Metro-Roland, geology homework help


For this reflection (and for the others as well) I seek a 250 word short paper. Roughly 60-80% should be a summary of the article by Metro-Roland. The remaining 20-40% should discuss how the ideas in the reading might be reflected in something you would cook for friends or family. Specifically, how might you prepare a dish using these ideas and what would you call it?Reflections are to be turned in as attachments only and should be double-spaced Word files. Spelling and grammar ALWAYS count and you will be graded accordingly.Rubric: Summary 1 point; dish idea 0.5 points; grammar 0.5 points.

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Journal of Heritage Tourism
ISSN: 1743-873X (Print) 1747-6631 (Online) Journal homepage:
Goulash nationalism: the culinary identity of a
Michelle Marie Metro-Roland
To cite this article: Michelle Marie Metro-Roland (2013) Goulash nationalism:
the culinary identity of a nation, Journal of Heritage Tourism, 8:2-3, 172-181, DOI:
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Published online: 13 Feb 2013.
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Date: 10 October 2015, At: 10:38
Journal of Heritage Tourism, 2013
Vol. 8, Nos. 2–3, 172 –181,
Goulash nationalism: the culinary identity of a nation
Michelle Marie Metro-Roland∗
Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
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(Received 6 March 2012; final version received 3 November 2012)
This paper explores the relationship between food, geography and national culture. Food
is sustenance and ceremony; it is also malleable, transformable and indelibly linked with
global movements. Certain foods, regardless of their origins, become intimately linked
with particular cultures and begin to function almost metonymically, in some cases
becoming the dominant thing which is known about the culture. This paper presents
one of the most iconic culinary specialties of the Hungarian kitchen, gulyásleves and
its better known bastard cousin goulash. In interviewing foreign visitors to the city of
Budapest about their previous knowledge of the county, the most frequently cited fact
was their familiarity with paprika and goulash (the former being the key element
demarking a Hungarian meat soup from those found in other Central European
kitchens). This highlights the way in which food and foodways, with some unpacking,
reveal a rich host of cultural and historical information. In the case of goulash and
paprika, these include the long route that peppers took through the Ottoman Empire,
the role of the cowboys of the Hungarian Great Plains, the emigration of Hungarians at
the end of the nineteenth century and the evolution from soup to stew in the ‘New World’.
Keywords: culinary heritage; culture; food; national identity
Most of the dishes described in this book would not be very easy to digest. One should use
good judgment, especially if the dinner guests are not all Hungarians. The Hungarian dishes
should be interspersed with lighter fare. The variety will then make an interesting gastronomic
experience. (Gundel, 1934/1984)
It is no surprise that food plays a critical role in the tourist experience of a place. Regional and
national specialties become important ‘sights’ not to miss – the beignets in New Orleans, the fish
and chips in England, the fermented mare’s milk in Mongolia. That said, the fact that an entire
culture can be reduced to one element – food as synecdoche – is a bit surprising. This was made
apparent in research undertaken on the urban landscape with foreign tourists in Budapest,
Hungary, when the term goulash arose with surprising frequency (Metro-Roland, 2011). The
question arises as to how food comes to transmit so much cultural knowledge that it becomes
a fact toted around by the unknowing visitor, and in the case of goulash, it is a food that
although closely associated with Hungarian culture, is, outside of the borders of the county,
so different from its domestic cousin gulyásleves that they are almost mutually unrecognizable.
Equally intriguing is the fact that the ingredients that constitute a good gulyásleves have
their origins outside of the Hungarian state. The dish is the result of a rather long historical

# 2013 Taylor & Francis
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process involving the movement of peoples and products over the globe that has resulted in
the situation in which gulyásleves, and by extension, goulash play the role of national dish.
Food is an odd artifact of culture because any particular token example of a dish has a short
life span, being fixed and usually promptly consumed. And while written recipes might
seem more durable, the variation in a dish, as it is actually made, that occurs over time
and space can cause it to morph into something entirely different.
