Authenticity is the pondering of the day, brought to the tastebuds with Sauerkraut Soup. More on that in a sec, but first indulge a little bit of food for the brain.

I have a natural disdain for showmanship, to an excessive degree. Take for instance an artist all snooty in their NYC lifestyle and name dropping constantly – or a business investor with an outsized ego with a flair to speak as if he was the Delphi Oracle – or a cocky biz dev guy who listens for the whispers when he walks into a room and tells you what you want, instead of listening for what you need.

The showmanship nature of each of these personas makes me discount all other aspects of their life. Surely they are overcompensating for an insecurity, surely they are riding off the coattails of others, surely the strength of their sales pitch wins the sale over the reality of their product.

Authentic is the opposite of showmanship, and authentic people make themselves known upon a first meeting as quickly as do the showman, but only if you are listening.

But sadly, reality is ultimately not on my side as to which approach is better, as these showmen are the very ones who typically win the attention, the sale, the awards. We all know this, it’s hardly worth the time to mention it.

But, the crux is – which of the two extremes do you shoot for, if capable of doing either? Fame and flair at the expense of corruption, ever-growing insecurity, and internal talent drain? Or stand authentic and independent, and die in a world of quietude and lack of instigation and stimulation from those who do strive to reach beyond? Unlike the question of musicians “selling out” (which is easy to answer: sell out goddamnit), this question feels almost equally weighted to me on a cost-benefit analysis.

Before Mingling

So back to the meal – tonight’s was a doozy – and authentic in all ways. It is my wife’s day to pick, and she chose Zelnačka – or Sauerkraut Soup. Hungarians call it Korhelyleves – or night owl soup, as it is served around dawn after an all-night party to prevent a hangover. Yeah, that’s authentic all right.

Steam Rising

Serve it up with authentic rye bread, potatoes with caraway, salad, ham hocks, and the secret Ingredient – woohoo, what a crowd pleaser.

Secret Ingredient: Bende Sausages (see image above) are so amazing that my father in law proclaims them more Hungarian than Hungarian sausages. When you read their history – or simply taste test their product – you understand how that can be true. Truly authentic, in keeping with the theme for the day.

Music Accompaniment: Smetana, why of course.