, salt, pepper, special sticks,knife and paper and matches,wearing her babushka and apron. We would be there for a couple hours, when we left, we smelled like bacon grease and have black rings around our mouths. She always had that basket on the ready. I was just to a Hungarian reunion last Sunday, and the feeling of being part of a tribe is very much a part of our culture. I’m going to be having a Szalonna fest soon,in the early evening. Have to carry on the tradition.

  72. Going to have a 80 birthday party for Mom on Sunday.She wants bacon fry.Will post some pics later.

    • wow 80, Ken, my dad just celebrated his 80th a couple weeks ago…. hes not the ‘hunky’ though, but still a good breed – Croatian 🙂 look forward to your pictures…. we had no bacon fry this holiday 😦

  73. Hi, My family has been gathering several times each summer for years and years for szalonna. It’s getting very hard to find the right kind of bacon. If anyone knows where I might find some in the Detroit area, I would love to know. The old Hungarian market in Delray, Detroit’s Hungarian neighborhood, has been gone for years. Most places where I’ve looked have no idea what I’m talking about. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  74. Wow what a marvelous find by my daughter looking up how to spell Szalonna so she could post a picture from our “shootney” party from last night! I am a 3rd generation hungarian. I know by my last name I sound German but that is only by my marriage!! My grandmother’s family – Kerekes – came from Hungary and settled in the Toledo Ohio area. Our Kerekes Family Reunion has been gathering on the 2nd Sunday in August for over 50 years!! We all look forward to the Szaloona! We host the family reunions on our large family farm here in norther Ohio. I have been purchasing the bacon/bread/beer etc. for this reunion for many years now. The closest bacon I have been able to find that is like the bacon from Tackas in Toledo is called jowl bacon. You can usually order it through a local butcher or meat market. Sometimes Kroger and other larger grocery stores can get it in for you if you ask. For those in northern ohio Tanks in Elmore Ohio also sells the jowl bacon daily. There is a difference between the jowl bacon and regular slab bacon from which we are used to eating sliced bacon. If you have the opportunity try jowl bacon for your next “shootney!”

    There was a last name of a poster on this site, Olah. The name reminded me as a kid I remember a relative Bert Olah that came to our reunion, he had the perfect mustache!! Funny how things pop at you from your childhood!!

    Bob on this site has hit on nearly every hungarian dish I was raised on over the years. I had my grandmother teach me all of her recipes and I make several of her pastries to this day! Machos, Dios, csoroge, hungarian torte etc. My most favorite meal is pigs in a blanket! Cabbage, meat, rice and tomatoes kind of pigs in a blanket! Not little hot dogs in a crescent roll!!!

    Thank you to my daughter for finding this site. Look forward to returning.

    • Hey Barb you can post your pics through email to Patty and she will post them for you.We just had ours yesterday for my Moms 80th birthday.So much fun.:)

    • Welcome Barb! Better watch out, or you’ll have some extra visitors at your annual Northern Ohio fry’s! Yes, if you have photos, email them to me at pattyhenning (at sign) wowway.com and i’ll post them for you –

  75. Tiffany Bugyi (maiden name)

    As I read this thread, I have tears in my eyes. Today (4th of July) would be my Nanny’s birthday. She was an Irish woman but my Pop-Pop was Hungarian and that’s what she cooked. In the summer, we would have cookouts and start the day with Bacon Bread. Not the healthiest breakfast but oh so good. Last summer my cousins had a picnic and had this. When I walked in to the house, they were frying the bacon and I said, “It smells like my childhood in here!” I can remember sitting out in my aunt and uncle’s backyard and Nanny would be cutting onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Uncle Joe-Joe would be frying the bacon. We had these little metal ‘cups’ on skewers that had a top and bottom. You put the bacon in the cups and then put it over the grill. As the bacon melted, you poured the grease on the bread. Nanny had to make each person’s bread as they liked it. Some liked all the vegetables, but others, like me, only ate certain ones- peppers only, peppers and onions, tomatoes and peppers, etc. It was SO GOOD. She also used to make chicken paprikash (with sour cream, paprika, and homemade dumplings), hudka (liver sausage- smells the entire house up), bean soup which we called pa-so-levash. That had a ham hock in it and beans, sour cream, and paprika. She was an excellent cook. My Pop-Pop’s parents came to NJ from Hungary. We called them Nud-Papa and Nud-Mama. Nud-Mama made homemade noodles and chocolates and sold them from her row home. I remember my dad telling me she had noodles drying all over the house. There is a large Hungarian-Slovak population in Roebling, NJ where they lived. These are such happy memories for me! This is a great thread!!! Thank you all for making my day.

  76. Thanks Patty looks good too.I shared it on facebook also got a lot of comments on it there.Also asking me where i found your blog on your home business.

  77. Our family still craves and cooks Szalonna! It is getting harder and harder to find anything that comes close to the Szalonna of our childhood, but we search on! And our tradition is to have a shot of whiskey after partaking to, as my father always said, “cut the grease”! Here’s to wonderful family memories…

  78. Brett Mitchell

    My wonderful grandmother (Karpani) passed the recipe for both szalonna and paprikash(sp) to my mom, who has passed it on to me. All I can say is, yummmm. My family loves it and I have passed it on to my three children. Paprikash is the dish of chicken and dumplings with that delicious paprika flavoring… I am proudly 1/4 hungarian and am glad this culture has so much flavor!

  79. Brett Mitchell

    And I forgot about the Kifli’s. I doubt I am spelling any of these dishes correctly, but that is how they look on my recipe cards. Ha.

  80. Pingback: Hungarian Greasy Bread « More Thyme Than Dough

  81. Pingback: Hungarian Greasy Bread « More Thyme Than Dough

  82. one guy said st.peter’s church in toledo. that his family was buried from. i think it was st. stephen’s church . in the birmingham section of toledo, not far from tony paco’s

  83. sorry my computer burpped. my family just had a shootney saloona tonight. i am 100% hunky. both sets of granparents came over on the boat. my grankids and their friends love it. they love also the fact that we still have traditions. most families don’t. family is everything. my mom always said when you leave this world all you leave is memories, so make ’em good ones.

  84. Hi Patty Last bacon fry of the old year! 2011.Happy new year to you and all your family.

  85. I can easily go along with that

  86. my dad was from hungary and an excellent cook. szollana was a favorite in the summer. we used to get meats from steve szabo in delray. i wish i could find some hurka like he used to make, dearborn sausage makes some but it is a bit too wet for me. they will ship to anywhere in mich. they told me. i have seen szollona in their stores and it is like what i remember having.

  87. Thank u. I am happy 4 those of u who can enjoy family. Albeit jealous as well. Greasy Bread. ……….. truly miss simple happy times. I will make it a point 2 share this deliscious fun traditional morsel with my children. Live on! (With tasty pork drippings!)

  88. Kathy Galambos Peter

    I’m also a 100% , 3rd generation Hungarian (father Galambos- mother Szarka) My mother’s family settled in Northern Jersey near the Zinc Mines.(Ogdensburg) Yes – I can remember that it was always called schut (shoot) ne szalonna. There was always a huge Szalonna Roast on Labor day when the family gathered in NJ. Everyone roasted their own bacon on special apple wood sticks from my Grandpa’s orchards. The drippings were put on big thick slices of bakery seeded rye bread. All the vegetables came from my Grandpa’s gardens, and everything was sliced, not chopped-onions, hot hungarian peppers, cukes, green peppers, tomatoes, radishes. The best part was when an adult sliced off some of the crisped Szalonna onto the bread and vegetables. All of my Hungarian relatives are gone now except for one uncle who just turned 90! I still have wonderful memories of those family times. Over the years we have treated our family and friends to this tradition and they are hooked. I am constantly asked when the next Szalonna Roast will be. When I do have one, it’s on Labor day! It is very hard to get a true piece of Szalonna. We used to have Hungarian butchers in our area who carried the good stuff. If anyone knows where you can order true Hungarian Szalonna, please let me know.

    One of the best things my Mom did was give each one of her four daughters a thin green Hungarian Cookbook with all the recipes from our wonderful Hungarian Moms. It was printed from a Hungarian Reformed Church somewhere in Ohio. Even though Mom has been gone for almost 12 years, I can open this cookbook and enjoy her fabulous cooking and baking.

