Goulash – a tasty history (9)

Goulash - a tasty history (9)

Even Emperor Frans Jozef I (1830 – 1916), who loved to spoon the occasional plate of goulash, was only in his capacity as King of Hungary able to withstand the hot powder. When the sovereign once was driven home in his Imperial and Royal Train his cook served him a chicken pörkölt. The Emperor enjoyed it greatly, but shortly after felt a nasty twinge coming on in the stomach area. When his valet informed him that the train had just crossed the border and that they were now on Austrian territory, he answered: “what is good for the King of Hungary, is too sharp for the Emperor of Austria”. More imaginative minds like to add to this anecdote that the driver was hastily ordered to return to Hungary, after which the imperial stomach problems vanished like a puff of smoke.

More things worth knowing: when in the late 19th century the German army was gladdened with modern field kitchens(¹), goulash gained a firm foothold there as well. These devices, which could be heated to high temperatures, were very well suited for the powerful browning of large quantities of meat, which is especially important for the preparation of goulash. It wasn’t long before these mobile cooking installations were given the nickname of “Gulaschkanone”. The cookers were introduced in the Austrian-Hungarian army too, where they were given the same sobriquet of “goulash cannon” (Hungarian: “gulyáságyú”)

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Goulash - a tasty history (9)

(¹) Since the beginning of the 19th century several attempts had been made to develop practicable field kitchens. The first truly successful mobile field kitchen was invented in 1892 by Carl Philipp Fissler from Idar-Oberstein, and was soon introduced into the German armed forces. In WWI this type of field kitchen was used by nearly all European armies. It was a two-wheeled trailer in which large amounts of food could be cooked and kept warm, even during troop movements. The car was transported in the same manner as the guns of the field artillery; joined to a limber drawn by horses. Hence the moniker “goulash cannon”.

© 2016, Marcellus Wick

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