This paper looks at the relationship between food and geography, in the transformation
food takes when it crosses borders, and the ways in which foods become not just the ‘edible
part of culture’ (Council on International Educational Exchange, n.d.), but the wieldy, portable icons of regional and national cultures, carrying forth messages about identity, ceremony, habits and customs of a people wrapped up in the trappings of cuisine, even
when little else might be know. And while we can debate as to how much ‘cultural understanding’ emerges from simply eating, what some multi-culturalists have labeled the Taco
Tuesday dilemma (see also Buettner, 2008 on curry in the UK), for those who study food
and foodways the links between mode of life and ‘traditional dishes’ are significant.
Gulyás and goulash
Let us start out with two recipes for ‘goulash’. First the ‘Gulyásleves’ recipe from the
Gundel’s Hungarian cookbook which was first published in 1934, and secondly ‘family
goulash’ from the 1970s era Betty Crocker cookbook.
Gulyásleves (Gundel)
2 1/2 cups
5 tbs
7/8 cup
1 tbs
1 3/4 lb
1 cup
1 small fresh tomato
6 portions
Cubed beef
Caraway seeds
Green pepper
Csipetke (soup pasta)
Use meat rich in gelatin (shin-beef, blade or neck). Cube the meet into 1/2– 3/4 inch pieces. Fry the
chopped onion in the melted lard until it is golden yellow. Lower the heat, then add the paprika, stir it
rapidly, add the meat, keep on stirring, add salt. When the meat is browned and all the liquid is
evaporated, add the caraway seeds, finely chopped garlic and a small amount of cold water, cover and
braise the meat slowly. Stir it occasionally and add small quantities of water if necessary. The meat
should be braised not boiled. While the meat is cooking, cube the potatoes, green pepper and tomatoes
[sic] into pieces 13 inch in size and prepare the dough for the soup pasta (csipetke). Just before the meat
is completely tender, reduce the pan juices, add the cubed potatoes, let them brown slightly, add the
stock, green pepper and tomato. When the potato is almost cooked and the soup is ready to be served,
add the pasta (csipetke), and adjust the quantity by the addition of stock or water
Family goulash (Betty Crocker)
4 ounces
1 lb
1 medium onion
2 cups
1/2 cup
1 jar (2 1/2 ounces)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons
1/4 teaspoon
Fine noodles
Ground beef
Chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Sliced celery
Sliced mushrooms
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Cook noodles in 112 quarts salted (112 teaspoon) boiling water until done While noodles cook, cook
and stir ground beef and onion in a large skillet until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat
Stir in drained noodles, celery, catsup, mushrooms (with liquid), tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover;
simmer 30 –45 minutes
While there are some similarities between these two recipes – they both have beef,
tomatoes, noodles and onions – the differences are striking. For starters there is no
paprika in the Betty Crocker recipe, and the beef is ground. There are no potatoes or
peppers, nor is there lard. More importantly, goulash in Hungary, called gulyásleves is
always a soup (the term gulyás should technically be translated as ‘herdsman’ and leves
as soup) while the American version is a kind of stew. Even in recipes that more closely
hew to the Hungarian version, such as that found in the Joy of Cooking what is presented
is actually not goulash but a paprika stew called pörkölt (von Starkloff Rombauer, Rombauer Becker, Becker, & Guarnaschelli, 1997). In some cases in the USA, the term
goulash is used as a generic term, like casserole, for a stew-like dish that vaguely resembles
a dish made in my neighborhood, which features ground beef, elbow macaroni, tomato
sauce and various other additions (from bacon drippings to sausage or carrots) depending
upon the mood of the cook but which is called goulash. It is this ‘glorified beefaroni’ which
the Southern celebrity chef Paula Deen cooks up as goulash for her son’s birthday (Deen &
Nesbit, 2006, p. 103) and which most people have probably encountered under this moniker
at a diner, cafeteria, or maybe even a parent’s or grandparent’s table. Needless to say, the
two dishes are oceans apart, literally and figuratively. And yet goulash, even in its
ground beef adulterated version, is still labeled by many a ‘Hungarian’ dish. For those visiting the country, it was one of the few facts about Hungary that they could recite. That the
‘authentic’ Hungarian version from the Gundel Cook book is a variation – every family has
their own version – the fact remains that within the borders of the country what is recognized as gulyásleves is far different than what is recognized outside the borders.
