|Ilona Szabo (Helen Czegeny's)
Two-Part LIFE STORY - A Chef's journey!
November 1, 2010
by Erika Urban
Hungary Canada - or how can Stuffed Sabbage Change
into Maple Syrup -
November 1, 2010
by Erika Urban
Hungary Canada - or how can stuffed cabbage change into maple syrup -
As we have pointed out so many times our magazine is a website about women for
where we try to offer THE article, recipe or even the remedy for life, the delicacy on
the table that everyone is looking for.
In the followings may I present you Helen Czegény Szabó and her walk of life. I „met"
Helen on the internet by chance on a site where I found an English written Hungarian
cookbook. The writer of this book, and the maker of the foods appearing in it, is
Helen who has rebuilt her life in Montreal based on Hungarian gastronomy.
Helen, when did you leave Hungary and why?
My reason was a very simple one; my husband got a job in Gothenburg, Sweden. It
was a huge possibility at that time because it was hard to get by in Hungary after the
war. We got married in 1945 right after the war. My husband had been discharged
from the military service and I had just finished high school. I was about to become a
teacher. My husband, Sándor, served on the police force in Debrecen for a very poor
salary. Then came this opportunity which we though was once in a lifetime, so we set
off to the unknown in the autumn of 1947. It helped our decision that we both came
from Christian families and we weren't happy about the spread of communism. We
thought, as it became true later, that the job in Göteborg was redemption for us.
When we left I was already eight months pregnant with our daughter, Erzsébet who
was born nearly a month after we arrived.
Was it a hard decision to make?
It wasn't really. We were all happy for this new and exciting opportunity including our
parents. Although they thought we were only going to stay for two years because my
husband's contract said so. But before the two years expired we decided to stay. We
applied to the Swedish government for asylum which we received shortly after. We
only had a little problem with learning the language, or truly my husband found it
hard to learn. It was easier for me because I've learned German in high school. You
can find many German and French words in Swedish so it wasn't so hard for me.
How did you manage to fit in?
It's always hard to fit in, no matter when or where. Particularly if you don't know the
language of the country you're in. After we learned the language my husband enrolled
an economical trade school which he finished with good results, so he got a job on a
farm that was the land of Countess Tolstoy Tatiana and her husband's. This was
where our second daughter Eliz was born. She was always playing together with our
employer's daughter; they grew up together since they were the same age. The
worst we couldn't get used to was winter. It was very cold, the sun rose late and set
early. But the Swedes were very friendly and calm people, and I am saying „they
were" because all has changed there too in the last fifty years. They took us in pretty
early, we went to church with them and they came to like us, we got invitations for
tea and dinner. They were very interested in how we survived war, because it was 150
years since there wasn't any kind of battle there.
Would you do it the same way today?
Yes, I think I would do everything the same. If I think, back the hardest thing was to
learn the language, we could only show things with our finger for a while which was
more or less enough, but rather less. I think everything was good as it was. If we
knew all of it before it would have been much harder. What we missed the most was
family, our parents, brothers, friends and the Hungarian things we were used to.
There was a Hungarian family living here but even they were in a distance of 200 km
Still Helen is living in Canada now and not in Sweden. How she got there and what is
she doing there you can find out next week.
|Dream Machine Publications
Paris, Ontario, Canada
Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes Cookbook ™
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Last Updated November, 2010
Hungarian Recipes, Hungarian
Cookbook, Hungarian Cooking,
Hungarian Food, Hungarian
Heritage Recipes, Hot Hungarian
Chef, Hot Hungarians, Hungarian
Heritage Recipes, Clara Margaret
Czegeny, Helen I. Czegeny, Magyar
Szakacskonv, Helens Hungarian
Heritage Recipes TM, treasured
Hungarian family recipes by the
Chef Clara Czegeny
|Helen's Hungarian Heritage