THERE were three that never gave it a second thought, three gals who stood at the end of a grocery aisle perusing the multitude of jars and trying to decide which one to purchase that was the closest to what they were accustomed to eating.
“My mother always kept us in pickles,” Jeanette Swan Lawrence said. “She canned them every summer and we never had to buy a jar of pickles in our lives!
“Mother died in 2000, and when she did we went in a panic when we realized there would be no more canned goods especially her pickles. I sure didn’t want to try to take over the task so there we stood with no idea of what to buy.
“My daughter, Sheryl Slot, found mother’s recipe and started buying crock containers, jars and seals; virtually everything needed to do the pickling and every year during the month of August we meet at my house and the canning begins.”
The cucumbers are purchased through a food service at the Kilgore College cafeteria by Jean’s sister, Dee Swan. And yes, she is definitely the third person to arrive for the big cook-off day of canning.
“Since the summer of 2001 we have been making pickles and all three of us give them as gifts at Christmas,” Jean added. “I also play Po-Ke-No with a group and volunteer at the London Museum and they, too, get their share as gifts.”
For the first time last week, the gals delivered two jars of those fabulous pickles to the Dallas State Fair. They are waiting to hear the results.
“We don’t know if we have a chance to win, but, it was fun – absolutely fun,” Jean said. “This pickle recipe was originally grandmother’s and she handed it down to my mother. Now, it is in the hands of my daughter, who idolized both my dad and mother. I think it is her way of keeping them alive in her heart.
“And I still haven’t had to buy a jar of pickles!”
LAST WEEK, I stepped into Brigitta’s Hungarian Restaurant owned by Mike and Brigitta Gyorfi. It was almost time for their afternoon closing, and they insisted I was to enjoy my meal in their company when in-stepped four chartered pilots and all ladies.
One of them was from Hungary, and she and Mike began to exchange pleasantries in Hungarian. Fascinated by what took place before me, I asked Mike if he would share their conversation with us.
“Sure, I would be glad, too,” he obliged. “I said, ‘Hello’ in a formal way, ‘kezet csokolom’ which means ‘I give kisses to your hand.’ It is quite common in Hungary to say this to a woman or a man. As an elder I have more freedom to say it in such a way.
Then, I asked her where she was from, ‘honan való vagy’ which means, ‘Where are you from?’ She said she was from Eger. The town is famous for fighting the Turks. There are many memorials commemorating how the women fought on the walls.
“I added that Brigitta was born in Godollo, ‘Brigitta Godolloban szuleter,’ meaning exactly that Brigitta was born in Godollo. Then I added that my grandfather was born in Veszprem county, ‘Nagy PapamVeszprem megyeiben szuletet.’ I said my twins were also born in Veszprem, ‘ikrekem Veszprem megyeiben suletet’”
“Anyway, it did start as a formal conversation, which is the respectful way in Hungary. Then it is normal to speak of family as family is very important.”
The women were from Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, and were traveling through to help train others. On their agenda was a deliberate exit off I-20 to partake in Brigitta’s authentic fare. From the looks on their faces, they were quite satisfied with their choice.
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