Recipe – Polish

Bugger Soup


2 Eggs

Approx ¾ cup Flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Can Chicken Broth

Boil chicken broth.

Meanwhile, beat eggs and add salt and pepper.  Then add flour until it is a sticky dough.

Be careful not to overbeat.

Use spoons to drop spoon sized dumplings into the boiling broth

Cook until the dumplings float and serve.

Optional: For more hearty soup you can add chicken, celery, carrots, or any other vegetables.  Also for a spin on the recipe you can replace the broth with tomato soup.

George Hidzick, My grandfather, learned this recipe from his mother, as she used to cook this dumpling soup for him all the time.  His mother was of Polish decent, and my grandfather assumed that she learned this easy recipe from her own mother.  She would typically make the dumplings in chicken broth, by my grandfather later in life preferred the dumplings to be made in tomato soup.  His mother just called the soup dumpling soup, and it wasn’t until around the late 1960’s when his daughter (my mother) was eating the soup with some friends that the soup got it’s new name.  The story goes that my mother’s friend Marlene Rosen was over for dinner and was having a hard time getting the dumplings on her spoon so she said “Come on little buggers!”  This was a comical event and from that point on the soup was referred to as bugger soup.  The name bugger soup is often misconstrued to be “booger” soup, as the dumplings do resemble the snot like counterparts.

This is the case of a classic recipe that is so simple that it was probably informally passed down from generation to generation orally.  It was only in the past generation that it was given a new name, and even at this point many of my friends know it by the new name “bugger soup.”

The name “bugger” is actually a typically British expletive used to imply dissatisfaction. According to Alan Dundes, “Bugger in its original and literal sense refers to an act of sodomy; that is, an act of anal penetration.” The word actually has “Blason Populaire” origins.  “Most authorities accept the theory that the word derives from the French “Bougre,” meaning “a Bulgarian,” with the idea that Bulgarians were thought to indulge in anal intercourse… it is common xenophobic practice to attribute sexual perversity or illness to another nation or people.” (Dundes).  Folk groups tend to negatively stereotype other groups in order to make their own seem superior.

Despite the original connotation of the word “bugger,” it has evolved to have many meanings such as,

“Go to buggery” (Go away), “Oh bugger” (damn), “Oh bugger me” (frustration), “I’m buggered if I know” (I haven’t a clue), “Well, bugger me (I’m surprised or Well, I never did hear the like), “Bugger me sideways” (even more surprised), “Bugger me with a wire brush” (extremely surprised), “It’s buggered” (it’s messed up), “Bugger it” (damn or fuck it), “It’s a bugger” (that’s a really taxing situation or a tiresome problem to be dealt with), “A bugger’s muddle” (an absolute mess), “What a bugger!” (Something’s gone wrong or not turned out as expected), “I don’t give a bugger” (I care not a jot or I don’t give a damn)” etc.

However, despite its common use in England, it is not a commonly used expression in the United States and has therefore been entirely removed from its original meaning.  Therefore, it is likely that my mother’s friend was not aware of the words original meaning, and was using it in the context of something that is tricky.  Regardless, it is interesting how such a simple family recipe for dumpling soup ended up with such a controversial name!

Works Cited

Dundes, Alan. “Much ado about ‘sweet bugger all’: getting to the bottom of a puzzle in British Folk

Speech.” Folklore 113.1 (April 2002): 35(15).  Expanded Academic ASAP.  20 Apr. 2008