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Helen Dana

Helen Kanisza Dana, 95 years old, is the daughter of immigrants. Her father, Louis, came to the United States in 1909, and her mother, Rose, immigrated in 1911. They both came from Marcalto, Hungary, and although they knew of each other in their small town, Rose didn’t think much of Louis while in Hungary. It wasn’t until they found themselves settled in the same small town of Proctor, Vermont, with a limited number of eligible Hungarian bachelors that Louis became more appealing. They eventually got married, but Rose was widowed in 1932, left to find a way to provide for Helen (our M.O.M.) and her little sister. Rose worked in a sewing factory and moonlighted as a seamstress at home. She also saw to it that Helen went to college, not a common occurrence for women in the 1930’s.

Not surprisingly, Helen learned to cook from her mother, which was sometimes challenging. Her “recipes” generally consisted of a list of ingredients and instructions to add “some” of this, “a little” of that, and if it “doesn’t look right” add some more. Rose prepared many Hungarian dishes including hurka (blood sausage), which Helen detested (and we’re not serving), and toltot kapuszta (stuffed cabbage), which she still loves to eat. Helen somehow managed to figure out the method behind her mother’s recipes, and continues to make the same traditional dishes that her mother cooked nearly a century ago. This month we’re offering you some of Helen’s favorites, and hope they’ll be your favorites, too.

Lunch

Toltot Kapuszta (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

two cabbage leaves stuffed & rolled with “Painted Hills” ground beef, onions & rice in a sweet-sour tomato sauce, served with smashed red potatoes

Dinner

Szekely Gulyas (Hungarian Pork Goulash)

Carlton Farms pork braised with onions, paprika, sauerkraut and sour cream, served with spaetzle (tiny dumplings) & braised red cabbage

Csirke Paprikas (Chicken Paprikash)

slow-cooked Draper Valley chicken (white & dark meat) with onions, paprika & sour cream, served with braised red cabbage & spaetzle

Toltot Kapuszta (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

three cabbage leaves stuffed & rolled with “Painted Hills” ground beef, onions & rice in a sweet-sour tomato sauce, served with smashed red potatoes

Dessert

Apple Strudel

flaky pastry filled with apples, raisins & spices, served with house-made maple walnut ice cream