By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
It is often hard to choose which recipe to put into a book. I had developed two recipes for Hungarian-style potatoes, but there was room for only one. Another version of this recipe will be in my new book, which will be finished soon. But this version is so good I decided to post it so my readers can enjoy it.
This recipe is based on the traditional Hungarian flavor combination of onions, paprika, and bacon fat. This simple combination results in a rich, sweet, savory flavor that is a joy to taste. This dish is cooked at low heat on top of the stove, which makes it a good choice for a side dish on a hot day. Actually, it tastes so good that it can be enjoyed in any weather.
The basic Hungarian flavor base is made by sautéing onions in bacon fat until lightly colored, lowering the heat, and adding paprika. Very simple, but care must be taken in the selection of ingredients.
I recommend using organic potatoes and organic onions for this dish, as they have a better flavor.
The paprika should be from Hungary, if possible, and should be sweet. However, you could, if necessary, make it with sweet paprika (dulce) from Spain, or organic paprika.
I also recommend using bacon that does not contain nitrates, or other artificial preservatives, preferably from pastured pigs. The bacon absolutely must be very fat, as plenty of bacon fat is necessary for the success of this recipe.
Like many traditional recipes, this dish is simple, but the flavor is over the top, being much more than the sum of its parts.
Filtered water for boiling
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt
6 medium organic potatoes, peeled, and quartered lengthwise
4 thick slices fat bacon, without nitrates
2 medium organic yellow onions, sliced
1 tablespoon organic or imported sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
1. Heat a medium-sized pan of filtered water to boiling. Add the salt and the potatoes, and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and let the potatoes cook at a slow boil for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
2. Place the bacon in a cold heavy-bottomed frying pan. Turn the heat to medium. When the fat starts to melt, lower the heat to medium low. Turn the bacon from time to time so the fat can render from both sides without burning.
3. When most of the fat has rendered from the bacon, add the onions and sauté over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should soften and take on a golden color.
4. Turn the heat down to low. Add the paprika and mix well into the onions. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring, being careful not to burn the paprika.
5. Add the potatoes and stir well, making sure that all the potatoes are coated by the fat and paprika. Use a heavy spoon to break each potato quarter into two or three pieces as you stir.
6. Turn the heat back up to medium and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, turning the mixture occasionally.
7. Cover the pan, and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 10 minutes, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally.
You should wind up with a meltingly soft, caramelized mélange of onions and potatoes, subtly flavored by the paprika that goes well with any barbecued meat.
By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
The domination of our government by the large agricultural industry has led to some of the most ignorant and ill-advised nutritional advice in the history of our planet. I thought the idiotic “food pyramid” with its emphasis on dead carbohydrates as the foundation of diet and its demonizing of healthy fats and protein was as bad as it was going to get.
I truly did underestimate our government. The replacement for the “food pyramid,” “MyPlate,” is even worse.
The first clue as to how bad this is comes when you look at the plate, at “choosemyplate.gov.” The plate has sections for fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein. There is also a small circle labeled dairy. The text on the page informs us that the dairy should be 1% fat, or less. But there is no place for the most important food group, fats. To our government, fat is no longer a food.
I know that the most nutritious food ever discovered is the butter from grassfed animals. But where in “MyPlate” is the butter?
How the Government Sees Butter
The “MyPlate” page includes a link to “My-Food-a-Pedia,” a huge compendium of marketing and misinformation. In My-Food-a-Pedia, all solid fats, including butter and the healthy fat of grassfed animals, are lumped together in a group called “others.” Like a group of alien invaders. Besides “solid fats,” the “others” include added sugar and alcohol. There is no difference between butter and candy bars? Or butter and light beer? Or butter and whiskey? At least, according to our government all these foods are the same. According to our government, the amount of “others” in our diet is to be strictly limited.
The links included a window listing the various food groups. I looked at each of them, to see where butter was classified. Where’s the butter? Butter is not a vegetable. Butter is not a fruit. Butter is not a grain. Butter is not protein. Butter is not even dairy. Butter, as a “solid fat” is included in a group called “Empty Calories.” “Empty Calories” are defined as items that have “little or no nutritional value,” but a lot of calories.
So, according to our government, butter has “little or no nutritional value.”
This is the equivalent of saying that ice is hot, or water is dry, or the moon is made of green cheese. It is absolutely not true.