    I grew up hearing Hungarian and can speak a few words. My Mother did not teach us because she and her friends would “gossip” in Hungarian and we were clueless. Wish I knew the language better.

    I was blessed with traveling to Budapest for work several years ago. I loved being in the country my family came from, and it was amazing that I understood many of the words I heard.

    I would love to hear back from others on their “Hungarian” family memories.

    • that hits home when you say ‘All of my Hungarian relatives are gone now …’ – I think many of us can relate to that…. your cookbook sounds like something to be cherished –

  89. so good to read from fellow hunkys enjoying szalonna i eat it as much as possible nothing like a good piece of bacon a good big glass of whiskey a cig and some good gyspy music

  90. Several people have asked where there is a good Hungarian Butcher and I know of two in the US. One is in Toledo on the East Side and here\’s a picture I took some time ago and some info: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mixpix/2234687359/

    The only other one I know of is on the Pearl Blossom Hwy (HWY 138) Just west of Apple Valley in California. Take I-215 North / West and get off on the 138. Go through the Cajon pass and keep going until you see the place on the left. You can\’t miss it as it\’s the only building in the desert!

  91. there is a place in passiac n.j. that is the best called hungarian meat market. it is out of this world he has the best slab bacon ever ,he makes everthing

  92. Its not slab bacon your looking for its smoked Jawal Bacon u have to ask for it.they will make for you.

  93. It’s remarkable to go to see this site and reading the views of all friends on the topic of this article, while I am also keen of getting familiarity.

  94. OK…Before I tell you what I want to say, I rember the hot summer days of the early 70’s in Roebling NJ, with the grandfathers and uncles sitting in front of the fire all afternoon, burning old fence pickets (painted with lead paint, no doubt), and drinking Schaefer beer. they “shot the bacon” all day long. It’s hard to find the right bacon now…and sometimes, time isn’t on your side to prepare this “the right way”…What I’m about to say may shock you..and my Grandpop is either rolling in his grave right now, or thinking “Damn – this kid is smart!” but I’ve found the way to “shoot the bacon” on even the coldest days, with no wood fire, far from any good Hungarian butcher shops. PLEASE – don’t put a curse on me!!: In Georgia, fatback is easy to find. It’s not very thick, it has very little meat, and is covered with salt. But…if you rinse it very well, you can dice it up and fry it up in an iron skillet (or even microwave it in a glass cup)..and add a few drops of liquid smoke to the hot grease. I know – it sounds pathetic, but trust me…it’s tastes as authentic as you will remember, and it will only run you about $4 to try it!!!

  95. HI there, an extended family member who was Hungarian had us eating this many years ago. It seemed strange to us, until we ate it…it was amazing!!!!
    When I was little my mother did an oven version of this that we called “Toothpick Sandwiches”. Bread, sliced cheese, tomato, and raw bacon held in place with toothpicks. Broil until cooked, but not burnt! The toothpicks kept the bacon from curling up too much.
    Thank you for sharing your family memories 🙂

  96. Thank you for sharing your pictures & story about szalonna. My father was Hungarian & szalonna was a staple at all family picnics. I still have my great grandfathers szalonna screwers from the 1920’s. These days we refer to it as a heart attach on bread. Lol

  97. Hi Patty looking for some help on this kitchen table of mine.Its a good strong table and fits the kitchen very well.Its tiled on the top which is cracked.Wondering is there any kind of paint i can cover this with that will be strong enough not to scratch .

  98. i know this is a very old post but i found this while trying to find a place to buy of all things szalonna. what your describing here is called Sutni Szalona (pronounced shut-knee sul-ah-nah). i worked at delray market when i was a young adult. i can tell you all about it.what we sold for sutni was a dry cured and smoked back fat bacon. and let me tell you them old hunkies couldnt buy enough of it. they knew a great thing when they saw it. but we also made and sold Abalt Szalonna which is a wet sured and boiled bellly bacon that was covered in paprika. now you dont have to “cure’ either but we did because we needed shelf life out of it and the sutni needed cure so we could smoke it for extra flavor. ive been to more than a few hungarian get togethers over the 6 yrs i worked at the market plus my step dad is hungaran and we live in allen park,also known as little Delray lmao. anyway i thought maybe youd like this information

    • Hey Frank this is Ken i also posted pics of our bacon fry’s on Patty page.I do make my own Abalt Szalonna and Jawal bacon and also make Hungarian sausage.If you like you can view some of my videos on you tube making pork belly and double smoking it.Its so good have the Hungarian Butcher in Cleveland Market asking me to make it for him.search (golddigge321) to view the videos.

