Index


How Would I Have You Taste Hungary / Eating Alone Part Two
Eden Batki

Too sad to read my journal / Slept on newlyweds' bedroom floor with recent ex-boyfriend, all who are 10 years younger than me / Got left at a train station at 11 at night with 10 strange men whose language I didn't speak, and left my new raincoat in the back of a taxi / I will no longer see myself as the leftovers girl.

Daniela and I heard wild boars in the abandoned vineyard above the lake; we stood still. We saw a Sambo figurine at a restaurant and wrote a letter to the owners explaining how it is offensive, because they aren't American, so maybe they don't understand. I think about how I am grateful to be friends with my exes.

*

Summer—I would feed you tart cherries, red currants, gooseberries, and hazelnut oil with fresh farmers cheese and acacia honey. You would eat this by the spoonful, letting the sourness melt with the cream with the honey rounding it all out. You would say "why can't we find this at home?"

Fall—I would feed you purple and green kohlrabi two ways. First I would cut some into thin slices and sprinkle them with salt and put one right in your mouth. You would sigh and say "I have never tasted a kohlrabi so sweet."

Winter—I would feed you sauerkraut from a paper cone, like an ice cream. You would devour it like it was the most refreshing winter delight you've ever tried. You would ask me for another but I would say that we had to go somewhere else and cook pork with lots of garlic and its own fat over a fire until it turned into a gorgeous stew, the red from the paprika creating a red red comfort.

Spring—I would feed you green pea soup, full of peas, floating in a clear yellowish broth made from the scraps of leeks, carrots, and pea tops. Tiny hand spooned semolina tarragon dumplings would bob around, eventually making their way onto your spoon and into your mouth. You would say "these dumplings are bright, the chickens who laid the eggs must have very yellow yolks."

*

That low-slung desperation / impending loss of a relationship began the trip. What was supposed to be a hopeful journey into my ancestors' eating habits and investigative ingredient sleuthing, turned into a crumbling end of four years together, mixed with a lot of pork fat and wine that made me cry it was so delicious. There's always a little good in the bad.











"How Would I Have You Taste Hungary / Eating Alone Part Two" was published in Active Cultures' Digest 8, February 2021.

Images: Eden Batki, How Would I Have You Taste Hungary / Eating Alone Part Two. Courtesy of Eden Batki

——

Eden Batki is a nomadic multi-disciplinary artist, storyteller, recipe writer and consultant working in food, photography, and film. For many years she has worn several hats, including that of producer, story editor, videographer, food stylist and caterer. Eden is fascinated with food culture—particularly the discovery and preservation of old cooking techniques, food justice, education and sustainability. Cooking has always been her refuge, as it allows her to express herself and to show love to others. Find more information @edenbatki and edenbatki.com.