Thursday, February 02, 2006

Visszajövök Budapestre - Wednesday, February 1

  • breakfast: toast with jam; toast with sausage; a piece of tepértő
  • lunch: kolbász (sausage), bread, mustard, and turó rudi (Hungarian candy bar that I will write more about later)
  • dinner: pasta with tomato sauce
  • dessert: tejberizs

Now I live here, in the building on the northwest of the triangle. The apartment is comfortable (but too warm--how can you sleep if you're not freezing?). It's one of the best places in Budapest to live for its proximity to Batthyány Tér, where you can either take the metro or get a palacsinta. I had one last night: it was filled with apricot jam and cost 120 forints (60 cents or so).

After I woke up and started programming Pavement ringtones into my cell phone (so far I've done Shady Lane and No Tan Lines), I went shopping for basic foodstuffs and came home around three. At about six, I woke up lying on my bed with my jacket draped over myself. I remember reading, and I remember lying down; I also remember realizing I would end up falling asleep, but I think I fell asleep before I decided to do anything about it. So, I needed to make dinner out of only the food I had bought, which meant pasta with tomato sauce, the second-least-complicated meal I can cook:

  • 2 small onions
  • 1 or 2 carrots/parsnips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 small cans of tomatoes (400 gram cans); it's winter--fresh tomatoes have no taste now
  • herbs (I put in dried oregano and basil)
  • vinegar
  • sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • more than 1 tbs. olive oil

Heat up the oil, and then sauté the onions, carrots, and parsnips. Add some salt. After a few minutes, turn down the heat, cover the skillet, and let cook undisturbed until the carrots and parsnips have lost their crunch, about ten minutes.

Turn the flame up a bit and add the chopped garlic. Now, spend fifteen minutes looking for a can opener, settle for a bottle opener, and poke holes in both ends of the can like you've seen in condensed milk cans. Unfortunately, even crushed tomatoes are rather solid, so you'll have to do some prying to expand the holes. (I only used one can because I couldn't face doing this again. I also hit my head while looking for a can opener. I blame the jetlag.)

Let the sauce simmer, and stir occasionally. Add the herbs. (Dried basil doesn't seem to do anything, but the Asian market didn't have any fresh--is this the end of the season, or were they just out for the day?) Cook the sauce until it looks right (should only be twenty minutes or so). Then add a small amount of vinegar (I used red wine vinegar and added too much of it), a very small amount of sugar, and lots of pepper. (Jeffrey Steingarten says pepper loses its flavor when cooked for longer than ten minutes in liquid. I trust him absolutely.) Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve on pasta, which you should have cooked by now. When you cook it, add huge amounts of salt to the pasta water. I think this makes it taste better, but mostly it's fun to see the look on people's faces when you take a box of salt and let it stream into the water.

After I ate, Márta came home and made tejberizs. Despite the name (the rizs part of it), she made it with semolina, stirring it into hot milk, cooking until it thickened, and adding sugar. It's good with cocoa sprinkled on top. I talked to Márta for a while--my Hungarian was better than it was the day before.

I've been listening to Philip Glass's Music with Changing Parts, which I stole from my father's record collection. It's my favorite thing to listen to right now, but I wonder what I would think of it if I actually paid attention to it while it played. I will experiment and report back.

1 comment:

sam said...

glad to hear you arrived safely, etc. i haven't done nearly the cooking i would've liked since getting back to school, but on the other hand, i've been eating avocado out of the skin with a spoon, which is pretty great. i definitely miss a lot about hungary, but there are two people i know (don being one) who can empathize. hope this semester's bsm class is as cool as ours (although that's, i have to say, unlikely), and that stipcitz teaches topology like you wanted.