  99. Ken i made all the sausages, bacons, and hams plus i ran the smokehouse at Delray Market in Detroit for close to 6 yrs. it was the most enjoyable (and laborious) job i ever held. i was learning the butchering side of the meat business when i was forced to seek better employment. the one sausage i didnt enjoy making was the Hurka. we no longer have a true hungarian market here anymore that i know of. if we did id offer at least my know how to them since i am no longer able to work. my mom married into a hungarian family and i worked for a hungarian so its almost like im hungarian at times. i love the food

  100. I’m writing a setting of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in verse, to tell at a Halloween Party this fall. By some quirk, I wound up setting it in Holloko. Now I’m quizzing a neighbor constantly about things Hungarian, and last night it was about food (even sorcerers and their apprentices have to eat!).

    She directed me to your post. I had already written this:

    A meal was ready. I would eat whatever I could get,
    But something in the smell of dinner cooking in the room –
    Its unfamiliar essences and flavors, a perfume
    Of otherwordliness unfolding, pushing back the gloom,
    Invited me the open up my eyes.
    I knew whatever came might be a staggering surprise.

    …but I may just have to go back and squeeze szalonna into the evening.

    Thanks for this post!

  101. I love this! My family had gatherings just like this, everyone loved summer vacation at the lake. We simply called the bacon fry “grease bread.” My grandpa was in charge of the grease, he’d sit fireside sweating for hours while everyone lined up with their bread waiting for the drippings. We’d have an assembly line of thinly sliced veggies to top it off, what great memories. Thanks for sharing!

  102. We used to call it “shoot nee” salinaw. Haha. We got lazy & just fry thick cut bacon over the stove & dip the bread in there. My dad probably rolls over in his grave every time we do it!!! Haha

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  104. What wonderful memories! Please don’t take any of these spellings as accurate, but our grandparents called it Grease Bread or Jeedoush Kenyed as well. Saluna, to them, was the paprika cured bacon which was and is wonderful. We had Jewish rye bread, with or without seeds, which was topped with chopped green onions (scallions), and as the bacon was cooked, it was dabbed onto the onions and bread, partially cooking the onions. When there was enough grease to make it tasty, a bit of salt was spread over the onion, and we folded the bread over like a taco and ate it. When the bacon was thoroughly cooked, it was given to the eldest adults to eat. Slab bacon just isn’t like it use to be, but one can find Hungarian delis online that they can buy this stuff from for a price.
    I remember the Hurdka too (Grandma said “hoodka”). It was meat and blood and cooked rice in a natural casing. It was cooked and cured somehow, and could be eaten right like that without any additional cooking.
    Oh the memories, making my mouth water. LOL

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  107. Frank, my Grandpa and Dad both worked at Delray supermarket, in Delray and when it moved to Allen Park

    • hi john i remember you. i loved your dad. he woud always threaten to chop off my fingers if i put my hand,on his chopping block. he taught me how to cut up a chicken. and he was surgical with that cleaver of his. he could hit the exact same spot 50 times without missing, ask me how i found that out. he was a great man and 1 of my favorite friends. i used to visit him and your mom at there house when he got sick, even after i left the market. last time i saw him was in the early summer of 1991 when my first child was born. i only live a block over from there. everytime i drive past the house i get flooded with great emories of talking with john before the store opened everyday in his car. i really miss those people ( john, miklos, mary, mickey, billy, shiela). the old store is a karate school now. i wonder if the roof still leaks like it did.

  108. One more data point — you can get a number of Hungarian sausages and meats here in Milwaukee. Karl’s Country Market out in Brookfield has them, including the szalonna from Bende in Chicago.

