Almost 30 years ago I visited a few times the house we are living in. My grandmother’s brother-in -law lived here at that time alone and sometimes we spent a day with him with my sister and my cousins. After so many years I still remember how much I loved the house and the garden, for me it was a real wonderland. My most favourite place was the attic. As a child attics for me were the hide-outs of old secrets and stories full with treasures and hidden corners to discover. Usually children are not allowed to go up to attics because of the dust and because adult think that it can be dangerous with all broken stuff that can lie on the floor. Uncle Jóska however let me climb up the old ladder and look around in the attic. I don’t remember any more what I saw but I still remember very well how proud I was of myself that I could go up alone!
The attic hasn’t changed a lot since than. Now I can climb up without permission so many times as I want and I can spend as much time looking around as I wish. I like the way the old wooden door creeks when I open it. I like the old work clothes that are put on the beam which make me feel that uncle Jóska would be still with us, working in the garden sometimes. There is a spinning wheel at the corner and an old weigh in the other one, but nobody uses them any more. We moved in 1.5 years ago and so far we left the attic in its original state but now it was time for cleaning and arranging. There were a lot of garbage to throw away but we found some treasures as well.
For example two horseshoes that I put next to the entrance door to bring us luck. A copper bell that I hang up near the entrance door as well. A wrought iron lamp to restore and old milking cans. We find old newspapers, magazines and schoolbooks and also a contract from 1891. I leave wooden boxes and demijohns where they were to preserve the attics original and unique feeling. The old wooden ladder is still very steep but after carrying down the garbage bags one after the other one I run up and down secure and comfortable which I think is a sign of being really at home in the little house.
After spending the complete day in the attic cleaning and arranging I cannot imagine any better than grab a glass of ice-cold strawberry punch based on a recipe from the 1930’s which I found in an old cookbook. The original recipe uses big portions and French red wine, but I wouldn’t be so strict because I must realise that it tastes fantastic when I mix it from Hungarian wines and champagne. And while I am sipping the glass of punch I am thinking that sometimes we need to immerse into the past and give new purpose and life to old things. Whether it is a rusty horseshoe or a forgotten recipe of a strawberry punch.
based on a recipe from teh 1930’s by Bella Sárosi
500 strawberries (fresh or deep-frozen)
1 small bottle of champagne (200 ml)
150 ml red wine
150 ml white wine
100 g caster sugar
ice cubes for serving
Blend strawberries and if you don’t like seeds, strain it through a fine sieve. Dissolve sugar in the strawberry puree then add drinks and put it into the fridge to get it completely cold. Serve the punch with ice cubes.