October 2019 Notebook
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Monday, October 14, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, October archive (in progress).

Music: current count 32212 [32183] rated (+29), 229 [229] unrated (+0).

Cutoff was Sunday evening, after posting Weekend Roundup. Didn't have all of the unpacking done, so unrated count is a bit low. The two A- records came early in the week. Both are available on Bandcamp: Drumming Cellist, Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou. There's a good chance that The Rough Guide to the Roots of Country Music might have hit A- on a second or third play, but not having the booklet, having to spend close to an hour checking dates, and the suspicion that I've heard everything there elsewhere didn't dispose me to be especially generous.

I saw a little bit (maybe 10%) of Ken Burns' Country Music PBS series. Not much there I didn't already know, but thought what I saw was pretty useful -- certainly didn't strike me as distorted and deceptive, like his Jazz series. As far as I can tell, the only product tie-ins are called The Soundtrack, available in both a 2-CD edition and a 5-CD box. I don't like streaming boxes -- actually, I don't have the patience, in large part because it's hard to break them up in to listenable chunks, and there's no booklet to help you keep score -- so I probably won't bother, but the tracklists look impeccable. Probably not as good as Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection (also 5-CD), but better than Columbia Country Classics (from 1990, also 5-CD). Virtually no overlap with Rough Guide, for reasons that hardly need explication.

I read about the Exbats in last week's Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide. If the link doesn't seem to work, maybe you should subscribe? I was pleased to find my previous A- picks for Chance the Rapper and Tyler Childers as good or better. Also that he found more than I did in Black Midi, Chuck Cleaver, Rapsody, and Sleater-Kinney. Some folks have asked about XgauSez. It's on a new schedule, fourth Wednesday of each month, and subscribers will get it delivered to their mailboxes.

Continuing to plug things into my tracking and metacritic files, which is helping me keep up to date. For instance, I can tell you the best-reviewed new records of the week (10-11): Big Thief: Two Hands (15); Kim Gordon: No Home Record (12); Elbow: Giants of All Sizes (8). Best-reviewed new records of the previous week (10-04): Angel Olsen: All Mirrors (24) [*]; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Ghosteen (22); Danny Brown: Uknowhatimsayin¿ (16) [***]; Wilco: Ode to Joy (10); DIIV: Deceiver (9). New records I most want to track down: Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia; Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise; Bill Frisell: Harmony; Abdullah Ibrahim: Dream Time; Chris Knight: Almost Daylight; L'Orange & Jeremiah Jae: Complicate Your Life With Violence; Kelsey Waldon: White Noise/White Lines.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Rez Abbasi: A Throw of Dice by the Silent Ensemble (2017 [2019], Whirlwind): [cd]: B+(*) [10-19]
  • Mats Åleklint/Per-Åke Holmlander/Paal Nilssen-Love: Fish & Steel (2018 [2019], PNL): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Simone Baron & Arco Belo: The Space Between Disguises (2019, GenreFluid): [cd]: B- [11-08]
  • Katerina Brown: Mirror (2019, Mellowtone Music): [cd]: B [10-18]
  • Cashmere Cat: Princess Catgirl (2019, Mad Love/Interscope, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Drumming Cellist [Kristijan Krajncan]: Abraxas (2019, Sazas): [cd]: A-
  • David Finck: Bassically Jazz (2019, Burton Avenue Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Ras Kass: Soul on Ice 2 (2019, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(***)
  • Krokofant: Q (2019, Rune Grammofon): [r]: B
  • Remy Le Boeuf: Light as a Word (2019, Outside In Music): [cdr]: B
  • Little Brother: May the Lord Watch (2019, Imagine Nation Music/For Members Only/Empire): [r]: B+(**)
  • Joe McPhee/Paal Nilssen-Love: Song for the Big Chief (2017 [2019], PNL): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Bernie Mora & Tangent: No Agenda (2019, Rhombus): [cd]: C+
  • Poncho Sanchez: Trane's Delight (2019, Concord Picante): [r]: B
  • Louis Sclavis: Characters on a Wall (2018 [2019], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mike Stern-Jeff Lorber Fusion: Eleven (2019, Concord): [r]: C+
  • Tinariwen: Amadjar (2019, Anti-): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kiki Valera: Vivencias En Clave Cubana (2018 [2019], Origin): [cd]: B+(***) [10-16]
  • Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon: The Music of Duke Ellington (2017 [2019], Origin): [cd]: B+(***) [10-16]
  • Barrence Whitfield Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs From the Sun Ra Cosmos (2019, Modern Harmonic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Carrie Wicks: Reverie (2019, OA2): [cd]: B+(*) [10-16]
  • Young M.A: Herstory in the Making (2019, M.A Music/3D): [r]: B+(*)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • The Exbats: E Is 4 Exbats (2016-18 [2019], Burger): [r]: B+(***)
  • Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou: Anou Malane (1994 [2019], Sahel Sounds): [r]: A-
  • The Rough Guide to the Roots of Country Music: Reborn and Remastered (1926-33 [2019], World Music Network): [r]: B+(***)
  • Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Indent: Antioch College/Yellow Springs, Ohio/March 11, 1973 (1973 [2018], Black Sun): [r]: B+(***)
  • Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Untitled (1961-76 [2019], Black Sun): [r]: B+(**)