  109. Sue Voight (Antal)

    Wow, came across this blog when researching sulina. My brother wants to start an annual “Antal” hungarian picnic for our family. Reading the comments sure brought back lots of memories from visits with the grandparents and cousins in Delray. My mother also said “Yoy, eesh-teh-nehm!” alot, but not sure what it even means. She also use to say “whol letta” (sp?) alot, does anyone know what that means? Good information on how to how to buy the szalonna, little did i know, i was going to get salt pork. We sure need to bring back the Hungarian traditions with our families!

    • Eesh te nehm….means ‘come here!”, as in “its ready”, like calling you on for dinner

    • Hi there,
      The way You say it sounds like:”Yoy, eesh-teh-nehm!” – ” jaj Istenem!” “Oh my God!”
      I’m from Hungary and live here in California since 2000.
      So funny to read about “sütni való szalonna”, “hurka”, “kolbász”.
      I know exactly how to say them in Hungarian because I speak the language fluently. I can not say the same of my English :))))
      If you need any help with translating I can help!

  110. Oh how cool! Been looking for years for the needed “pork” and have tried everything…last year actually bought 40 lbs of pork belly…thought it was the right stuff…NOT! My grandparents were both from Hungary and remember tradition in yearly “parties”. I have tried to keep up with my own “greasy bread” parties but have always had trouble finding meat. My uncle owned a butcher shop many years ago so I assume that is where meat came from. Thank you for letting me show my husband that I am not crazy!

    • It’s about a 2″ x 4-6″ hunk of smoked slab bacon stuck on a stick. You can also put little slits in each side to expose more of the inside while cooking which will then allow the exuding more of the fat.
      Yum for making the grease bread, and then we all fought over the crispy cooked hunk after the fat all rendered. LOL

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  113. My grandmother was raised in a home that spoke Magyar, both of her parents came here in the early 1900s. She made this dish for the family that was something her mother made. Around her house it was called “poochy machy” (and I am spelling it how it sounds, poochy like pooch-e and machy like macho but with the e sound at the end instead of the o sound). I was wondering if anyone may know what I am talking about, or maybe able to ask someone they know about it. I would like to try and make it for my family but I am having a terrible time figuring it out. It seems to me that it was a potato dumpling or it was served with potato dumplings. Any help would be appreciated and you can message me right though my Facebook.

  114. my father made a su;;inaw iron, he took a tong and welded 2 metal plates to it. the plates had grooves in it m,so the bacon would’nt slide out.it had pipes to extend the handles.now a days they don’t make the bacon as fatty as they used to.so if you go to a meat packing place , and ask for jowl bacon it works great.if you ask for the bacon he’ll know your a hunky lmao

  115. If you ever get the chance to visit Roebling N.J., check out Szucs market. only open on Saturday mornings but John makes the best Hungarian Sausages and bacon.

  116. Wow… such memories! I run a small meat seasoning biz now, and many of the products are a direct descendant from my memories of the Hunky traditions. I make the kolbasz, kocsonia, abalt szonalla, all I can remember or look up. BBQ/Smoking is my main laine but I soo remember… check out MadHunkyMeats. com :{)

  117. Maureen tucker

    Oh my goodness…My mom and aunt and their two older Hungarian friends would do this at least twice a summer. My Irish father and uncle would drink beer and shake their heads. They were always referred to (lovingly) as The Chunky Hunkys. Thank you for this great memory!! Will print and share with my cousins and sister!!!!

  118. Szallona sütés (shoot ey sh) is the Hungarian translation for “bacon fry.” I lived in Hungary for two years and loved this tradition. Enjoyed the post! Thank you!

  119. I am Alex (Sandor) Paracsi., & I am 100% Hungarian on both sides all the way back to the Magyars from Asia., & Atilla , the Hun. My mother was a fabulous cook, & I do miss many of her dishes, but she did teach my wife a few of my favorites.I am in Atlanta now, since ’73., but when we lived in Ohio ., we had our Szallonya Sutne quite often with the Steve Bodnar family in Avon Lake, who started this whole” Bacon by Hungarians “”message…Trust me…..if you are healthy & sip some good whiskey with the grease -soaked bread, with onions, tomatoes & peppers on it , There is Nothing better !! Steve & I are now going on 77 yr. young, & I want to do it again !

