Paperback / softback
December 1, 2019
9.25 Inches (US)
7.68 Inches (US)
2.55 Pounds (US)
$60.00 USD, £47.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Jewish Cuisine in Hungary

A Cultural History with 83 Authentic Recipes

Winner of the 2019 National Jewish Book Award in the category of Food Writing & Cookbooks.

The author refuses to accept that the world of pre-Shoah Hungarian Jewry and its cuisine should disappear almost without a trace and feels compelled to reconstruct its culinary culture. His bookwith a preface by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblettpresents eating habits not as isolated acts, divorced from their social and religious contexts, but as an organic part of a way of life.

According to Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: "While cookbooks abound, there is no other study that can compare with this book. It is simply the most comprehensive account of a Jewish food culture to date." Indeed, no comparable study exists about the Jewish cuisine of any country, orfor that matterabout Hungarian cuisine. It describes the extraordinary diversity that characterized the world of Hungarian Jews, in which what could or could not be eaten was determined not only by absolute rules, but also by dietary traditions of particular religious movements or particular communities.

Ten chapters cover the culinary culture and eating habits of Hungarian Jewry up to the 1940s, ranging from kashrut (the system of keeping the kitchen kosher) through the history of cookbooks, the food traditions of weekdays and holidays, the diversity of households, and descriptions of food and hospitality industries to the history of some typical dishes. Although this book is primarily a cultural history and not a cookbook, it includes 83 recipes, as well as nearly 200 fascinating pictures of daily life and documents.

About the Author

András Koerner was born in 1940 in Budapest. After receiving his degree in architecture he worked for several years as an architect. In 1967, he moved to the United States, where he continued the same career. Since his retirement, he dedicates his time mostly to writing and organizing exhibitions. He is author of the award-winning Jewish Cuisine in Hungary (CEU Press 2019).


"Throughout his book Koerner will demonstrate that in the case of Hungarian Jews, as probably in that of other Jewish groups, cultural identities and processes are actually more strongly, vividly and immediately felt in a family's kitchen than in its Synagogue. András Koener's Jewish Cuisine in Hungary is richly illustrated with many photos and other reproductions of material-culture artifacts and symbols that together turn this book into a lively tour-guide of sorts to the culinary ethos of predominantly nineteenth-century Hungarian and Central-European secularizing/ed Jews."—Hungarian Cultural Studies

"Readers looking for a typical cookbook may be alarmed when they dig into this gorgeous volume. While the subtitle advertises eighty-three authentic recipes, neither many of the ingredients (goose, carp, giblets, boiled beef) nor the techniques (stuffing goose necks, making pudding from smoked beef) seem particularly accessible. Yet this book is quite irresistible. Beyond the honesty and charm, it's Koerner's commitment to defying Nazi destruction, to saving Hungarian Jewish culture, that makes this book so compelling. Jewish Cuisine in Hungary is righteous scholarship."—Jewish Book Council

"This is a rigorously researched, engagingly written recreation of daily life filled with rarely seen photographs and pen and ink illustrations by Koerner himself. I adored this book.... Koerner focuses on the objects, food, and people that were an integral part of his great-grandmother's everyday existence. These alluring pages rescue a way of life from oblivion via an indelible portrait of an observant Jewish woman who serves as a representative of her entire community. Much is illuminated through her recipes and her great-grandson's loving illustrations."—The Arts Fuse


"András Koerner's Jewish Cuisine in Hungary paints a vivid portrait of prewar Jewish Hungary through its food, its bakers, its home-makers, and more. The focus on Jewish households and local businesses shifts the scholarly gaze from typical historical subjects to the realm of working people and women—fertile ground for meaningful inquiry. The book quotes extensively from memoirs, cookbooks, and periodicals of the time with each rich passage reveling in the minutiae of daily life. Koerner masterfully weaves together photos, objects, and eighty-three recipes plucked from rare historical cookbooks to transport the reader to Budapest in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to Hungarian Jewish holiday tables and rural goose farms.

Ultimately, Koerner sheds new light on prewar Hungarian Jewish life by exploring the role food plays in its culture in such innovative ways, and so too does he help us understand the Hungarian Jewish place in broader Jewish food culture. Jewish Cuisine in Hungary will no doubt serve as an essential historical reference for years to come, while also modeling what's possible in the field of food scholarship."—National Jewish Book Award

9789633862735 : jewish-cuisine-in-hungary-koerner
Paperback / softback
420 Pages
$60.00 USD

Other Titles by András Koerner

Early Jewish Cookbooks

András Koerner
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How They Lived 2

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How They Lived

András Koerner
Oct 2015 - Central European University Press
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