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Friday, November 23, 2012

Can You Help Me Find My Grandmother's Cookie Recipe?

Our caller asked “When I was a child, my grandmother used to make a cookie with pork cracklings, the brown bits after cooking pork.  They were really good, but she never wrote down any of her recipes. I think she called them bagachels.  Can you help me find the recipe?”  Since it sounded like a food related to a particular ethnic background, the Newton Falls Public Library staff felt they needed some more information.  Talking with her we found that her grandmother had been born in 1868 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Searching online for the terms “bagachel cookie” did not bring up any useful results. Considering how some letters sound like others, we tried “pagachel cookie.” Here we found the website, TheWorld's Best Photos of pogácsa - Flickr Hive Mind.  The tempting photographs of cookies included one called Pagachel / Pogácsa.  Our search for pogácsa took us to the website, Mashpedia. The article said that it
 “is a type of savory scone in Hungarian cuisine. It is also popularly eaten in nearby Slovakia 
. . . As with scones and biscuitseggs and butter are common ingredients, as is milkcream or sour cream. Many traditional versions exist, with size, shape—the most common is round—and flavor variations in each region/city of Hungary. A dozen different ingredients can be found either in the dough, sprinkled on top before baking, or both: medium-firm fresh cheeses, aged dry hard cheese(s), pork crackling (tepertő), cabbageblack pepper, hot or sweet paprikagarlicred onioncaraway seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or poppy seeds.”
The key ingredient, pork cracklings, was included in this description. Now we were able to locate a basic pagachel recipe for our patron and she could add the cracklings to it, as she remembered her grandmother doing.

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