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A Taste of the Past: The Daily Life and Cooking of a Nineteenth-Century Hungarian-Jewish Homemaker [Paperback]

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Item Number 448146  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   422
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 31, 2006
Publisher   UPNE
ISBN  158465595X  
EAN  9781584655954  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
A Taste of the Past is an entertaining reconstruction of the daily life and household of Therese (Riza) Baruch (1851-1938), the great-grandmother of the author, Andras Koerner. Based on an unusually complete cache of letters, recipes, personal artifacts, and eyewitness testimony, Koerner describes in loving detail the domestic life of a nineteenth-century Hungarian Jewish woman, with special emphasis on the meals she served her family.

Based on Riza's letters, part one offers an imaginative sketch of growing up in a religious middle-class family in the 1860s and 70s in an industrial town in western Hungary. Part one also describes Riza's reactions to the dilemmas posed by the early signs of Jewish assimilation. In part two, the heart of the book, Riza has married, moved to a smaller town near the Austrian border, and become the central figure of a large household. Koerner recreates a typical day in the life of Riza and her family, peppering his narrative with recipes of the food she served for breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon coffee-and-cake, and the much more modest evening meal.

Riza's family was religious, and Koerner also describes the special foods (pike in sour aspic, cholent, apple-matzo kugel, and much more) she served to celebrate the Sabbath and the six major Jewish holidays. Short introductions to the recipes describe the evolution of the dishes through the centuries, their role in Jewish culture, and how cultural influences and religious traditions shaped Riza's cooking.

More than 125 evocative pen-and-ink illustrations bring Riza's story and her food to life. A Taste of the Past offers an enchanting look at Jewish daily life in western Hungary in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a time when middle-class Jews were increasingly assimilated into mainstream Hungarian life and culture. Such small-town Jewish life had completely disappeared due to the Holocaust. Koerner's book revives this lost world and invites the reader to be a guest in Riza's house to watch her caring for her family, shopping, cooking, and preparing for the holidays. By offering easy-to-follow updated versions of her recipes, the book also allows readers to savor Riza's dishes and desserts in their own kitchens, thus completing this experience of a visit to the past.



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More About Andras Koerner

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! ANDRAS KOERNER was born in Budapest, Hungary where he initially studied art. He then received his degree in architecture, worked as an architect, and won numerous awards in Hungarian architectural competition. In 1968 Andras moved to the United States, where he has continued to work as an architect. Several national magazines featured his design for the remodeling of a Victorian townhouse in New York City. Andras is a passionate amateur cook and likes nothing more than preparing his great-grandmother's recipes for his daughters and their families.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A great book for foodies and history buffs alike  Mar 10, 2004
This lovely book brings a slice of Hungarian Jewish culture to life in a uniquely three-dimensional way - the sights, the tastes, the details of everyday life. I found the recipes easy to follow and the pictures charming. The author's great-grandmother whom he profiles here is a refreshingly complex character - her views about such things as religion and national identity change over time, along with historical changes, and some of these shifts are even reflected in her food! For example, this is one Hungarian cookbook that is light on the paprika - apparently ginger was the spice of choice in the 19th century. Who knew?
 
A great book for foodies and history buffs alike  Mar 10, 2004
This lovely book brings a slice of Hungarian Jewish culture to life in a uniquely three-dimensional way - the sights, the tastes, the details of everyday life. I found the recipes easy to follow and the pictures charming. The author's great-grandmother whom he profiles here is a refreshingly complex character - her views about such things as religion and national identity change over time, along with historical changes, and some of these shifts are even reflected in her food! For example, this is one Hungarian cookbook that is light on the paprika - apparently ginger was the spice of choice in the 19th century. Who knew?
 
Engages all your senses  Jan 23, 2004
The book really brings to life a community that was wiped out by the Holocaust. The description of life in the small city in Hungary is vivid and the amazing illustrations are a great complement. The easy-to-follow recipes round out the experience.
 

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