Food – a sign of culture
Actually there are two kinds of peppers grown in Hungary: one for eating fresh, the other for
spice. Peppers grown for eating fresh are green or yellow at first and later in the season turn red.
Green and yellow pepper, which has a refreshing taste, is mostly consumed raw in salads. It is a
basic ingredient in a large variety of Hungarian dishes. The spice variety of pepper when red
ripe is dried and pulverized to make paprika. The quality and classification of the paprika
depend on the variety of peppers used and on the proportion of the flesh, seeds and ribs
mixed together in the processing plant. (Gundel, 1934/1984)
That food functions synecdochically to call to mind an entire place can be explained
through the sign theory of the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce’s
(1992, p. 132) work as a scientist likely influenced him to look beyond mere symbolic
relationships between words and concepts to explain in his semiotic theory the ways in
which we interpret the physical world of objects around us. While the full details of his
theory are complex and would take much longer to explain, we can highlight a few key concepts. Semiotics, in its linguistic version based on the lectures of Ferdinand de Saussure,
often treats meaning as simply residing in the realm of the symbolic (Nöth, 1990). There
is, it is argued an arbitrary relationship between the sign and the object or the signifier
and the signified (Saussure, 1959). Peirce offered two other possible ways in which
signs relate to the objects they represent, iconically having an actual resemblance such as
a map or painting (1992, p. 226; 1998, pp. 5, 307), and indexically being in actual
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connection or serving to draw the attention, like smoke and a fire (1998, pp. 163, 274). It is
the multiple ways in which signs function to give us information that allows for denotation
and connotation, the accretion of meaning that is not simply arbitrary but is linked to the
warp and woof of a custom and culture (Peirce, 1992, pp. 132, 136).
This is the case with food. Scholars from Lévi-Strauss (1968/1978) to Barthes (1961)
have shown that the feeding of the body and the social practices which rise up around
that act are among the most fundamental of customs (Douglas, 1972; Flandrin & Montanari,
1999; Goody, 1982; Montanari, 2004). These practices also have profound material aspects.
From production to procurement and consumption, these are closely linked to culture, and
the history and tradition of a place. Thus the seasonal ebb and flow of produce and the types
of legumes, grains or meats one finds in abundance offer a snapshot of mode of life distinguished by class and region. But as people have moved both within their own countries
from rural to urban areas and emigrated across borders and oceans, the idea of regional cuisines has given way to the scale of the state and foods have become linked with nations,
even as the new host country continues to change the contours of the original dish. As
anyone who has seen the movie Big Night (Kirkpatrick et al., 1996) will remember, if in
Italy ‘sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone’ that is not necessarily the case in
America. Gabaccia (2000) in writing about ethnic food and the making of the USA
asserts that ‘the American penchant to experiment with foods to combine and mix foods
of many cultural traditions into blended gumbos or stews and to create ‘smorgasbords’ is
. . . a recurring theme in our history as eaters’ (p. 3).
Food has been mobile for thousands of years, and this geographic migration of peoples
and their foods has produced various scales of linkages. As the culinary landscape has
shifted some things have stuck to places and become intricately linked to these locations
while other things simply sift through. The so-called Columbian Exchange, as Crosby
(1972/2003) termed it, is just one significant moment in this ongoing process.
Looking again at the ‘authentic Hungarian’ version of goulash found in the Gundel
cookbook, it is striking how many of the ingredients are imports into the county, including
the peppers and the paprika (which they were made into), the potatoes and the tomatoes.
