The Hungarian Curse, or Why you don't get my recipe for 100 Stuffed Cabbages
I think every Hungarian worth her salt knows how to make stuffed cabbage. If there was a national dish, I think that would be it. I remember eating stuffed cabbage at about every important gathering as a child. No wedding was complete without stuffed cabbage; no baby shower, no baptism, and no funeral. If we went to an important function anywhere they didn’t have stuffed cabbage, it was from one of my family’s friends who weren’t Hungarian. Or at least that’s the way I remember it. Little kids are impressionable that way.
I was asked to be in a second wedding for a good friend. They asked that you bring a dish, and no gifts, so of course I knew exactly what to make. I made approximately 100 stuffed cabbages. Not long after that, I was asked to make stuffed cabbage for a large birthday party. I made approximately 100 stuffed cabbages . That time I wrote down everything, and kept track of exactly how much of everything I needed. Of course very few people actually need 100 stuffed cabbages on a daily basis, and when I make it for my family I make less than that, but how unique is a recipe for 100 of anything? I used to joke with my best friend that when I died, I would leave her the recipe for 100 stuffed cabbages. I was intending to share that recipe, but I think my Hungarian ancestors must have rolled in their graves at my divulging such an important tradition, because no matter how hard I look, I can’t find that recipe. I gave a copy to my mom and SHE can’t even find it.
That reminds me of my Aunt Ro’s story about a cousin who did something to piss her off, and she gave a Hungarian curse that amounted to she would never, EVER make him stuffed cabbage! Now, that’s a SERIOUS business in my family. She later said that she had cursed herself with that one, because she had a whole big pot full of stuffed cabbage for a baby shower or wedding shower, or some other equivalent for this cousin, and she tripped coming down the steps and the stuffed cabbage all ended up on the floor. So...no stuffed cabbage for them. And my other aunts were all nodding. Even the modern-minded ones. EVEN my Aunt Marie, who’s a nun! I was like no way, Aunt Marie, you believe in that Hungarian curse stuff? And she said “you bet I do”. Then she told me how she had a landlord that was giving her problems, and she put his name in the freezer. I was like ‘huh’??? Oh yes. She wrote his name on a piece of paper, put it in a jar, and put it in the freezer. Well, if you knew my Aunt Marie you would never cross her in the first place. I mean, she’s a nun, she has God on her side, right? AND she’s just this five foot ball of energy that no one can say “no” to. So the fact that this guy pissed off my Aunt Marie was bad enough for him. Then she even put his name in the FREEZER! I don’t know what happened to that guy, but I am sure it wasn’t pretty.
So...I wanted to share my recipe, and I think it was just not going to happen. So, instead, you will see some nice pictures of my stuffed cabbage made for my family. And you will pray you don’t piss off any Hungarian aunts. This blue roasting pan gets used at Thanksgiving for the turkey, and for whenever I make stuffed cabbage. This is about how much you get when you use one head of cabbage. Don't these look really cool all in the pan like this? The sauce goes over top. I like to make this at the end of the summer. It's cool enough that you don't mind heating up your kitchen a little when you use the oven, and you still have all of the wonderful ingredients to pull out of the garden to make it fresh. I use celery, peppers, parsley, garlic and tomatoes for the sauce.