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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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goulash probably the best known, outside Hungary, of Hungarian dishes, calls for a precise account. We must ask: ‘What is goulash?’ In Hungary, the word ‘goulash’ today refers to the cattle driver, the ‘cowboy’. The only place on a Hungarian menu where you would find goulash (gulyás, as it is written in Hungarian) would be among the soups, and it would be called gulyás leves, meaning ‘the soup of the cowboy’. What is known all over the world as ‘Hungarian goulash’ is called in Hungary pörkölt or paprikás. Pörkölt contains no sour cream. It is called paprikás if sour cream has been added to the pörkölt. Incidentally the pörk in pörkölt has nothing to do with the meat of a hog.