Old music:

  • The Exbats: A Guide to the Health Issues Affecting Rescue Hens (2016, Burger): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Exbats: I've Got the Hots for Charlie Watts (2018, Burger): [r]: B+(***)
  • Rodney Whitaker: Ballads and Blues: The Brooklyn Sessions (1998, Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
  • Barrence Whitfield & the Savages: Soul Flowers of Titan (2018, Bloodshot): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Binker Golding: Abstractions of Reality Past and Incredible Feathers (Gearbox)
  • Dan McCarthy: City Abstract (Origin) [10-16]
  • Mute: Mute (Fresh Sound New Talent) [12-13]
  • One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2019 (UNT) [11-22]
  • Kiki Valera: Vivencias En Clave Cubana (Origin) [10-16]
  • Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon: The Music of Duke Ellington (Origin) [10-16]
  • Carrie Wicks: Reverie (OA2) [10-16]

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Trump has gotten a lot of flack this week for his decision allowing Turkey to invade Syria. Turkey's attack is directed not at the Syrian government or ISIS but at the Kurdish militias in norther Syria, which Turkish strong-man Erdogan regards as a potential security threat, as presumingly giving aid and comfort to Turkey's own Kurdish minority. The Kurdish militias had not only opposed the Syrian government, which hardly anyone in America has a kind word for, but also operated as allies or proxies in America's war against ISIS. Hence, the complaints you hear most often are that Trump has abandoned a trusted US ally, and that the invasion is likely to head to a humanitarian disaster -- the emphasis shifting from neocons to their liberal enablers. The only support Trump has found has come from paleocons like Rand Paul who want the US to draw back from foreign wars, but don't much care if the rest of the world destroys itself.

One problem is that Trump (or for that matter Obama) has never had a coherent strategy on Syria, or for that matter anywhere else in the Middle East. A reasonable goal would be to maintain peace among stable governments, biased where possible toward broad-based prosperity with power sharing and respect for human rights. Obama might have agreed with that line at the start of Arab Spring, but he soon found that ran against the main drivers of American Middle East policy: Israel's war stance, the Arabian oil oligarchies, Iranian exiles, arms merchants, and scattered pockets of Christians (except in Palestine) -- forces that had never given more than occasional lip-service to democracy and human rights, and were flat-out opposed to any whiff of socialism.

Obama was able to help nudge Mubarak aside in Egypt, but when the Egyptians elected the wrong leaders, he had second thoughts, and didn't object to the military restoring a friendly dictatorship. Obama had no such influence in Libya and Syria, so when their leaders violently put demonstrations down, some Americans saw an opportunity to overthrow unfriendly regimes through armed conflict. It is fair to say that Obama was ambivalent about this, but he wound up overseeing a bombing campaign that killed Qaddafi in Libya, and he provided less overt support to some of the Syrian opposition forces, and this led to many other parties intervening in Syria, with different and often conflicting agendas.

It's worth stressing that nothing the US has attempted in the Middle East has worked, even within the limited and often incoherent goals that have supposedly guided American policy, let alone advancing the more laudable goals of peace and broad-based prosperity. Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the US is incapable of standing up popular government after invasion and civil war. Libya suggests that ignoring a broken country doesn't work any better. But Syria is turning out to be an even more complete disaster, as the ancien regime remains as the only viable government. Assad owes his survival to Russia's staunch support, but also to the US (and the Kurds), who defeated his most potent opposition: ISIS.

