Magyarország, akkor tönkretette a diéta!
A tale of migration(s) through recipes and food memory is in theory what I’m currently researching. This may appear slightly vague and not definitive, but that’s probably because I’m at that stage in my research between having been sure of what I was doing and the ‘conclusion’ to my research, where I shall also (I hope) be (reasonably) sure of what I’ve done. So, I’m at that ‘what exactly am I doing’ stage. My research is attempting to answer (in a small way) how food memories situate identity and ideas of belonging in migrant communities, and I’m accessing this through my family history, which is one of migration. Therefore, my research methodology is auto – ethnographic and my participants are either Hungarian or the children of Hungarians, all of whom have migrated from Hungary, and in some case re-migrated back.
Many of my vivid childhood food memories involve my grandmother’s wonderful Hungarian cooking. In fact it was her food, my familiarity with it and notion (as a child) that it was normal that made me realize I might be slightly ‘other’, or at least eating food that was different to many of my primary school classmates. One realization (at age nine or ten) was that not everyone had stuffed peppers or chicken paprika on Sundays, that there was actually something called the ‘Sunday Roast’! I’m sure that many people with hybrid identities, having parents or grandparents originally from overseas, have also experienced the same moments of realization. Indeed, it may not be that unusual, especially in modern multicultural Britain, but as I mentioned earlier, I’m investigating issues of identity and belonging via my family narrative.
As part of my research and in a bid to access my childhood memories, I’ve been cooking and eating Hungarian food. Not an easy task, but one which I’ve undertaken out of duty, duty to give my research integrity. Far better to cook and eat, than read about cooking and eating. I’ve hidden the bathroom scales!
The logical next step was to go to Hungary, so I hopped on a budget airplane and some of my research is shown below.
The langos to my mind has always been a holiday snack, eaten after a swim in Lake Balaton.
The töltött lángos was from a great little Hungarian restaurant in Camden Town, London.