  120. I’m 73 years young and can remember way back to when I was just a kid when we used to get together hith our Hungarian friends and eat “greasy bread”. We still do it every few years. Don’t forget the cold beer. Between the grease, onions, and beer, don’t forger the manufacture of gas.

  121. I’ve been in Chi-Cago 66 yrs. All dead; but I have eaten many of our “real” dishes! Can’t speak; but can cook! The old Balogh end of tribe would do this bacon roasting ordeal in the woods, Maybe memorial dayish. It smelled primordial and exciting. One aunt turns and says” Never eat this!”. It will kill you; as she continued to devour, bread soaked; and cut off rosey slivers of bacon; and onions, etc. Needless to say I never found enough mad Hungarians to commune with. But; I make maybe 60% of dishes found in Szabolcs province: Paprikas, Porgelt; Hurka; Kapusta; Pogacsa; ad neauseum. Bende in Illinois does have really yummy Kolosvari bacon. A great referenjce site is Eva Toth’s “Hungarian Tidbits” produced on line from UK. She has corroborated many thoughts I developed before a spoken language. I AM PASSING MANY OF THESE DOWN TO MY CHILDREN; AND GRANDCHILD “iris”. They know US. Obtained a good sill and will make plum brandy someday. ISTEN E LTESHEN!

  122. Oh my gosh I so remember having these gatherings with my family when I was younger. I loved the bacon fat drippings on the bread with veggies … great memories and so yummy . I sure miss those days and the family no longer with us !

  123. I grew up eating this at Aunt’s house in New Jersey when I was a kid in the early 60’s. I thought it was a delicacy, and then I found out that this is what got a lot of people through the Depression when meat was scarce.

  124. I know this is an old post, but I just found it an enjoyed it thoroughly. My grandmother lived in Woodbridge NJ and she would always get the Hurka from a church in Carteret where the ladies made it every winter. She was a great cook and I have her recipes for stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikash. I would love to find some Hurka like what the Carteret church ladies made. I tried years ago to order some from a place in Colorado and it really wasn’t the same. If anyone knows a place to try, please let me know – I don’t even know which church she used to get it from, but boy do I miss it. I live in Florida now but would be worth paying the next day shipping if its near as good as I remember. One other thing. She used to make a dish with wide egg noodles, cottage cheese and bacon – anyone know what that is called in Hungarian? We just used to call it noodles, cottage cheese and bacon. Thanks everyone for reviving some great memories! Felicia

    • Hi Felicia!
      Those noodles were called “túrós tészta” but when they were made of square shaped noodles and cottage cheese, sour cream and fried bacon bits on top ( some people like it with feta cheese instead of cottage cheese, like I do😊) that square noodle called “túrós csusza”.
      Also if you can buy stuff online than you can try fabko.com. They got everything you might like. Just like “hurka”. I did buy from them a few times and they are good.
      I hope this helps!

  125. Chris Fairchild

    Is there a oil or dressing that you mix with the chopped up vegetables in the bowl .

  126. I know this is an old post too, but it is hard for me not to write. My paternal grandfather (Alexander Daroczy, or Daroczy Sandor) was the minister at the Hungarian Reformed Church in Carteret that some of you have mentioned, with his wife, my grandmother (Irene). My sister and I spent every summer and Christmas vacation in Carteret in the 50’s & 60’s with my maternal grandparents (and went to church on Sunday as well, of course : ))
    It was at these grandparents’ house that we had zsiros kenyer pretty much every weekend in summer, and I was here looking it up as I’ve been having a hard time explaining it to my husband (the poor fellow is only half Hungarian, a total but wonderful coincidence : )). Clearly, like many of you, I’ve had too long of a time living without it, and it was time to re-start the tradition.
    But having found a group of 2nd, 3rd & maybe even 4th generation Hungarian (Magyar) people from Carteret, or with connections to Carteret, I have a totally unrelated question: Do any of you remember Vargas’ hot dog and hamburger stand in Woodbridge? I miss it dearly, not surprisingly as it’s probably been out of business for ages, but could find nothing on the internet.
    Finally, I am totally amazed (and happy) to hear that, of all possible places in America, there are people in Carteret who are still trying to keep the good, traditional and unique food sources going, and that Carteret is so much in the memory of some of you, as it is in mine.