What needs to be done now is to implement a cease fire, to halt all foreign efforts to provide military support for anti-Assad forces, to reassert the Assad government over all of Syria, to convince Assad not to take reprisals against disarmed opponents, and to start rebuilding and repatriating exiles. Trump's greenlighting of the Turkish invasion does none of this, and makes any progress that much harder -- not that there is any reason to think that Trump has the skills and temperament to negotiate an end to the conflict, even without this blunder.

The only American politician who begins to have the skills to deal with problems like Syria is Bernie Sanders, because he is the only one to understand that America's interests -- peace, prosperity, cooperation everywhere -- are best served when nations everywhere choose governments that serve the best interests of all of their own peoples (socialism). Everyone else is more/less stuck in ruts which insist on projecting the so-called American values of crony capitalism and militarism, the goal to make the world subservient to the interests of neoliberal capital. In this regard, Trump differs from the pack only in his reluctance to dress up greedy opportunism with high-minded aspirations (e.g., Bush's feminist program for Afghanistan). Trump's freedom from cant could be refreshing, but like all of his exercises in political incorrectness, it mostly serves to reveal what a callous and careless creature he is.

Short of Sanders, it might be best to concede that America is not the solution to the world's woes, that indeed it is a major problem, so much so that in many cases the most helpful thing we could do is to withdraw, including support for other countries' interventions. Syria is an obvious good place to start. On the other hand, replacing American arms and aims with Turkish ones won't help anyone (not even the Turks).

PS: After writing the above, Trump ordered the last US troops out of Syria. That in itself is good news, but everything else is spiraling rapidly out of control. Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds are looking for new allies, and finding Assad (see Jason Ditz: Syrian Kurds, Damascus reach deal in Russia-backed talks).

Some scattered links on this (some of which are just examples of what I've been complaining about):


Some scattered links this week:

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Daily Log

Update: Actual configuration, purchased 10/15:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-Core 3.7GHz Socket AM4 PM 16976: [$199.99]
  • ASRock X570 Steel Legend AM4 AMD X570 Motherboard Combo w/CPU: $379.98
  • G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $289.99
  • Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2, QLC SSD: $99.99
  • Corsair RM750 750W ATX12V v2.52/EPS12V v2.92 Full Modular Power Supply: $114.99
  • Lite-On DVD Burner Black SATA iHAS124-14 OEM: $16.99+$1.99

Thought I'd do a little new computer shopping (Newegg). Possible configuration:

