Friday, September 5, 2014

Comfort Foods Contributor

I was the official Comfort Foods Contributor on Squidoo. From a very early age, as I was growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, I learned to have a fine appreciation for Hungarian Foods from my maternal grandmother, Julia Nagy.

jaguarjulie comfort foods contributor
Holidays with Grandma Julia Nagy - JaguarJulie and sister Diane

It was an incredible experience as a young child to visit my grandparents because grandma was always making something that smelled and tasted quite heavenly!

"Are we going to grandma's house for the holiday?" I would ask my mom. "Yes, we are ... and she is making her stuffed cabbage rolls." Oh my, but that was all I needed to hear. Just a wee part of the comforting childhood memories that come back to me today as I think about what grandma's special recipes really meant. Come along, visit with me as I think about all those foody memories. Comfort-ing childhood memories!

I've always written about those comfort foods in my life, not only as the official contributor on Squidoo! Can you smell it now?
All photos and content copyright JaguarJulie.

Poll : Childhood Memories and Comfort Foods
How about you? Do you have these kind of memories like I do?
  1. Yes indeed I do!
  2. No, I wished I did!

Thank YOU Grandma!
jaguarjulie in red
Oh, it is Mother's Day as I sit here and write this ... How appropriate that I waited for one week after Bonnie asked me if I would like to take on the role of the official Comfort Foods Contributor on Squidoo!

You see, she also asked me to be the official Backyard Gardener Contributor on Squidoo. I created my official page right away on May 5th. However, writing about comfort foods was just a little more special.

Hey, this is me right here in this red sparkly gown all dressed up for the holidays and looking like a glamour girl. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for my grandmother and my mother; right? And, I also owe my looks to them both … and of course, my father.

I am more than grateful to grandma for giving me such rich memories of my childhood. It is true that her one special recipe that defined those times was her Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls.

Today, IT is the top of the list for me if you ask me what are my favorite comfort foods. After that, I really can’t rank the rest of them in the top ten … pretty much, I think of the rest as equal favorites.

squidoo official contributor

I Have this Hungarian Recipe Book!

It is June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes!
My edition is the spiral-bound copy. I have had this book for a lot of years! For me, it is the first of many Hungarian recipe books that I will recommend. I love the extra cultural information that you get ... it's like a story behind the food! Plus, the recipes surely sound like my grandma Julia Nagy was the food consultant behind this book. Those sound like my grandma's authentic Hungarian recipes!!!

You get 95 authentic recipes. These are "pre World War One family recipes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire!"

Much like in our family, these family recipes were never written down, but were passed down through the family. I'm glad THEY finally wrote them down and offered them up in this little book.

An extra plus is learning of their family's life in the Altkeer, Batchka region of Hungary around the 1900s!

Where IT all Started!
By my grandma's side all those years ago ...

jaguarjulie and grandma julia nagy comfort foods contributor
You’ve probably seen this picture many a time throughout my food memoirs! This is the one picture that comes to mind when I think back on comfort foods and experiencing time with my grandma, Julia Nagy back in the 1950s. It was a less harried time back then with no computers or cell phones … but real time with the family.

I am standing by my grandma at the kitchen dining table and she is writing something down with a pencil. It could have been a recipe, you know?

If you look closely at the photo, you can see the fine bone china on the table. To the left of the photo, you get a glimpse of my mom who also is writing with a pencil.

This is an old black and white polaroid that my dad took. We are in my grandparents brick bungalow on Chatfield Avenue on the Westside of Cleveland. Speaking of old things, how about that rotary telephone and that old General Electric refrigerator?

Thankfully, we had an electric refrigerator that kept all those comfort food leftovers fresh for our next meal of memories.

The MAIN Influence!
It all revolves around the rolls - the authentic Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls! OMG, but who would have thunk? All those years ago, my favorite childhood food created all those memories that define me today. It is such a comfort you know?

Easter at Grandma's House
Another old polaroid ...

aguarjulie comfort foods contributor easter memories
Talk about polaroid memories! Take a look at this picture … you saw a bit of it in our introduction. This was taken at Easter with our family get-together down the basement of my grandma’s house on Chatfield Avenue.

That is me on the right hamming it up for the camera as I shovel — probably stuffed cabbage rolls — into my mouth! You can see my sister Diane to the left and that’s probably my brother Paul’s head in the foreground. The “kids” got the card table whilst the adults sat together. In the background, if you look closely, you can see my grandma in the middle back holding one of my cousins.

I can make out a chocolate Easter bunny in a package on the table along with three bottles of Pepsi-Cola!

Traditional Hungarian Pastries for the Holidays
Equal time for the desserts! I can honestly say, that grandma's pastries were ranked right up there with the main entree! Those delicious nut rolls and poppy seed rolls. Yes, you can define desserts as comfort foods. We would usually be lucky enough to have grandma make BOTH of these for the holidays!!

Equal Time for my Other Grandma!
On the Westside of Cleveland ...