    • I haven’t replied lately to this posting, I love that it stays alive with good old hunky blood that find it via googling etc…. I had to google Carteret just to see where it was, New Jersey right? It says theres 4.5% Hungarian population in that city – ranks #215 in the US. cool site, http://zipatlas.com/us/city-comparison/percentage-hungarian-population.htm a lot of West Virginia (my dad was from there but he is Croatian not Hungarian), Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey – #100 is Allen Park Mi, where my great grandma/grandpa, both off the boat from Hungary, resided.

  127. Does anyone know what to do to smoked bacon to make it paprika szalonna? My father in law showed me how about 60 yrs ago…and I forgot what has to be done? I know he had it in a pot of water and garlic, don’t know how long needed. Help! Need to know fast…

  128. I remember as kid going to my aunts house with family the kids would swim and the adults would cook up the spec. My aunt and uncle are gone now. So i went shopping with my wife today and we bought every thing for spec we are doing it today for the first time. I have alot of good memories of this dish and cant wait to start new memories with my family in alabama.

  129. Zoltán János Szabó-Nagy

    Bogrács Gulyás (Kettle Gulyas)

    Makes: 8-servings
    2-medium sized onions (közepes hagyma) 3-heaping tablespoons of Szeged édes paprika vagy csípős paprika
    2-tablespoons extra virgin olive oil* 3-medium sized ripe tomatoes (paradicsom) or one 28 oz (411g) diced tomatoes.
    2½ to 3 pounds beef chuck or round (marhahús), cut to ¾-inch cubes 2-spicy green Anaheim or Hungarian hot peppers (csípős zöldpaprika), de-seeded and cut into thin rings
    ½ pound beef heart (marhaszív) (optional), cut into ¾-inch cubes 2-green bell peppers (zöldpaprika), cubed into small pieces
    2-garlic cloves (gerezd fokhagyma) finely chopped or crushed 1-pound potatoes (burgonyával)
    1-teaspoon caraway seeds (köménymag) crush or fine grind Dumplings
    Sea Salt
    * Original recipe calls for Kolozsvári szalonna (bacon lard) same measurement (4-5 slices)

    1. Peel onions and chop into coarse pieces. Finely chop or crush garlic. Melt/heat olive oil or lard, your preference in a heavy 6 to 8 quart Dutch oven. Saute garlic and onions in the heated olive oil (melted lard). Heat should be low in order not to brown the onions and garlic.
    2. When the onions become glossy, add beef and beef heart. Stir so that during this part of the process, which should last about 10 to 15 minutes, the meat will be sautéed the onions and garlic.
    3. Meanwhile, crush caraway seeds and add a little salt; use the flat side of a heavy knife to crush the caraway seeds (I use a Braun coffee mill).
    4. Take the kettle from the heat. Stir in the paprika, stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after the paprika is absorbed, add 1 quart of warm water (adding the original recipe of 2½ quarts of warm water makes the gulyas a soup, I prefer it be thicker). Note that cold water toughens meat if you add it while the meat is frying.
    5. Replace cover on kettle over low heat and cook for about 1 to 1½ hours.
    6. While the braising is going on, peel the tomato then cut into ¾ inch dice (I use the canned tomatoes and pick out each tomato and do the same and save the juice which will be added to the gulyas later.
    7. After meat has been braised for about 1 to 1½ hours (the time depends on the cut of meat), add the cut up tomato and green peppers and enough water to give a soupy consistency (I use the tomato juice that I’ve saved from the can. Add a little salt. Simmer slowly for another 30 to 45 minutes.
    8. Add potatoes, and cook the gulyas till done (I add a teaspoon of hot Szeged paprika as I prefer my gulyas a bit spicy)
    9. Cook the dumplings in the stew. See recipe below.

