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Share the Joy! in Auntie Ann’s Hungarian Kitchen

Posted in cucina, cucina povere, entertaining, Holidays, Share the Joy!, Travel & customs, and Uncategorized


share the joy

In honor of the release of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Food Occasions our readers are Sharing the Joy! and sharing their food memories. Here is the next one that was selected. Be a guest writer and Share the Joy! also

This story is  from Kay Murdy,thanks Kay for Sharing the Joy!

Kay Murdy is a Bible teacher and speaker. Her web site is


I can still smell the warm, yeasty aroma coming from my Hungarian Auntie Ann’s kitchen. She was my mother’s younger sister and she lived with us after the Great Depression. Auntie Ann was an amazing cook who worked for a wealthy family in Cleveland. But she also prepared dishes for us that I will always treasure. On Christmas Eve we usually had stuffed cabbage and a sweet pastry roll filled with poppy seed or walnuts called beigli. I’ve failed to find anything comparable.

Auntie Ann learned to cook and bake from her mother. Her instructions consisting of little more than a list of ingredients in her hand written recipe book. There were no measurements. It was a pinch of this and a handful of that, a dab of butter the size of a walnut or a lump the size of an egg. Today’s cooks like me are lost unless we have precise measurements.

As a child I loved to watch as her strong hands kneaded the dough until it was satiny. Then she placed it in a covered bowl and let it rise until it doubled in size. After a couple of hours or so she punched down the dough and rolled it out on a sugared board. The poppy seed was spread on one rectangle and the nut filling on the other. The dough was rolled it up, shaped into crescents and baked until they were a nice brown color. Her recipes didn’t mention any baking time. She could see with her eyes just exactly when something was done.

We were very poor at that time but with Auntie Anne’s Christmas pastries, I always thought that we were as rich as the people who lived up town!


Share your stories and Share the Joy!

Get your copy of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions  selected as the Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA

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Oct 29-30th- Philadelphia Gourmet Food & Wine Festival, Valley Forge Convention Center. The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and Maria Liberati will be onstage throughout the event.

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