Having lost my mom just after my tenth birthday, my memories of her are spotty and faded. Some are still clear, but I fear even those are fading with each passing year. If there is one thing I wish I could remember more about her, it would be every possible detail about what she cooked. I do remember a few of my own favorites, but I’d like to know what hers were. I remember her going on health kicks from time to time. Was that food really as gross as I remember? The one thing I do know is that she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and cooking for our family, just as I do now.
This dish is the result of much wondering and searching inspired by a very vague memory of something Mom made. It was one fall, I think, and I was home sick with some sort of flu or other stomach bug. As always, she had quarantined me to my parents’ room and gave me as much Gatorade as I wanted. After a couple of days, when I was able to keep food down again, she brought up a plate of dinner. I’m not sure she ever told me what it was called but I vividly remember that meal. Egg noodles in a orange-colored sauce with little flecks of red in it, and something else that gave it a creamy quality. It tasted wonderful, and I cleaned my plate. I don’t recall her making it again, and after she died I searched her recipe boxes and cookbooks trying to guess what exactly it might have been. I’m not sure Dad would have known, but now he’s not around to ask either. I happened upon it by chance while browsing recipe sites one day, and I had a hunch that this was it. After trying a few more authentic versions of a traditionally Hungarian dish, I stumbled upon this surely Americanized version and finally, this was it. It is comforting to have found it, comforting to taste it again, and comforting to feed it to my own children. Andrew especially loved this dinner. I hope he remembers it someday and makes it for his own family.