And yet these things can be found throughout the ‘old world’ but what becomes semiotically linked depends upon the particular history of place, choices that are made, and the
views of both the outsider and the insider. If we think of Ireland, we think of potatoes
because of the awful role it played in the history of the Irish, and of course Italian
cooking is closely associated with tomatoes. These are both imports that have become
fully adopted into the cultural habits and customs and cuisines of these places. And
while the links between Italian identity and the tomato would be hard to make, food can
be a potent factor in identity formation. One need only think about dietary laws and the
ways in which forbidden foods mark the borders between groups that may appear similar.
The process by which foods become significant carriers of culture is complex. As
Jordan (2008, p. 109) writes about the dumpling,
the meanings invested . . . may vary from the very private level of a kind of Proustian remembrance from childhood, to dumplings as symbols of regions or nations, as objects of fading nostalgia, or active entrepreneurial campaigns to boost the economies and external identities of
particular regions.
The process of ‘nationalizing’ a food is a long one, and mainly emerges organically, but,
like other markers of identity, it often depends upon an ‘other’ against which it is measured.
Appadurai (1988) in his study of the emergence of ‘Indian Cuisine’ in cookbooks highlights
M.M. Metro-Roland
the role that food can play in national identity formation. He quotes a newspaper review of a
cook book entitled Indian Recipes: ‘Hindi may or may not help in unifying the county;
while it is trying hard, there may be no harm in letting an Uttar Pradesh snack win over
a Tamil Nadu heart’ (Lal, 1980 in Appadurai, 1988, p. 20). When food is shared across
borders it can become a battle of who claims its origins (Raviv, 2003). While in the case
of Indian cooking, the rise in regional cuisine is leading toward an articulation of a national
cuisine (Appadurai, 1988, p. 21) in other cases what we see is a conscious effort to elide
regional differences in the process of nation-building as was the case in Hungary.
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Culinary contributions to Hungarian identity
We also inherited our bogrács from our nomad ancestors. It is a cooking cauldron which can be
hung over an open fire. Without doubt the ancient Magyars cooked in this bogrács food which
is similar to today’s gulyás. This custom did not disappear when the migrating tribes settled
down. Even today, the bogrács is a frequently used cooking utensil. (Gundel, 1934/1984)
If we look at the culinary history of the Magyar nation in the seventeenth and eighteenth
century, we can see both the role it played in national identity formation, as well as the shifts
over the spaces of the Hungarian lands. In the seventeenth century while there were ‘stereotypes of “Hungarian” dishes’ held by foreigners, these were not considered by Hungarians
themselves to be ‘self-characteristic’ and instead it was meat and sauerkraut, a dish no different
than that served throughout the region that was considered the national dish (Kisbán, 1989).
That changed, however, with moves on the part of the Habsburg ruler Joseph II and his
attempts to homogenize his subjects in the fields of law, administration and the use of
German as an official language. In spite of the halting of these policies in the wake of
his death in the 1790s, the fires of the Magyar national identity had been stoked and
along with the adoption of stylized Hungarian costumes by the aristocracy at the turn of
the century, the cultural history underscores the path that peasant culture played in asserting
a unique Hungarian identity (a process which would be repeated in the interwar period by
the so-called populists looking to Transylvania). Among the customs adopted from the peasantry were the eating of gulyásleves and the dancing of the csárdás.
It was goulash that brought paprika into the kitchens of the aristocracy from the Great
Plains peasants. Much of the life and culture of the pásztor and the guylás, the shepherd and
the herdsman, made its way into Hungarian cultural identity. The bogrács, a large iron pot,
was hung over an open fire, and in the Great Plains, they built shelters to keep the fire protected (Kósa & Szemerkényi, 1998). Eventually, the peasants in the area adopted this herdsman stew, bringing it in from the open fire to the kitchen and raising it to the status of a
festival food (Kisbán, 1989, p. 100). In the cities, it became an everyday food and there
was then a re-transmission of this dish from urban to rural, back to villages outside of
the Great Plains as an everyday food. What Kisbán notes in 1989 is still in practice
today, 20 years later, in the area of the Great Plains; goulash is a ‘special occasion’ dish
cooked in huge caldrons (bográcsok). Whenever a crowd is expected, such as at a
nursery school celebration, were Americans might pull out the grill for hotdogs and hamburgers, it is goulash which is on the menu. And just as the chili cook-off is a staple, so too
are goulash cook-offs in small villages in the summer. But even here gulyás is found as an
everyday food as well, cooked indoors rather than over an open fire.
