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Kinga Jung Makes Mézeskalács

A classic Christmas cookie recipe passed down through generations creates nostalgia for Kinga Jung.

For as long as Kinga Jung can remember, her Christmas holiday has always revolved around Mézeskalács, or

“Hungarian gingerbread cookies,” the family-favorite makes an appearance every winter, the smells of clove, cinnamon and ginger filling the house with a nostalgic warmth.

For Jung and her family, these cookies are not just a one-and-done deal, as the dough is made the night before the main event, giving it time to rise before it is shaped the following morning. The next morning is for the rolling out and cutting up of the shapes. Colorful cookie cutters shaped as dinosaurs, angels and stars litter the countertop, year after year. Big and small shapes line the baking sheets, ready to be coated with a layer of egg yolk before they are placed in the oven. As they bake, icing is made from whipped egg whites, powdered sugar and just a little bit of lemon juice. After they cool, the cookies are iced. Both simple and complex patterns adorn their golden tops; some to be eaten immediately and some saved to be shared with family and friends as a token of love.

Packed into containers to be carried across state lines, the cookies and the family annually make their way to their cousin’s house for the Christmas festivities.

When Jung was 6 years old, she remembers coming up the stairs with her cousins to the sight of presents. She immediately ran into the kitchen to tell her grandma that the angel had visited. The sound of bells was faint in the distance as her grandma informed her that she just saw the angel flying by.

“I was freaking out. I was like, oh my god, that angel was actually here. I’m hearing bells. I’m hearing bells. She’s coming,” Jung said.

That was the moment she truly believed.

In Hungarian tradition, the angel delivers presents on the night of Christmas Eve. Most years, a post-dinner, pre-presents walk is a necessity (to make sure the angel has time to deliver gifts). But before they left, Jung would often try to take a peek inside, craning her neck, jumping up and down, hoping for a peek at the presents through the window before one of her parents ushered her away

“I remember literally jumping with joy,” Jung said.

As they walk along the riverside, the scent of pine thick in their noses as they listen for the sound of bells in the distance — a sure sign that the angel is nearby. Anticipation grows as snow lands on eyelashes and sticks to mittens, the sounds of Hungarian Christmas songs filling the air. Kis karácsony nagy karácso- ny, which translates to “Big Christmas, Little Christmas”

Knowing that upon their return, presents would be waiting under the tree, she remembers the anticipation building with each step. Jung knows that even as she grows older, she can still enjoy the little frivolous joys like bells in the woods.

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About the Contributor
Clara Freeth, Social Media Editor-in-Chief
Clara Freeth is a junior at CHS. This is her second year in journalism and her first as a Social Media Editor-In-Chief. When not writing, she can be found playing field hockey as captain of the Ann Arbor Huron varsity team, listening to music in her room, or spending time outside with her friends. Clara is excited about all that this year has to offer!

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