Kulhay Christmas Foods

After Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house this year, I had my Grandma and Aunt Margie explain some of the traditional Christmas foods that come from their side of the family, the Kulhays. Like many of the early 20th century immigrants in the Cleveland area, the Kulhays are from Hungary.

I picked four Christmas staples: Székelygulyás, Sauerkraut Balls, Töltöttkáposzta, and Christmas Jello. After the videos, Grandma and Aunt Margie graciously opened their cookbooks and shared their recipes. Grandma’s cookbook is a treasure:

Székelygulyás

A gulyás is a stew. This one contains sauerkraut and pork. Grandma said that this is traditionally a New Year’s dish, but she makes it at Christmas since that is when we are all home. Grandma eats it by itself, but most of us grandkids prefer eating it over dumplings.

 

Here is the recipe:

 

Sauerkraut Balls

Aunt Margie said that this recipe originally came from McGarvey’s restaurant in Vermilion, OH, where one of her aunts worked. The recipe sounds like a clever chef devised it as a way to use up the weekend’s leftovers. It stuck throughout the years because it is delicious. Here is a McGarvey’s logo from the late 60s:

 

Here is the recipe:

 

Töltöttkáposzta

Töltött means stuffed and káposzta means cabbage. My family makes these in batches of 50 or 100 during the holidays and for big parties like graduations. I have lots of early memories of 4 people at a time standing at the counter rolling meat in cabbage leaves. I even rolled a few myself!

Here are the recipes for 100 and 25:

 

Christmas Jello

Every year, the first dessert we eat after dinner is Grandma’s Christmas Jello. It is an 8-layer jello cake that takes Grandma all day to make. The colorful layers are the normal jello flavors and the white layers are made out of scalded milk and sour cream set with gelatin. You have to let each layer set before pouring on the next layer.

Next year we’ll go over the baked goods!

4 thoughts on “Kulhay Christmas Foods

  1. Dad! January 3, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Very nice Christmas post!

    Like

  2. Aunt Susie January 3, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    YOY! Loved it!!

    Like

  3. Ronald Udovich January 9, 2018 / 12:29 pm

    With all this good Tasty food We can have a holiday every day Thank you very much

    Like

  4. Geza Kulhay April 23, 2019 / 9:09 am

    Dear Chuck,
    At the begining of the article you mentioned that ‘from their side of the family, the Kulhays. Like many of the early 20th century immigrants in the Cleveland area, the Kulhays are from Hungary.’ I hope you could give me some information about who was that Kulhay who went to the USA and when was it exactly. There is only one Kulhay family in Hungary so we should be related with your grandma. My grandfather was Geza Kulhay(1902) and his older brother was Karoly. My greatfather was also Karoly who was a pianomaker in Budapest.

    Bests
    Geza Kulhay
    kulhaygeza@gmail.com

    Like

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