Enter June Meyer. Like just about everyone these days, she has a recipe site, but it's not the sort of slick, photo-driven blog we've all grown accustomed to. Indeed, there are no photos of food at all. If nostalgia is a growing trend in cuisine, then I think her Web site is in the vanguard of some sort of back-to-basics sister food blog trend. It will catapult you back to the heady Internet days of the 1990s and all those text heavy sites dredged up in a Webcrawler search. All you Yahooligans know exactly what I'm talking about. But to me, this stripped-down approach is the appeal of Meyer's site. It's welcoming and honest and refreshingly unsnarky. As it says right there on the home page: "Welcome to June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes Homepage."
A former elementary school teacher, Meyer has archived her family recipes online, as well as putting together her own cookbook, which you can get only through mail order. As in - you need to send her a check or money order. For real. This requires a level of trust rarely called for in modern society. (You can order the book from other sellers on Amazon, but rather than the $22 price tag for U.S. residents listed on Meyer's site, the price for a new book on Amazon is listed at an alarming $10,000.)
How can she be anything but for real? Just look at her holding her cookbook in this, the only image I have found on her site:
her goulash recipe, which she says she learned to make from her grandmother, is perfection. The only thing I changed was to add carrots and a bit of garlic along with the potatoes, and I do hope her nagyanya will forgive me!
Because Meyer's dish is authentically Hungarian, it is soupy, unlike Austrian versions which have more of the consistency of stew. This makes sense - after all, you can't make those adorable little egg dumplings unless you have some broth for them to simmer in. I'm not going to reprint her recipe here, as you really need to go check it out and have your own June Meyer Experience.
What I will tell you is that you might be surprised at just how much flavor you can get from beef, potatoes, and onions. Well, when you see that the onions get fried in lard you may be less surprised! Meyer states that "You can never use too much paprika," and so I took her at her word and used 3 heaping tablespoons of the stuff (sweet Hungarian, of course) along with an additional teaspoon of hot paprika. All that luscious color comes from the beef juices and the paprika. Feast your eyes: