You know you are from a Hungarian family when….
September 22, 2014

You know you are from a Hungarian family when….

We had many submissions from family and friends for this project and it has been a lot of fun to compile this list. Thank you for the many contributions! We tried to narrow the list down to the ones that have the most common experience but as it is with cultural traditions and influences, some families maintained them and others did not. I know I can relate to at least 50% of this list. I hope you can too!


…your friends love to eat at your house when Hungarian food is cooking.

…you saw your mom stretching bread dough to make lángos and while you can eat it with powdered sugar you know lángos is best served with sour cream, garlic, and cheese.

…you have seen chicken feet in your soup!

…paprika and sour cream are considered staples in your kitchen.

…your father always wants his “pancakes” very, very thin because he’s really remembering crepes from his nagymama’s house!

…you cook with bacon grease or lard.

…you like rye toast buttered and rubbed with a garlic clove!

…you have sudden cravings for zsíros kenyér!

…almost every recipe starts with sauteed onions and Szegedi paprika!

…the Christmas season involves kifli, kalács, and beigli!

…you eat bread with lard, slices of onion and paprika.

…your grandmother goes on the lookout for ‘pigs’ feet’.

…you love to have paprika sprinkled kocsonya (jellied pigs feet) for breakfast.

…you come home from school & the fridge has been emptied so the plates of jellied pigs feet (kocsonya) can go in!

…eating dinner food for breakfast is the norm & pancakes (palacsinta) are a dessert.

…you think sour cream and paprika should have their own spots on the food pyramid!

…you know what hurka is, miss having at New Years, & know which butcher still makes it. (There are two versions of hurka — liver sausage and blood sausage.)

…every family recipe begins with a pound of butter

…everyone gets excited about eating paprikás szalonna (smoked bacon) for breakfast with raw onions and rye bread.

…your friends open your fridge and it contains 4 lbs of butter, 5 blocks of cream cheese and 3 cartons of sour cream!

…the kitchen smells like cabbage cooking.

…You say please hand me the _____ and before you can finish the Grandkids hand you the paprika.

…the pots of daily soup are on the stove steeping

…you use sour cream like most people use ranch dressing or catsup.

…you happily eat kolbász for breakfast.

…your kids wake up and ask for “Bundás Kenyér”. (This is similar to french toast but it typically is savory — no syrup, just salt).

…everything starts with onions and usually ends with paprika.

…store brand paprika won’t even be considered as an option.

…you see a bowl of pig intestine casings soaking in water and the meat grinder clamped to the kitchen table.

…you’re not afraid to eat poppyseed kalács the night before your job’s drug test. grew up with catching the chicken yourself for Sunday soup, watching your Grandmother cut its neck, save the blood, make the best soup you’ve ever had in your whole life, including the feet.

…you own multiple containers of paprika.

…you introduce all your friends to Hungarian food by cooking it!

…growing up you fought over who got to eat the marrow from the soup bone.

…you keep your paprika in the refrigerator or freezer

…you know what a ‘bacon roast’ is and you occasionally host one.


…your mom breaks the “fakanál” on your back as you’re fleeing the kitchen!

…you cannot get married without cabbage rolls being served at your reception.

…you know the song Az a Szép!

…you have embroidered doilies covering every wooden furniture surface of your home.

…you love the sound of a violin.

…you know the name for Transylvania is Erdély!

…St. Nicholas visits on December 6th, leaving Baby Jesus to bring you your Christmas presents at midnight on December 24th.

…even if you don’t like szaloncukor it’s a tradition to have it hanging on the Christmas tree.

…you’ve purchased a bogrács in Hungary and brought it back to the U.S. in your carry on luggage.

…you have a poster of the historical Hungary and it’s counties on a wall of your home.

…you speak in a louder voice than anyone at work, and then you realize you are carrying your family’s Hungarian volume level with you and must tone it down.

…there is an “Isten Hozott” sign by the door.

…you cheer for Hungary during the Olympics.

…you know what it is like to have every flat surface covered with homemade noodles drying on sheets in your house.

…the first trade skill you learn as a child is how to grind nuts for the nut rolls using a 100 year old hand crank grinder clamped on the kitchen counter.

…you know your Name Day!

…your house is decorated in Herend and Zsolnay figurines.

…you come home from school & garlic & chili pepper necklaces are drying in the sun

…you NEVER argue with your nagymama – even if it kills you to keep your mouth shut!

…you learn early in life that one comes from Buda or Pest, but not both.

…you know about the Treaty of Trianon and what that meant for Hungary.

…you know the village where your family came from in greater Hungary.

…you know what Sósborszesz (menthol alcohol) is and when to use it!


…Americans murder your last name!

…you can cuss in Hungarian.

…you know what the accents mean on words, when you know how sz and cs sounds. And it’s gulyás, not goulash.

…you have beautiful Hungarian names in your family tree.

…you recognize Hungarian names in the news.

…you notice Hungarian names in movie and TV credits.

…you know how to say the Common Table Prayer in Hungarian though you may have never seen it written out.

…you name your pets using Hungarian words like “Cicus” and “Kutya”, etc.

…your last name is MAGYAR!

…you have or had a dog named “Bodri”.

…your email address and/or passwords utilize Hungarian words.

….you know the difference between segged and Szeged.

…you are familiar with the Hungarian National Anthem and maybe even know the first verse!

…you know how to read, write, and/or speak some Hungarian


…you’ve tried pálinka and try to get all your friends to try it!

…you know that “real” kool-aid comes from a bottle of raspberry syrup and tap water or the best raspberry “pop” is homemade with raspberry syrup and soda or mineral water!

…your Nagypapa made his own wine, and his basement is filled with wine barrels.

…you know what Bull’s Blood is.

…you have tried Unicum.

Do you have additions to this list? We would love to see them!

We love to help you discover, celebrate, and share Hungarian heritage!  CLICK HERE to sign up for the Hungarian Living e-newsletter and catalog.

Recent Posts

FREE Genealogy Jump Start Pre-work Series

FREE Genealogy Jump Start Pre-work Series

Need time and motivation to focus on your family research project? Join us for our FREE Genealogy Jump Start Pre-Work Series. Believe it or not, dedicating even just 1 hour a week will result in progress. This part of the Genealogy Jump Start is free.

2023 Let’s Cook Hungarian Challenge

2023 Let’s Cook Hungarian Challenge

Since 2018, we have been hosting the Let’s Cook Hungarian Challenge. The main goal of this program is to get you into your kitchen and encourage you to make some delicious Hungarian foods and desserts so they are a regular part of your rotation for celebrations and special events.

Celebrating Holidays in December with a Hungarian Touch

Celebrating Holidays in December with a Hungarian Touch

With Mikulás Nap right around the corner and the importance of planning ahead for holiday baking, we want to encourage you to be thinking about how you share your Hungarian heritage during December. Food is often present at holiday gatherings and sharing family recipes is a natural way to pass on some wonderful Hungarian tastes.

We offer a variety of books, foods, and gifts for all ages with a unique focus on Hungarian heritage.