I’ve visited Hungary several times and recently moved here with my Hungarian wife. It’s a completely different world compared to Southern California where I grew up.
1. I survived my first disznóvágás (pig slaughter).
It was early morning in September. My father-in-law and his friend, Zoli, had just slaughtered a pig; I thought I was going to puke. Steaming blood spilled across the cracked concrete. Zoli’s scruffy dogs began lapping it up.
This was my first disznóvágás — or pig slaughtering. From dawn to dusk the whole family participated in dismembering the sow: the men hacked and sawed; the women labeled and bagged; I stirred the massive pot of bubbling organs. The pig’s head occasionally floated to the surface. Together we made link after link of kolbász (paprika-rich sausage) and hurka (organ and rice sausage).
It was messy, but that’s the reality of where meat comes from.