Transitory Traditions

Wish I Were Here


Every year, when I saw that sign, I couldn’t help but laugh. Four Christmases in Budapest, and I could never get over seeing that culinary tradition at the Christmas Market. Until I moved to Budapest, I hadn’t known that roosters had testicles. The discovery was a little unsettling. I didn’t grow up on a farm or consider myself an expert on fowl anatomy, but it seemed like something I should have known. Basic zoology. I peered into the large cauldron. There they floated – thumb-sized, gelatinous masses. Disproportionately large. It seemed like the only people who ate them were tourists looking to bolster their bravado.


How long does it take for behavior to be considered tradition? The Christmas market in Budapest always began the third week of November, but my husband and I refused to go before December. If you get into the spirit too soon, you end up being…

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