Thinking back all those years ago, my father’s mother, was an important influence. However, because she really didn’t speak very good English, I don’t have the same type of memories as I did with my mom’s mother!

My fraternal grandmother, Antonia Lesteshen, was a short, quiet woman … and I remember even less about my fraternal grandfather, Joseph Lesteshen. Today, I wished it was different.

You know, it kind of makes me smile as I am reliving my memories of her comfort foods. You see, she did make HER version of stuffed cabbage rolls for us kids … but something was WRONG with them. I’m hoping that I asked my mother quietly, “what the heck is that in those rolls?” She used buckwheat … not something a kid really likes especially after the other grandma has made her recipe!

But, my Ukrainian grandma did make very special breads! Her recipe was an egg bread that had a really dark crust, plus it didn’t look like a normal bread loaf … it was rather round.

When it was Easter, this grandma showed us her artistic side with the most artistic colored Easter eggs!

More of My Comfort Foods
I've written about so many tasty items! Honestly? How can you really rank these? I think they are all good. Just sharing a few of the other culinary items which have filled my stomach with comforting calories over the years. I'm thinking about Hungarian Goulash, Hungarian Spaetzle, Meatloaf and Chili for starts!

Picnic Memories with the Family
Celebrating the less formal times ...

jaguarjulie comfort foods contributor picnic
Ah, we weren’t always all dressed up and sitting around a formal dining table for the holidays! Some of my favorite memories with the casual picnics we enjoyed in the various parks throughout the Cleveland, Ohio area.

I am sitting at the picnic table looking rather cheeky, on the right, with my sister Diane, on the left. Unfortunately, our dad had his head cut-off … in the picture when my parents got a divorce. That’s a shame that mom did that to the photos!

Yummy Salad Recipes great for Picnics!
It's difficult to pick just one over the other These are two of my all-time favorites when talking salad recipes. And, then the third is something rather new! Perfect for picnics or family get-togethers. Let see, Eight Layer Salad, Spicy Potato Salad and then Breaded Baked Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Salad!!

Picnic Memories with the Family Take Two
Hey, you about done yet?

jaguarjulie comfort foods contributor picnic
I guess my mom wanted to be sure she got a good picture of us … so she snapped another photo. I see I couldn’t wait and stuck my hand into the plate of food. As kids, we went for less formal comfort foods for our picnic.

We might have hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill. If mom packed a picnic lunch, she might also have meatloaf sandwiches and potato salad with some potato chips. We didn’t really do french fries since those usually went into the oven and were not as good and greasy as they are today!

P.S. Poor ol’ dad … still missing his head!

Some Great Sandwiches for Picnics
Make time to gather the family and go someplace!Sometimes you don't want to use the barbecue grill, but want to bring along ready-made healthy sandwiches. May I suggest one of these to comfort you: Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Jalapeno Cheese Bread, PST on Jalapeno Cheese Bread, PST on Onion Schnecken Roll.

Holidays at Grandma's with Kereszmama
My mom's Hungarian godmother!

jaguarjulie comfort foods contributor kereszmama
We knew it would be a special holiday at grandma’s when my mom’s Hungarian godmother, her kereszmama, would be there. Her daughter, Betty, was my kereszmama and I took her name of Elizabeth as my confirmation name. Gosh, I don’t remember my mom’s godmother cooking but I am sure she did consult or help my grandma when she was making her recipes.

I am thankful that I had this opportunity to reflect back on a quieter time that inspired me to be what I am today! Plus, to have actually experienced such tasty food recipes that would influence me and my writings so many years later.

That is comforting, you must admit!

Two More Traditional Hungarian Pastries
I know my mom's Hungarian godmother could make these! You know, now that I think about it, I know that my grandma used to talk about her flaky dough. I seem to remember a time that grandma talked with my mom's kereszmama about not being happy with her strudel dough. It seemed grandma couldn't get it flaky enough! So, I've hidden that recipe from my repertoire! But I have shared her Hungarian Butter Horns and Hungarian Kifli. LOL

Credits Due: To my Grandmother and Grandfather!
In closing, I need to pay credit where credit is due ... to my maternal grandparents ... Julia Nagy and Alexander Nagy. I have honored the both of them with their fifteen minutes of Squidoo fame. Without them, I don't know where the heck I would be today. Seriously.

jaguarjulie think about it

Comforting Feedback from My Readers
I love to hear what my readers have to say! Hey, don’t be shy. Let me know you dropped by. Be your own original self. And, if my food memories touched a chord with you, I’d love to hear about it!

History: I'm the Comfort Foods Contributor on Squidoo was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on May 11, 2014 by JaguarJulie. On May 11, 2014 this lens earned the Purple Star Award for quality content.


  1. My mom always made awesome cabbage rolls and her own homemade perogies as well just so delicious nothing never went to waist when mom made those.

    1. Oh my, you have mentioned two of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Nothing better than homemade cabbage rolls AND perogies!!