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You may be surprised to see a category for recipes in a book about espionage and family secrets. However, Francis Kalnay was a man of many talents. 

While living in Mexico after WWII he was visited by the writer, Virginia Safford, who dedicated a chapter to him in her book on the best meals she had ever eaten, including the Hungarian cabbage roll recipe reprinted below. He invented and marketed a stone to bake bread in a hearth and wrote articles on cooking for House Beautiful Magazine. Here is a recipe from the April, 1960 issue of House Beautiful entitled, “What! Flowers in Cooking?”

Safford, Virginia. Friends and Their Food. Dillon Press, New York, 1969.


Kalnay, Francis.  “Give Yourselves the New Thrill of Smoke Cookery”, House Beautiful Magazine. December, 1953, pages 202-208.  


Kalnay, Francis. “Enter the Wonderful World of Marinades.” House Beautiful Magazine.  November,1959, pages 238-286.

Court Bouillon with Spicy Flowers

A new treat for salmon, trout, carp and bass

• 3 to 4 cups water

• 2 teaspoon salt

• ½ cup shallot vinegar

• 1 small sliced carrot

• 3 crushed bay leaves

• 2 bruised cloves 

• 1 sprig of parsley

• 1 sprig of tarragon

• 6 nasturtium flowers

• 4 nasturtium leaves

• 6 geranium petals

• 6 violets

• 4 peppercorn, bruised

• 1 tablespoon chopped celery

• 2 teaspoons soy sauce

 Simmer 10 minutes, then lower into this brew the fish (fillets or steaks) in cheese cloth or wire basket. (Average fish fillet will take less than 1 to 2 minutes to cook in the steaming hot brew). After removing the fish, add butter and lemon or garnish as your mood of the moment dictates.

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

Serves 6

• 1 large head white cabbage
• 1 cup ground pork
• 1 cup ground beef
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 cups semi-cooked rice
• 2 lightly beaten eggs
• Salt, black pepper, paprika

Core cabbage and submerge in boiling water to loosen leaves. In a bowl mix pork, beef, onion, and rice. Stir in lightly beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Mix together with your hands. Lay portions on each large cabbage leaf.  Starting from the base of the leaf, roll up and tuck in. Bake in the following manner:

• 1 tablespoon melted bacon fat

• 1 bay leaf
• Meat stock or water
• 3 or 4 tablespoons of tomato purée
• Sour cream

Put bacon fat in a large baking pan and add crumbled bay leaf. (Bits of smoked meat make a nice addition if available). Add meat stock or water to which the tomato puree has been added. Place cabbage rolls on this bed in a 350-degree oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. Before serving remove rolls to a hot platter and spoon on pan juice that has been generously mixed with sour cream.

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