In the evolution of gulyás, it was the addition of paprika to the meat that marked it off as
Hungarian and which made it the leading contender for a potent marker of national difference
among the aristocrats. Although paprika is linked to Hungarian culture, it originally came
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into the kitchen from the Balkans in the early 1700s (Kisbán, 1989), though it did not gain in
national popularity until the next century. The advantage that paprika had in cooking was the
flavor it gave to meat, which mimicked in a way the roasted flavor achieved by cooking over
an open fire (Szathmary, 1983, p. 140). Historically, there have been two main sites of production associated with the spice, Spain and Hungary, although other producers around the
world, including Brazil, Peru, Zambia, Malawi, and the USA, have stepped up production.
Chefs often have a preference for Hungarian paprika because of the fine differences in
taste – édesnemes, kölönleges, csı́pó´smentes, csemege, rózsa, eró´s or csı́pó´s. While many
a Midwestern American family use paprika simply to give some color to potato salad,
good paprika should offer an extraordinary, robust taste.
According to recent figures, Hungary grows on average 60,000 tons of fresh peppers per
year, used to produce 8 – 10,000 tons of paprika, over half of which is exported (Gille, 2009,
p. 59). The reality of Hungarian paprika production though is a sad story. At present in
Hungary, it is almost impossible to find 100% pure Hungarian paprika in the markets.
The industry been beset by scandals in recent years. Twice in the 1990s, paprika was
pulled from the shelves: once when lead from ground paint was mixed in and again
when ground up brick was found, which according to the word on the street was the
work of the Ukrainian mafia (a rumor also mentioned in Gille’s work as widely repeated
but unsubstantiated), and again in 2004 all paprika use was banned for three days after
tests showed some batches tainted with aflatoxin B1 a mold which ‘can only grow in
peppers produced in Mediterranean or tropical climates’ hence Brazil and Spain, and is
the reason why all packages are now labeled with percent of origin (Gille, 2009, p. 59).
This has been devastating for paprika production and for the semiotic role of the spice in
both the Hungarian kitchen, where it is an actual material object that does real-world work
in the dishes cooked by Magyars, and in the global marketplace where it is considered an
iconic object of the country, what is called ‘Hungaricum’. Besides paprika, these portable
items include tinned goose liver [liba máj] fruit brandy [pálinka] and Unicum [herbal
liqueur]. The tourist office defines these as
Primarily . . . a consumer good or other product linked with Hungarian production, culture and
knowledge, with the traditions of the generations of people living here, characteristic of and
accepted by us Hungarians as Hungarian. It is some generally recognised outstanding
peculiarity that even an outsider sees as typifying Hungarianess. (Tourinform, n.d.)
It is the links with production, culture and knowledge and tradition that make paprika
more than simply a symbolically arbitrary sign, but one that is, in the words of Peirce
(1998), in ‘a real relation to it’ (pp. 163, 274). But also critical is the recognition and acknowledgment of two audiences, ‘we Hungarians’ and ‘outsiders’. As has been seen, paprika added
to meat was a conscious marker of difference for the Hungarian nation-building project, and
the fact that it emerged from the puszta, the Hungarian Great Plains, a place which like Transylvania has strong connections to an ‘authentic’ Hungarian cultural identity, has indelibly
linked the spice and the dish to ideas about Hungarianess. Though by the time of the creation
of the Dual Monarchy in 1867, the nationalistic overtones of the dish had faded away
(Kisbán, 1989, p. 101) and the soup become another component of the Hungarian kitchen,
and spread across the lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today the Gulaschmuseum
Restaurant can be found in Vienna (not Budapest) and multiple versions of the dish exist
in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. That said, goulash is still closely linked to
Hungary. The Hungarian essayist Farkas (1994) in writing about the oncoming Americanization after the change of regime in 1989 simply posed the questions ‘goulash soup or
M.M. Metro-Roland
hamburger’ (guylásleves vagy hamburger) where these each stand metonymically for their
respective cultures. As Kisbán (1989, p. 101) notes, although for the most part ‘modern folklorism has not included goulash in the national symbolic estate for domestic use . . . [it] has
made use of it for the tourist industry . . . making much of it (in spectacular variants) as part of
the Hungarian image in international tourism . . . .’
