Die Mitte

“Oh, the curds of Liptov, I remember how my grandmother made it, but probably in a version adjusted to the reality of the People’s Republic, since I do not remember if in the store offering included capers or anchovies. And our Liptauer’s base did not come from Liptov either. The dairy farm still working in Liptov provided the whole Monarchy with the best sheep’s cottage cheese – bryndza – of the empire. Serious supplies of it were found in Colonel Redl’s home in Prague, when, before the outbreak of the First World War, it became known that he was spying in favor of Russia, as it was meticulously described by Egon Erwin Kisch, the racing reporter. Redl was not only a traitor, but also a great gourmet, who accumulated the most delicious specialties of the Habsburg Monarchy in his home. In addition to the Liptov curd, he also had an impressive amount of Prague ham, whose memory is still alive all over the territory of the former Monarchy. In Trieste, Friuli and Trentino, the quality cooked ham is called “prosciutto di Praga”, although for a long time, at least since the abdication of Charles IV, they have not imported ham from Prague.

He had many weaknesses, that swine Redl, which finally made him a traitor, but for this one, his affection for the ham of Prague, I have at least a partial understanding.”

14 November 1012 • 7 p.m.

Centrál Kávéház • Central Café
1053 Budapest, Károlyi Mihály street 9

With the Polish writer Robert Makłowicz
speaks about his book Café Museum Balázs Lévai.

Translator: Noémi Kertész

For the readers of Río Wang it is no secret, how nostalgic we feel about those old many-colored empires, over which the sun never set, or even if it did, until sunset you could cross a large number of language borders without any passport and customs clearance. And happened what happened, the reconstruction of these former large units is still possible, and namely in the way as we try it here at Río Wang: by traveling about and tasting them. This is exactly how it is done, with a great joy of life, excellent stomach and a passion for microhistory by Robert Makłowicz, author in Krakow, landowner along the Lake Balaton, and the last citizen of the Habsburg Monarchy. Come and listen to the presentation of the book and the discussion following it. And then read the exclusive interview given by the author to our blog tomorrow morning, and the detailed presentation of the book here at Río Wang.

5 comentarios:

MOCKBA dijo...

This entry made me read on Liptauer and Bryndza - I though Liptauer was a 100% cowmilk product, cream cheese and cottage cheese and maybe sour cream but I guess it's just a modern degradation of the grand imperial cheese spread of old. And Brynza was for us any brined white cheese, typically Bulgarian cowmilk cheese, so I was surprised to discover that the word Brynza isn't even used much in Bulgaria - and just means any cheese in Romania.

I gratefully remember our family surviving on Brynza diet in the hungry 1991. We all knew from the rumor mill that on April 2nd, the price controls will be lifted, and the food will become too expensive in a flash. Time to hoard what you can buy, but the grocery shelves were empty no matter where you look. At last, on the last day of the controlled prices, I spotted a huge line in a grocery store. Nothing was being sold yet, and nobody knew what are they waiting for. Then, a sigh of disappointment, $%$#^$# brynza! Most people cussed and left, and that's how I got my 5 kilos of the briny blocks. We put brynza in pots of fresh brine, and it lasted us months.

Studiolum dijo...

In Hungary, bryndza – as its Hungarian name, juhtúró explicitly reveals – is necessarily sheep cheese. It does mean any cheese in Romania, but as traditionally cow cheese was a rarity, at least in Transylvania, therefore in the practice it mainly refers to sheep cheese there as well. Liptauer is for us an especially “noble” version of bryndza, made from high quality sheep milk in the high pastures under the Tatry. You can still buy it in the local farms along the main road from Poprad to Banská Bystrica, where frequent inscriptions indicate its availabilty on the roadside.

A great story, which, in addition to recall too familiar memories, also explains what has hit me in Makłowicz’s text about Colonel Redl’s “accumulating” bryndza in his home…

languagehat dijo...

Interestingly, the etymology of Romanian brânză is unknown; it may be "autochthonous" (i.e., going back to pre-Roman times).

MOCKBA dijo...

And of course today, what passed for Brynza for us is Danish "White Cheese Formerly Known as Feta" ;) so it took me just one quick glance to recognize cognacy between its Turkish inscription, "Peyniri", and Indian non-fermented Paneer. A quick investigation turns up this wonderful blog post (already commented by esteemed Language!). A tale worth reading! To sum it up, the word is most likely PIE rather than Turkic (and cognate with English "fat") but technologies and words must have traversed from one language to another at later times.

MOCKBA dijo...

PS: brine, so obviously lending itself to a position of a (false?) cognate with brindza, is often said to have no similarities beyong Germanic languages. But are we confident that Romanian branza can't be traced to old Germanic influences?

Wiktionary goes one step further with "brine", linking it (for reasons which elude me) with Latin/Albanian/Slavic words for crumbles, shavings, or gnawing ... but if the connection is true, then it may be related to sheep-cheeses, crumbly or dry, too?

BTW PIE origins of foam/пенки *poyǝmn-, *spoyǝmn- might also hint at cognacy with paneer / milkfat?