Over the years, I’ve become fascinated with the history and evolution of regional recipes and methods of preparation. Austro-Hungarian cuisine is no exception.
As many of you know, the Saturday market ‘Mosoni Piac‘ is my regular go-to spot for fresh vegetables, huge bags of paprika and a dizzying array of peculiar culinary gadgets. These days, I’m all about the campfire cooking equipment. It began innocently enough with an invitation to join a small neighbourly party where goulash was served up as the main course. This was followed by a New Year’s gathering around a simmering pot of mulled wine. These outings revolved around a simple fire pan, a tripod and a kotlich (or ‘bogrács’ in Hungarian). Hanging out around the fire, enjoying good food, wine and the company of new friends was a pure delight.
Kettle cooking along the plains of central Europe was traditionally a ‘man’s job’ – fit for herdsmen, farmers and labourers who worked in the fields from dawn to dusk. But who cares about traditional gender roles, eh? Why should boys have all the fun?
If you’re planning a European camping trip, Hungary would be a great place to start your journey. There’s plenty of equipment to choose from at the local markets and the prices are excellent. While I’m still developing my collection of regional campfire cooking equipment, I’ll start out with a description of the basics and a few other unique items I’ve found along the way.
The first thing on my list was obviously a tripod! I found a great 120 cm folding iron one (photo 1) at the market along with a 6 and a 10 liter ‘bogrács’ (photo 2). The ‘bogrács’ don’t traditionally have a lid, however I was able to find one in the 10 liter size at the market. This is handy to keep the flies off! The 6 liter pot serves 2 to 4 people well, but any more and you’d be better off with a larger size.
Bogrács & Fish Pots:
There are different types of pots available which you can see below. Bogrács typically flare out at the top which you can see in photos 1 and 2. These are used for goulash. For fish soup, the shape is a little bit different tapering in at the top (see in photo 3). Finally there is a wide-mouthed pot (4). I’m not really sure what this pot is supposed to be used for, but I think it would be perfect for corn on the cob or a pot full of muscles.
I also found some lovely long skewers for roasting marshmallows or shish-kabobs. These are easy to clean and way better than hunting around the woods looking for green sticks and twigs.
Around Moson, I also found some great tiffin pans. Granted, these are not really ‘Hungarian’ and I do have a smaller one brought back from Thailand but I found it at a great price and they are perfect for carrying food and can be used as extra bowls when neighbouring campers or hosts decide to pop by around dinner time!
Next up on the list of fantastic camping cookware is this awesome paella pan. This item is still on my wish list but it’s available at Mosoni Piac. Now, while you could always use the paella pan for making paella, you could also fry up some onions and sausage, stir-fries, pasta, chicken paprikás, breakfast omelets or any number of things.
Suspended Frying Pan:
Finally, the coup d’état was this amazing frying pan. Shaped a bit like a shallow wok, all of the bacon drippings slip right into the middle – perfect for making home-fries. While the pan is heavy, the center peg conveniently screws out for easy transportation and it’s super easy to clean.