  • CPU: Compare to 2012: AMD Fx-8150 PM 8250 $199.99; top passmark now: 32,946; best sub-$200: 16,976 (AMD Ryzen 7 2700X):
    • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz Socket AM4 PM 31847: $564.99
    • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz Socket AM4 PM 23883: $329.99
    • [*] AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-Core 3.7GHz Socket AM4 PM 16976: $199.99
    • AMD Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Socket AM4 PM 15080: $178.99
    • AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8-Core 3.4GHz Socket AM4 PM 14812: $169.99
    • AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Socket AM4 PM 14362: $159.99
    • AMD Ryzen 5 2600 6-Core 3.4GHz Socket AM4 PM ?: $119.99
    • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6-Core 3.2GHz AM4 PM 12279: $114.82
    • AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core 3.6GHz AM4 PM 8016: $94.99
    • AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 4-Core 3.5GHz AM4 PM 7324: $87.99
    • AMD Ryzen 3 1200 4-Core 3.1GHz AM4 PM 6792: $59.99
    • AMD FX-8350 Vishera 8-Core 4.0GHz Socket AM3+ PM ?: $197.29
    • AMD FX-6350 PM 6954: $?
  • AM4 Motherboards: All AMD4 ATX, most X570 chip set:
    • ASUS ROG STRIX X570-E Gaming: 4x288 memory slots (128GB Max), 2xPCI Express 4.0x16, 1xPCI Express, 8xSATA 6GBs, Radeon Vega Graphics, multi-VGA, SupremeFX High Definition Audio, 2.5G LAN, Wireless 2x2 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, 7xUSB 3.2: $326.99
    • ASRock X570 Taichi: $299.99
    • ASRock X470 Taichi: $269.99
    • [*] ASRock X570 Steel Legend WiFi: $199.99
    • ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus: $199.59
    • ASUS Prime X470-Pro: 64GB RAM max (DDR4 4x288, 2400-3600), video, audio, 1GB LAN: $149.99
    • ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4: $148.99
    • ASUS ROG STRIX B-450-F Gaming: 64GB Max, PCI Express 3.0x16, : $129.99
  • AM4 Motherboards: All AMD4 Micro-ATX:
    • ASUS TUF B-450M-Plus Gaming: AMD 8450 chipset, 4x288 DDR4 (64GB max), 1 PCI Express 2.0x16, 1 PCI Express 2.0x1, 2+4xSATA 6GB/s, Radeon Vega graphics, 10/100/1000 LAN: $99.36
  • RAM: DDR4 SDRAM:
    • Corsair Vengeance LPX 128GB (4x32GB) DDR4 2400: $579.99
    • Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 3000: $324.99
    • Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3200: $319.99
    • Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $285.99
    • G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3600: $329.99
    • [*] G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $289.99
    • G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3600: $289.99
    • G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3200: X[$249.99] $322.05
    • G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2666: $269.99
    • G.SKILL Aegis 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2133: $219.99
  • SSD:; SSD PCI Express 4.0 Hyper M.2 SSD is faster:
    • Samsung 860 EVO 2.5" 1TB SATA III: $129.99
    • Western Digital 3D NAND 2.5" 1TB SATA III: $114.99
    • Intel 660p M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2: $109.99
    • Samsung 860 EVO 2.5" 500GB SATA III: $74.99
  • Cases: ATX
    • Corsair Crystal 570X Glass Mid Tower: $189.97
    • LIAN LI PC-011 Dynamic Razer Edition Mid Tower: $164.99
    • Phanteks Eclipse P600S Antracite Gray Steel/Tempered Glass Mid Tower: $149.99+$6.99
    • Thermaltake Core X71 Tempered Glass Full Tower: $142.52
    • Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel Mid Tower: $132.90
    • Phanteks Enthoo PH-ES614P_BK Black Steel/Plastic Full Tower: $99.99+$6.99
    • Antec Performance Series P110 Luce Mid Tower: $99.99
    • Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel Mid Tower: $94.77
    • Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 Black Steel/Plastic/Tempered Glass Mid Tower: $89.99
    • Corsair Carbide SPEC-05 Black Steel/Plastic/Acrylic Mid Tower: $65.99
    • DIYPC D480-W-RGB White Mid Tower: $58.99
    • Fractal Design focus G White Mid Tower: $54.97+$7.99
  • Power Supplies: ATX12V/EPS12V, full modular:
    • Corsair RMx series: 1000W: $199.98; 850W: $129.99; 750W: $119.89; 650W: $114.99; 550W: $99.99
    • Corsair RM series: 850W: $124.98; 750W: $114.99; 650W: $104.99
    • Corsair CX series: 550W: $64.99; 450W: $59.99
    • EVGA SuperNOVA: 1000W: $184.37; 850W: $139.99; 750W: $160.99, 650W: $161.98; 550W: $109.99
    • Thermaltake Toughpower Grand: 850W: $124.00; 750W: $94.99; 650W: 92.99
    • Thermaltake Smart Pro: 750W: $86.00
  • CD/DVD Burners: SATA
    • ASUS DRW-24B1ST: $22.94

Monday, October 07, 2019

Music Week

Expanded blog post, October archive (in progress).

Music: current count 32183 [32156] rated (+27), 229 [219] unrated (+10).

Slow start on the week, partly because I flushed Monday's listening out in September Streamnotes, and ended this Sunday night. Partly because the Kevin Sun 2-CD album sat in the changer four days while I slowly made up my mind. Sun's album never quite matched his Trio debut, nor is the George Coleman album quite as terrific as his The Master Speaks, but in the end both came close enough. Among the also-rans, Laurie Anderson's spoken word over Tibetan ghost music came closest, and might deserve further attention. Turns out Phil Overeem likes the album a lot (number 9 on his latest list. Also found my two good vault albums there. More to follow next week.