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Gylyás to goulash – the emigration of a food
If you want to reproduce the authentic flavor of Hungarian dishes, you must use real Hungarian
lard, green peppers, paprika, tomato and onion. However, this is not always possible. You can’t
obtain the same flavor if you use butter, oil or margarine instead of lard. Even if you are using
lard, make certain it was produced by a higher temperature frying process and not by steam
melting. The fragrance of onion will be enhanced by the flavor of lard. (Gundel, 1934/1984)
Outside of the machinations of the tourism industry however, another important reason
for the semiotic linkage between goulash and Hungarian culture is that as emigrants made
their way to America (almost 500,000 counted in the 1910 census) goulash made its way
into the American cooking pantheon. While the first printed reference to goulash in
English dates from 1866, according to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, the
massive numbers of immigrants from the Habsburg Empire in the early 1900s resulted in
a growing interest in the dish (Mariani, 1983).
In searching through early American cooking materials, one can see the evidence for
this. An Illinois State Board of Health bulletin from 1912 described goulash as ‘a Hungarian
dish which has come to be a favorite in the United States’. Table Talk magazine in 1918
featured a brief historiography of goulash ‘the national stew of Hungaria [sic]’ giving a
recipe for the dish fairly close to the ‘authentic’ Hungarian version, but offered this
telling comment, a clue as to the route that the dish began to take toward the elbow macaroni ground beef dish found in the USA – when it suggested that while nockerl or spátzle
were ‘the most suitable and common accompaniment’ any kind of ‘farinaceous dish, either
noodles, macaroni, spaghetti or even rice’ would be an ‘excellent concomitant’ (Meyer,
1918, p. 50). The 1968 version of the Farmer’s Almanac Cookbook (based on an early
1950s version) said in introducing its goulash recipe that ‘a goulash cannot even be compared to GULYAS a real Hungarian dish’ (1968, p. 153) though even with the four teaspoons full of paprika for each pound of meat what it presents is a pörkölt, not a gulyás.
The Time-Life Foods of the World series, also from 1968 called gulyás a ‘national dish
[that] is a reminder that the Hungarians still remember their past’ (Wechsberg, 1968, p. 87).
But adds ‘gulyás, which has become the country’s most famous export has lost much of its
original identity on its triumphal procession around the world, probably because its name
has come to be applied indiscriminately to any paprika-laced stew’ (Wechsberg, 1968,
p. 93). And while that might be the case, what is more to the point is that any stew-like
mess, with beef, ‘farinaceous additions’ (i.e. noodles) and tomatoes came to be referred
to as goulash. Lang (1971, p. 270), the Hungarian culinary master wrote:
a strange thing . . . happened to Hungarian gulyás. According to a 1969 Gallup Poll, gulyás is
one of the five most popular meat dishes on the American cooking scene. Of course what is
usually served under this name shouldn’t happen to a Rumanian.
The nationalist overtones aside, the evolution of the dish as it emigrated across the
Atlantic was stark, and yet, in spite of its shift, its country of origin remained in tact.