    Recept Bogrács Gulyás

    1. Héjúak hagymát és chop durva darabokra. Finomra vágjuk vagy összetörni fokhagymát. Melt / hő olívaolaj vagy zsír, igényét egy nagy 6-8 liter holland sütő. Saute fokhagymát és a hagymát a fűtött olívaolaj (olvasztott zsír). Heat alacsonyan kell tartani, hogy ne barna a hagymát és a fokhagymát.
    2. Amikor a hagyma lesz fényes, add marhahús és a marhahúsból szív. Keverjük úgy, hogy ebben a részében a folyamat, amely tart körülbelül 10 és 15 perc, a húst a pirított hagymát és fokhagymát.
    3. Eközben összetörni köménymaggal, és adjunk hozzá egy kevés sót, használja a lapos oldalán egy nagy kést, hogy leverjék a köménymagot (használjon Braun kávédarálóban).
    4. Vegye ki a kannát a tűzről. Keverje hozzá a paprikát, keverjük gyorsan egy fakanállal. Közvetlenül azután, hogy paprika felszívódik, adjunk hozzá 1 liter meleg vizet (felveszi az eredeti recept a 2 ½ liter meleg vízben teszi a gulyás leves, én inkább ez legyen vastagabb). Ne feledje, hogy hideg víz toughens húst, ha hozzá, amíg a hús sütéshez.
    5. A fedelet a kanna alatt alacsony lángon és főzzük körülbelül 1-1 ½ óra.
    6. Míg a dinsztelés folyik, héj a paradicsomot, majd vágjuk ¾ inch kocka (Én a konzerv paradicsom, és vedd ki az egyes paradicsomot és nem ugyanaz, és mentse a lé, amely hozzáadódik a gulyás később.
    7. Miután húst párolt mintegy 1 és 1 ½ óra (az idő függ a vágott hús), hozzá a feldarabolt paradicsomot és paprikát és annyi vizet, hogy a leves összhang (Én a paradicsomlé, hogy én már mentett a doboz. Adjunk hozzá egy kevés sót. Pároljuk lassan további 30 45 percig.
    8. Hozzáad burgonya és főzzük, amíg kész a gulyás (adjunk hozzá egy teáskanál csípős szegedi paprika, mint én inkább a gulyás egy kicsit csípős)

    Csipetke (Little Pinched Dumplings)

    Makes: 8-servings
    2-cups flour Salt

    1. Make a hard dough by kneading the flour and eggs for about 5 minutes or so. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
    2. Cut the dough into 1½ inch cubes and roll of a little smaller than “pinky” finger thickness, say the diameter of a wood pencil. You should get about q 6-inch length fro each cube.
    3. Bring 4-quarts water with 1 tablespoon or less of salt to a boil. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and pinch off little pieces. Drop them into the boiling water. Use your thumb and index fingers to pinch off the pieces.
    4. Boil the dumplings till they come to the surface, sample one to make sure it’s cooked through.
    5. Add the csiptke directly to the gulyas.

  130. It’s actually called Sütni Szalonna. The Sütni (shootney) means “to roast” and the Szalonna (sullena) means “bacon”. This is my absolute favorite Hungarian family memory by far!!!

  131. I can get Hungarian bacon in Denver at a Bulgarian store called ‘European Gusto.’ It’s made by BENDE in Chicago and “exported” to Denver. It is also frighteningly yummy!

  132. Josephine Hrzina

    Hi !! I hope this blog is still active ! Just returned from a family reunion in Detroit where we had Sutni Szalonna (can’t do umlauts) !!! I was the oldest there for the first time, since our parents are long deceased , and my oldest sister , at age 92, was unable to travel. I, and my younger sister and brother, are first generation (Both our Mother and Father came from Hungary)..and we grew up with all the “old country” foods and traditions…especially because of all the Hungarians living in Delray,Mich. Here in Los Angeles it is almost impossible to find Hungarian meats & products. Also, very difficult to keep my usage of the language up !! I have been able to pass on a few traditions to my children in hopes this gives them some of the sense of their own history!!…and the wonderful tastes of Hungarian food !

    • my father made szalonna iron he took apair of tongs and welded 2 4inch by 6 inch plates to the tongs it worked so well that he made szalonna for the whole familyin an hour. just put the iron in the fire and let it get hot. oh and another thing.i went to the butcher shop for the slab bacon and he told me that there isn,t as much fat in the slab bacon anymore to use jowl bacon for szalonna

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