I added those and a few others to my metacritic file. In turn I checked out several of the better-rated albums I hadn't bothered with, but didn't find I enjoyed it much. Most I'm pretty sure of, but artists like Angel Olsen, Bon Iver, and Jessica Pratt just make me wonder if I'm getting too old for this shit. Also in the "don't do it for me" category are fairly ordinary rockers like Cherry Glazerr, Sleater-Kinney, and Girl Band.

Got a lot of mail last week (today's take is listed below but not counted above). I'm noting future release dates as I get them, also when I do reviews. The queue is usually sorted FIFO, as I suspect keeping it sorted by release date would be a big hassle. Upcoming week may be less than usual, as I have some house projects, plus a bit of cooking coming up. Then some medical shit, before Trump takes that away, too.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Laurie Anderson/Tenzin Choegyal/Jesse Paris Smith: Songs From the Bardo (2019, Smithsonian Folkways): [r]: B+(***)
  • Ben Bennett/Zach Darrup/Jack Wright: Never (2018, Palliative): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Bon Iver: I,I (2019, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B
  • Danny Brown: Uknowhatimsayin¿ (2019, Warp): [r]: B+(***)
  • Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready (2019, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B
  • George Coleman: The Quartet (2019, Smoke Sessions): [r]: A-
  • The Comet Is Coming: The Afterlife (2019, Impulse!): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons (2018 [2019], Pyroclastic): [r]: B+(***)
  • Girl Band: The Talkies (2019, Rough Trade): [r]: B+(*)
  • Robert Glasper: Fuck Yo Feelings (2019, Loma Vista): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mika: My Name Is Michael Holbrook (2019, Republic/Virgin EMI): [r]: B+(**)
  • Simon Nabatov: Readings: Red Cavalry (2018 [2019], Leo): [r]: B+(*)
  • Simon Nabatov: Readings: Gileya Revisited (2018 [2019], Leo): [r]: B+(*)
  • Angel Olsen: All Mirrors (2019, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jessica Pratt: Quiet Signs (2019, Mexican Summer): [r]: B-
  • Carmen Sandim: Play Doh (2019, Ropeadope): [cd]: B+(*) [10-25]
  • Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won't Hold (2019, Mom + Pop): [r]: B
  • Tyshawn Sorey and Marilyn Crispell: The Adornment of Time (2018 [2019], Pi): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Kevin Sun: The Sustain of Memory (2019, Endectomorph Music, 2CD): [cd]: A- [11-15]
  • Tegan and Sara: Hey, I'm Just Like You (2019, Warner Brothers): [r]: B+(**)
  • Andrés Vial/Dezron Douglas/Eric McPherson: Gang of Three (2019, Chromatic Audio): [cd]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

  • Fania Goes Psychedelic (1967-71 [2019], Craft Latino): [r]: B+(***)
  • World Spirituality Classics 2: The Time for Peace Is Now (1970s [2019], Luaka Bop): [r]: B+(***)

Old music:

  • Bertrand Denzler Cluster: Y? (1998 [2000], Leo Lab): [r]: B+(***)
  • Bertrand Denzler/Norbert Pfammatter: NanoCluster 02/2000 (2000, Leo Lab): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Rez Abbasi: A Throw of Dice by the Silent Ensemble (Whirlwind): October 19
  • Katerina Brown: Mirror (Mellowtone Music): October 18
  • Drumming Cellist [Kristijan Krajncan]: Abraxas (Sazas)
  • Lorenzo Feliciati/Michele Rabbia: Antikythera (RareNoise): cdr, October 25
  • Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda: Four (Long Song): November 8
  • Francesco Guerri: Su Mimmi Non Si Spara! (RareNoise): cdr, October 25
  • Roger Kellaway: The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway (IPO): November 1
  • Doug MacDonald & the Tarmac Ensemble: Jazz Marathon 4: Live at Hangar 18 (DMAC): October 15
  • Bernie Mora & Tangent: No Agenda (Rhombus)
  • The Niro Featuring Gary Lucas: The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (Esordisco): November 8
  • Northern Ranger: Eastern Stranger (self-released, EP)
  • Miles Okazaki: The Sky Below (Pi): October 25
  • Anne Phillips: Live at the Jazz Bakery (Conawago)
  • Chip Stephens/Stenn Wilson: Sadness & Soul (Capri): October 18
  • Dave Stryker: Eight Track Christmas (Strikezone): November 1
  • Esbjörn Svensson Trio: E.S.T. Live in Gothenburg (2001, ACT, 2CD): October 25
  • Gebhard Ullmann/Hans Lüdemann/Oliver Potratz/Eric Schaefer: MikroPULS (Intuition): October 18
  • Brahja Waldman: Brahja (RR Gems): cdr