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The name has become so much a sign of Hungarianess that it has migrated from the
kitchen to be applied to lots of things Hungarian. Perhaps the most famous example of this
is goulash communism (Gulyáskommunizmus), the relaxed, consumer-based communism
practiced by Janos Kadar that made Hungary the ‘happiest barracks in the socialist camp’
in the 1960s (Gough, 2006). The New York Times (Perlez, 1994) article about problems in
the paprika industry was entitled ‘Crisis of goulash capitalism’. The use of the term has
been revived more recently as Hungary’s political and economic situation has come under
stress. The right wing attack on the constitution and liberal democracy that was ushered in
this past year The Economist (Hungary’s New Constitution, 2011) called ‘goulash soup’
while Kopits (2011) in the Wall Street Journal referred to current Prime Minister Viktor
Orbán’s ‘goulash populism’. But the oddest use of the term is a Hungarian made contraption
– ‘little more than two second-hand MiG-21 jet engines strapped to a T-34 Soviet tank’ – that
was airlifted to Kuwait to fight oil fires during the first Gulf War; the Hungarian’s named it
‘Big Wind’, but US firefighters dubbed it the ‘Goulash Slinger’ (1992).
Concluding thoughts
The soil, climate, and geography of Hungary can supply all the variety of food and drink one
can image. The rivers Danube and Tisza and Lake Balaton offer several kind of delectable fish
not found in Western Europe, and which are considered to be delicacies. (Gundel, 1934/1984)
Long (2004, p. 9), in writing about culinary tourism asks, ‘as foods become a commodity within the marketplace, what happens to the functions and roles they may have had for
their original users?’ In the case of Hungary, the linkages between goulash, tourism and a
perceived experience of Hungarian culture have not diminished the saliency of this dish for
the average Hungarian. Just as the association of hamburgers with the USA has not led
backyard cooks and tailgaters to abandon the tasty charred meat patties, the fact that terrible
versions of gulyásleves are served up in every tourist café has had little effect on cooks
across the country. Hungarian restaurants outside the tourist bubble continue to serve the
dish, sometimes in the little personal bogrács just as the tourists get, but this is because
in reality, gulyásleves is an actual existing material practice for actual existing Hungarians.
While food purists and nationalists might be horrified at what passes for Hungarian
gulyás across the oceans and across the borders in the old lands of the Habsburg empire,
food is not a cultural object that can be set aside in a vitrine, frozen, so to speak, in
space and time at an Ur moment of authentic-ness. Peirce (1998), in developing his
theory about the relationship between objects and their representations, argues that there
are two aspects to any object; what he terms, rather awkwardly, the immediate and the dynamical (pp. 404 – 405). The former is what we are faced with at the moment, for example, the
dish that one might eat in a cafeteria in the Midwest American cafeteria, or the dish once
ordered in Beijing, China out of curiosity are immediate types. The true character of the
object is made up of all the instantiations of goulash as a type over time and space. The
reality is that authenticity is mediated and meaning accretes and can not but do otherwise.
The foreign tourist to Budapest will go home and say, ‘the goulash I had in Budapest was
not at all like my grandmother used to make’ and the Hungarian tourist to Vienna or the
USA will say something quite similar. And perhaps one of them will, in the following
thought, seek to make connections to the evolution the ingredients of the dish undertook
to arrive from the New World to the Hungarian Great Plains and the pots of the herdsmen.
Thus returning to this one dish, the representation is fractured over space and time so
that what is regarded outside of Hungary as goulash, what is known about goulash, is a
M.M. Metro-Roland
variation so changed from the original almost to be a different species, but one that has
evolved from and still retains a rootedness in the dish served by Magyar peasants. In a
semiotic sense, the name still stands in real relation to the cultural and culinary traditions
of the Magyar nation. And like the Magyar tribes themselves, several of the key ingredients
of this national dish are late arrivals to the Carpathian basin. The geographic movement of
food and people, and the rootedness of dishes in the everyday customs and cultures interact
together so that the materiality of food can become encumbered by cultural baggage,
evolving from foreign import to iconic object which is then re-exported and consumed
by tourists and locals, emigrants and hungry people everywhere.
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Notes on contributor
Michelle Marie Metro-Roland is Director of Faculty and Global Program Development at the Haenicke Institute for Global Education at Western Michigan University. Her research is situated at the
interstices of cultural and urban geography and explores questions of landscape, material culture
and national identity. Along with several articles and a co-edited book, she is most recently the
author of a monograph entitled Culture in Place: Tourists, Signs and the City. She has an MA in
History from UC Berkeley and a PhD from Indiana University.
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