Hungary: What’s in a Name?
The French, it seems, invented everything delightful in this world. After all we have French fries, French toast, French cut green beans, French milled soap, and much more. They even gave us crepes and Napoleons. Yes, crepes – those paper thin pancakes rolled or folded and filled with some kind of delicacy. And Napoleons are those delightful, flaky pastries filled with custard. Suddenly I’m getting hungry…
But all is not as it looks. Some of these dishes may not have originated in France. Just go to Hungary and sample some of the local delicacies available everywhere: Palacsinta (crepes), Bundás kényér (French toast), or krémes (Napoleons). Too bad most people can’t pronounce the names. But then isn’t that how we’re all fooled, by renaming something? “Eau de toilette” sounds so much better than “toilet water.” “Nused cars” or “nearly new” sound so much better than “clunkers.” “New formula” is so much more attractive than “less effective”. And don’t even let me get started on our politically correct terminology!
But I digress. While in Budapest I was having paprikás palacsinta for lunch at the mall, followed by a dessert of málnás palacsinta. Let me translate that for you Francophiles: I had crepes filled with chicken paprikas followed by crepes filled with raspberry jam, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream. Can you say, “Not diet – but delicious”? (Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera to capture the feast.)
When I arrived back home in the States my son in law, who is of Greek descent, insisted that crepes were actually invented by the Greeks. Then there is the British “pancake” that looks suspiciously like a crepe. Perhaps all is not as it looks.