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Once again, ran out of time before I could get around to an introduction. The impeachment story rolls on, and Trump is getting weirder and freakier than ever. Meanwhile, more bad shit is happening than I can get a grip on. And what's likely to happen when the new Supreme Court gets down to business. Once you tote up all the damage Trump's election directly causes, you need to look up "opportunity costs."


Some scattered links this week:

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Daiy Log

Zhanna Pataky visited Eastern Europe this summer, and came back wanting to cook something Hungarian. We had previously collaborated on a couple of Russian dinners, and I'm always game for a new cuisine. Did some shopping at Amazon, and wound up buying one cookbook: Silvena Johan Lauta: The Food & Cooking of Hungary. Here's a first stab at a possible menu:

  • Hungarian Goulash: a beef stew, with onion, tomato, green bell pepper, potatoes, spices (paprika, caraway), served with Hungarian Dumplings. Alternative: Rabbit Goulash Stew: as above but with rabbit instead of beef, chicken stock, potatoes or dumpling on side; or Venison Goulash: similar, with venison shoulder instead of beef, chicken stock, carrot and parsnip, potatoes or dumpling on side.
  • Hungarian Dumplings: egg, flour, herbs; serve with bacon and butter. Alternative: any other dumpling dish, like Oregano and Cumin Dumplings, Transylvanian Dumplings with Olives, Herb Semolina Dumplings, or Pinched Noodles.
  • Feta and Paprika Bruschetta: ciabatta bread slices, toasted, topped with feta, cream cheese, spices (mustard, cumin, paprika); suggest serve with tomato salad (not in recipe; picture shows red onion garnish, with tomatoes and cucumbers on side).
  • Transylvanian Stuffed Mushrooms: button (or baby portabella?) mushrooms, stuffed with ricotta, thyme, bacon); suggest serve with green salad.
  • Hungarian Cold Buffet Salad with Mustard: cooked and diced ham, frankfurters, potato, carrot, peas, eggs, green beans, gherkins, with dijon mustard, parsley, and mayonnaise (home-made).
  • Pan-fried Pike with Cream and Dill Sauce: white fish fillets, flour, fried in butter with wild mushrooms; sauce, on side, is fish stock, white wine, cream, and fresh dill. Alternative: Trout in Horseradish Sauce: trout, poached with root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, onion), with sour cream, horseradish; serve with boiled potatoes and steamed green vegetables.
  • Hungarian Chocolate Almond Torte: cake with dark chocolate, butter, eggs, brown sugar, ground almonds, 2 tbs. flour (so not quite flourless); topped with ganache and almond topping. Alternative: Hungarian Pancakes with Pecan Filling: thin pancakes filled with pecans, golden raisins, lemon zest, apricot jam, cinnamon, sugar; and/or a fruit dessert, like Walnut Baked Prunes: prunes, orange juice and zest, sour cream, bread crumbs, walnuts, butter; or Roasted Pears With Honey: pears, butter, rosemary, balsamic, honey. Other options from elsewhere (see below) include Somloi Trifle ("Hungary's favorite dessert") and Dobos Torte (from The Gourmet Cookbook).

Some other dishes that caught my eye, but are probably de trop:

  • Chicken and Paprika Stew with Sour Cream: cubed chicken breast, onion, tomato, green bell pepper, sour cream, paprika.
  • Venison Meatballs: ground venison and veal, bread crumbs, egg, formed into meatballs, dusted with flour, fried; sauce with chicken stock, sour cream, paprika, herbs.
  • Pancakes with Creamy Feta Cheese and Wild Garlic: crepes, filled with feta, yogurt, sour cream, wild garlic leaves.
  • Pearl Barley Salad with Grapes and Pistachio Nuts: pearl barley (cooked), tomato, green bell pepper, cucumber, white seedless grapes, parsley, mint, toasted pistachio nuts.

