The Péterfalva cooks always serve a special dessert at the Sunday midday meal. This week I ate three slivers of the chocolate delectables (cake is too mundane a word for these treats) before managing to call it quits and scurry off to take a long walk. That was not the last I saw of them, however.
Because of the (de)construction taking place on the school grounds, to walk from the main school building to the dormitory requires a passage through dining hall. As I walked through that evening, J. Edit and Julianna sat at the long teachers’ table with two pitchers of sweet tea and an enormous baking sheet of the leftover chocolate delights. They told me to sit down and eat some. Are you even wondering if I did?
Students walked in and out, and each time Edit and Julia called them to the table and insisted they eat the baked goods. Somtimes the students sat down with us and chatted. Sometimes the teachers (tanárnő) helped them wrap up whole sections of the cake to take back to their room, and we laughed as towering piles of soft chocolate cake threatened to fall to the floor. Edit and one student helped me figure out how to take the later bus to Beregszasz, a Hunglish conversation that required diagrams drawn on the baked-goods-grease-soaked paper. One girl was celebrating her 17th birthday. I refuse to reveal how many baked-goods-goodness I ate during this time.
Twenty-four hours later, I was sitting in the flourescent-lit kitchen of Krisz-pont, in an other Hunglish conversation, eating another treat. The girls of Krisz-pont had finished eating dinner, and now we sat around the table with a large pot of boiled chestnuts. I’d seen the fallen nuts on the sidewalk and the mason jars of them for sale by ladies on the roadside. I wanted to try them and figured I’d look up how to prepare them when I got back to my computer. No need. As I chopped carrots for a salad, I noticed that there were already chestnuts boiling on the stove. They boiled there for all of dinner. And aftwards, I learned how to bite into the leathry skins and scrape out the subtly-sweet meat inside.
As a sidenote, someday someone is going to ask me what languages I speak, and I will say, “English … and Hunglish.” They will say, “You mean Hungarian?” And I will say, “No, Hunglish.” “Well, where did you learn to speak that?” they will confusedly query. “Ukraine, of course.” Where else? Hmmm.