Born in Budapest but living in the United States for more than fifty years, András Koerner organizes exhibitions and writes books about Jewish life in Hungary before the Holocaust.
This expansive (400+ pages) cultural history, very amply illustrated with period photographs, advertising, and other images, is a fascinating and compelling examination of everything from the methods of observing kosher laws and the contrast between rural and urban households to the evolution of a distinctly Hungarinan-Jewish cuisine and of restaurants catering to that population.
Koerner draws on a diverse array of sources, from ethnographic works of the era, period manuscripts, and newspapers to memoirs, facsimile cookbooks, and oral histories. He tells us how holidays were observed, how weddings and betrothals were celebrated, how household gardens were kept, and how geese were raised.
The recipes are drawn from published works as well as informal accounts. A bean broth soup with tiny dumplings called csiperkeleves is related as a story. There's an apple "strudel" for Passover taken from a 1938 weekly newspaper. And hamantaschen from the 1935 Jewish Housewife's Book.
Fascinatingly documented and quite thorough. With a preface by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.
Paperback with flaps. Black-and-white photographs throughout.