I've previously made goulash from the recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook. It's a bit more complicated than this one, but similar. It's one of only four Hungarian recipes in the book. Chicken Paprika is another -- again, similar to above, but calls for thighs. The other two are desserts: Chocolate-orange Dobostorte, and Hungarian chocolate mousse cake bars. The former is very complex and ornate, with eight layers of sponge cake (white, with orange zest), glazed with orange syrup, separated by layers of chocolate buttercream, topped by a layer of caramel, the sides covered with buttercream and hazelnuts. The bars are also quite complex, with chocolate cake layers, apricot jam, a chocolate mousse filling, a whipped cream filling, and a chocolate glaze. The cake layers are baked in a 10x15 pan, then cut into bars after assembling.

Most of the goulash recipes I see on the internet call for ground beef and elbow macaroni (some adding cheddar cheese) -- some of these are explicitly labeled American Goulash. Flat egg noodles are sometimes used. Ones explicitly labeled "Hungarian Goulash" start with beef cubes. The most minimal is just beef, onion, and paprika. Others add tomato, bell pepper, carrot and/or potato, also extra flavors (one has brown sugar and balsamic vinegar). Most are served over separately-cooked egg noodles.

Lots of soups in the cookbook, but since it's at most practical to serve one, and since Goulash counts (as would Chicken Paprika), I've ignored the others.

Some other recipes I've noticed while searching for Hungarian recipes:

  • Sour Cherry Soup
  • Strawberry Soup
  • Beef Paprikash with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
  • Hungarian Short Ribs
  • Garlic Pork Rib Roast with Parsley Potatoes
  • Grandma Schwartz's Rouladen: beef top round
  • Meat Stew (Porkolt)
  • Shepherd's Noodles (Pasztortarhonya): bacon, sausage, tarhonya (some kind of noodle).
  • Crispy Pork Belly
  • Baked Garlic Paprika Chicken
  • Butternut Goulash
  • New World Stuffed Cabbage
  • Beef & Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
  • Cucumber Salad: sour cream or vinegar.
  • Hungarian-Style Green Beans
  • Layered Potatoes (Rakott Krumpli): potatoes, eggs, sausage, sour cream, cheese.
  • Potato Pancakes (Lapcsznka)
  • Pickled Sweet Peppers
  • Stuffed Peppers (Toltott Paprika)
  • Vegetable Stew (Lecso): a paprika stew, variations: egg, sausage.
  • Fozelek: another vegetable stew (no translation).
  • Cabbage & Noodles (Haluski)
  • Horseradish Deviled Eggs
  • Fried Dough (Langos): topped with sour cream and cheese; note this tops several lists.
  • Palacsinta (Crepes)
  • Cheese Noodles (Turos Csusza)
  • Fried Cheese (Rantott Sajt): Swiss or mozzarella dredged in egg and breadcrumbs, then fried.
  • Apple Strudle
  • Cardamon-Blackberry Linzer Cookies
  • Cookie Crust Deep-Dish Apple Pie
  • Hungarian Nut Rolls
  • Hungarian Walnut Cookies: more like rugelach.
  • Layered Pastry (Flodni): walnut, apple, poppyseed, jam.
  • Somloi Trifle (Somloi Galuska): three types of sponge cake (plain, walnut, chocolate), raising, walnuts, drizzled with dark chocolate rum sauce, topped with whipped cream.
  • 5 Layer Cocoa Slices
  • Mezes Kremes: a layered cake with glaze and filling.
  • Kugler Cake: ground almond cake with chocolate filling.
  • Zserbo/Gerbeaud Slice: multi-layered torte with chocolate top.
  • Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake

PS: Talked with Zhanna today. She wants to cook two recipes: a thick goulash, using her mother's recipe (Russian, from Kazakhstan, I think), and something with sausages and noodles. She suggested I do chicken paprika, a salad, and a cake. I want to do one of the dumpling recipes, or maybe just the pinched noodles. Adding the chicken (and sausage) leaves no room for fish or meatballs. I still like the feta bruschetta, but think I'll pick the pearl barley salad over the cold buffet salad (which could really be a one-dish meal). I'll probably go with the chocolate almond torte, although the solmoi torte is still tempting. Agreed on Friday, October 18 as the date.


Sep 2019