Andras Koerner 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 book-with a preface by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett-presents eating habits not as isolated things, 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, or, for that matter, about 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 traditions 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, and 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.
Andras 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 Since where he continued the same career. Since his retirement, he dedicates his time mostly to writing and organizing exhibitions.
Contents Introduction 1. The Kashrut The Ritual Slaughter of Animals The Kashering of Meat at Home Separating Dairy and Meat Dishes Pareve (Neither Meat, nor Dairy) Dishes and Ingredients Kosher Wine Kosher Milk and Dairy Products Giving Up the Kashrut Rules Christian Views of the Kashrut 2. The Ashkenazi Jewish Kitchen Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewry A Short History of the Ashkenazi Kitchen 3. The Hungarian Jewish Kitchen 17th-Century Sephardi Influence 19th-Century Gastronomic Writers Handwritten Recipe Collections 19th-Century Cookbooks 19th-Century Pioneers of Jewish Ethnography Turn-of-the-Century Recipe Competition Food and Increasing Secularization Cookbooks in the First Half of the 20th Century Post-1945 Cookbooks about Prewar Cooking Some Characteristics of the Hungarian Jewish Kitchen Food and Hungarian Jewish Identity Hungarian Influence in the Jewish Kitchen of Other Countries 4. Regional and Cultural Differences The Northeastern Regions and the Galician/Polish/Ukrainian Influence Western Hungary and the Austrian/German Influence The Northwestern Regions and the Bohemian/Moravian/Slovakian Influence The Southern Regions and the Serbian/Croatian Influence Transylvania and the Romanian Influence 5. Weekdays and Holidays Dishes of the Weekdays Shabbat Dishes Dishes for the Holiday of the New Moon Dishes of Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur - Dishes Before and After the Fast Dishes of Sukkot Dishes of Simchat Torah Dishes of Hanukkah Purim Dishes Dishes for Pesach Shavuot Dishes Dishes for the Dairy Days and for the End of the Tisha B'av Fasting Dishes for the Birth of a Boy Cakes for the First Day of Cheder Cakes to Celebrate a Boy's Exam in a Cheder Dishes for Bar Mitzvah Dishes for Engagement and Wedding Dishes for Mourning Ceremonies 6. Households Rural and Small-Town Households Keeping Geese Urban Households Canning Maids The Role of Cooking in the Lives of Jewish Women Kitchen Furniture and Equipment Dishes, Tableware, and Tablecloths Ritual Plates, Cups, and Table-Linen 7. Domestic Hospitality and Banquets Dinner- and Supper-Guests, Home-Parties, Salons Banquets, Celebratory Meals Rules of Good Manners at Meals 8. Jewish Places of Hospitality Kosher Restaurants and Boarding Houses Coffeehouses, Coffee Shops, and Pastry Shops Jewish Soup-Kitchens 9. Food Industry and Trade Kosher Food Factories Kosher-Wine Producers and Merchants Food Shops and Street Vendors Food Markets 10. Characteristic Dishes Challah Gefilte Fish Boiled Beef Chopped Eggs Cholent Bread Kugel Ganef Stuffed Goose Neck Tzimmes Goose Giblets with Rice Pilaf Walnut Fish Flodni Kindli Hamantasche Matzo Balls Chremsel Epilogue Appendix 1. Jewish Cookbooks Published in Hungary Before 1945 - A Bibliography 2. Authors of the Handwritten Recipe Collections Used in My Work 3. List of Quoted Recipes Acknowledgements Selected Bibliography Sources of Pictures Index of Names