Butter Is the Most Nutrient-Dense Food on Earth
Butter is full of nutrients, and the factors needed to absorb and use them. Here is a list of some of the nutrients in grassfed butter:
- Retinol, the real Vitamin A;
- Vitamin D;
- Vitamin K;
- Vitamin E;
- The substance Dr. Weston A. Price named “Activator X”: Vitamin K2
- Arachidonic acid;
- Short and medium chain fatty acids;
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in perfect balance with each other:
- Trace minerals;
- And many others.
An excellent article explaining the nutrients in butter and other good animal fats, and how the body uses them, can be found at The Skinny on Fats.
Little or no nutrition? Hogwash.
Why this Matters
The utter demonization of butter and animal fat, to the point of denying that it is even a food, has consequences.
This is much more than a bad joke. The government forces schools and other institutions that get government aid to comply with nutritional guidelines. It controls the diet of our military. It controls the diet of many medical facilities and rest homes. If the government insists that the guidelines be followed, butter and natural animal fat could be banned from the schools, and many other institutions. This could lead to a nutritional disaster that is even worse than the one we are experiencing today.
I will eat my butter and cover “my plate” in it!
The people of Bulgaria are famous for their long life spans, and robust good health. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was discovered that the Bulgarians lived longer than any other known people, having an astonishing number of centenarians. In fact, Bulgaria had a higher proportion of people 100 or older than any other nation. The question of why the Bulgarians lived so long and were so healthy has been studied for a long time. The original credit for Bulgarian health and longevity was given to a strain of bacteria found in their yogurt. This discovery led to yogurt becoming popular all over the western world. However, yogurt is only a small part of the traditional Bulgarian diet. A careful examination of the traditional foods of Bulgaria shows that they ate a diet quite similar to the diets eaten by the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price.
No wonder the Bulgarians lived so long and were so healthy!
The Diets Studied By Dr. Weston A. Price
Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist in the early twentieth century. He noticed that each generation of his patients was less healthy than the previous generation and had worse teeth. Dr. Price decided that the answer was in nutrition, and he spent ten years traveling around the world to study healthy peoples who ate their traditional diets. He also studied what happened to these peoples when they ate modern food. Dr. Price discovered what the healthy peoples ate, and what they did not eat. The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price did not have the chronic diseases that plague the modern world, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
Dr. Price discovered that the healthy traditional diets had many things in common with each other.
High Animal Fat Consumption
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price ate a huge amount of animal fat from healthy animals, either pastured or wild. This included dairy fats such as butter, cheese, and cream, the natural fat of all kinds of animals, and the fat contained in the internal organs of animals, such as liver and kidney.
The traditional Bulgarian diet was full of animal fat from pastured animals and wild game. The natural fat of the animal was eaten with the meat. Meat was often cooked with large amounts of butter. Butter and cheese were often a vital part of traditional breads. Organ meats were very popular, even being eaten in soup. Large amounts of yogurt were eaten. The yogurt was always full-fat. A popular traditional drink was Aryan, which was made of yogurt and cold water blended together. Meat roasting in front of a fire was often basted with a chunk of animal fat. Large amounts of full-fat cheese were also eaten. Many Bulgarian breads and pastries were made with huge amounts of butter, often stuffed with full-fat cheese, or with cheese as a basic ingredient.
Meat and Game Eaten with Fat
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price valued meat as a food, whether it came from pastured animals or wild game. These peoples always ate meat with fat.
Pastured meat of all kinds was valued in Bulgaria, and wild game was a favorite. Meat in Bulgaria was almost always served with the natural fat, cooked with fat, and served with other foods containing fat.
Large Amounts of Organ Meats
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price valued the organs of animals as food, and ate large amounts of organ meats, particularly liver, but also heart, kidney, and many other organ meats.
The traditional Bulgarian diet valued all kinds of organ meats, serving them in many forms, with “Organs Soup” being a favorite dish.
Wild Fish and Seafood
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price ate plenty of wild fish and seafood if they could get it, with fish eggs being a valued food.
Wild fish and seafood were favorites in Bulgaria, and were widely and frequently eaten as part of the traditional diet. Fish eggs were valued, and often served.
Eggs and Poultry
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price ate large amounts of eggs, poultry, and other wild birds, if these foods were available.
Eggs and poultry were an important part of the Bulgarian diet. Eggs were not only eaten as a valued dish, but were added in large amounts to many other foods, such as traditional pasta and baking.
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price ate some fermented foods, often made from vegetables, on a daily basis.
Sauerkraut and other fermented foods were widely used in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, often being served at every meal in small quantities.
Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Grown in Rich Soil
Some of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price ate substantial amounts of vegetables and fruits, which were always grown organically, without chemicals, in rich soil full of nutrients.
Bulgaria had some of the richest soil on earth, and was famous for the wonderful qualities of their fruits and vegetables, which were widely eaten, and a crucial part of traditional cuisine.
No Refined Foods
The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price did not use refined or industrial foods, like processed sugar. Everything was made from scratch, and the only processing was traditional ways of preserving and fermenting food. When a member of one of these healthy peoples moved to an area where they ate refined foods, they quickly lost their health, and often their teeth.
The Bulgarians traditionally made everything from scratch, using only traditional ways of preserving and fermenting foods. The Bulgarians did eat desserts made with lots of refined sugar and flour, but only on very rare occasions such as religious holidays. These rarely served desserts were served with a meal that was full of healthy fats and other healthy foods, which limited the damage done by the refined foods.
A Healthy Attitude Towards Food
So many people today are afraid of food. Traditional foods like animal fat are demonized, and blamed for almost every chronic illness. Traditional peoples did not blame food for disease, but saw their food as the very stuff of life, the source of life and health. Their traditions of how to cook and combine foods were carefully followed and provided excellent nutrition.
There is much evidence that modern processed foods create nutritional deficiencies that lead to all kinds of illness. This was never true of traditional foods prepared and served in traditional ways.
The traditional Bulgarian attitude towards food was very similar to that of healthy traditional peoples. The idea was to let your appetite be your guide as to what you should eat, and how much. In other words, eat what you desire, and as much of it as you desire, and let the needs of your body as expressed by your appetite be your guide.
This attitude works very well with traditional foods, containing the full range of needed nutrients.
Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to disaster with factory foods, which often lack vital nutrients, and are full of all kinds of artificial chemicals, sometimes chemicals designed to make you want to eat more of a particular processed food.
My solution is to avoid all factory foods, and let my appetite be my guide when I am eating real food only. It works beautifully.
The similarities between the diets studied by Dr. Price and the traditional Bulgarian diet are no coincidence. The principles discovered by Dr. Price are the best guide to great nutrition, and the traditional Bulgarian diet is yet more evidence of this fact.
By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
The recent premiere of the movie Farmageddon, which details the ruthless persecution of small family farmers by various government agencies, inspired this post.
We have the right to free speech. We have the right to freedom of religion. We have the right to freedom of association. We have the right to privacy. The government recognizes these rights. But there is a vital right that is just as crucial, just as fundamental, just as personal as these other rights—the right to choose the food we eat.
There is no human activity as important as eating. If we do not eat, we die. If we do not eat the foods needed by our bodies, we suffer from nutritional deficiencies. If we eat foods that are toxic to us, we get sick or even die. Everyone is an individual with different needs. Each of us has the right to make the decision as to what we eat for ourselves. There are any number of conflicting theories on what people should eat or should not eat—and many of the theories are based on greed more than anything else. But the point is this—the choice as to what to eat belongs to each individual, and to nobody else.
The government denies this basic human right, citing “safety.”
Safety is often inconsistent with freedom.
We can skydive. We can drive cars on dangerous freeways, though tens of thousands are killed in accidents every year. We can drink known poisons such as alcoholic beverages, though alcohol contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. We can hunt, though many die in hunting accidents. We can bungee jump. We can ride motorcycles. We can fly small planes. We can take part in a huge number of dangerous activities, all allowed by our government. But we are not allowed to drink a glass of raw milk, or eat a slice of raw cheese.
Government agencies are trying to prevent us from eating these foods by destroying the farms that produce them.
The freedom to choose what food we put in our mouths is a basic human right. If we do not have the freedom to control what goes into our bodies, what we choose to eat and drink, what freedom do we have? Who could possibly deny us that basic human right?
The government agencies can. The FDA has actually stated, in court documents, that we have no right to choose our food, and that we have no right to obtain the food we choose to eat. Is this the United States of America? The land of the free?
The freedom to choose our food is a basic human right, which no government agency should interfere with. The freedom to have access to the food of our choice is a necessary part of the right to choose our food, which is why the freedom of farmers to raise real food must be protected.
We must convince our elected representatives that the freedom to choose our food is a right just as important as freedom of speech, or any other fundamental right.
Freedom is basic to this country, and that includes the freedom to make our own choices about food.
This post is part of Save Farm Freedom Friday blog carnival.