Food, Family and Tradition. Hungarian Kosher Recipes. My Book Review
Hungarian Kosher Recipes. Well done by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro
Gee thanks Sammy’s Romanian, dubbed Heartburn City, for serving Treif Shmaltz all these years, right in the Lower East Side, the original American scene of the religious Jewish settlers, to emancipated immigrants who want authentic Eastern European food (Romanian, Hungarian, Polish: all quite closely related) with no kosher strings attached. I can only contemplate it from the street: Old World decor, the greasier the better, with cheesy (that’s OK: It’s Treif!) Bar Mitzvah music blaring, all at New World prices. Yup: The throwback will cost you! A pilgrimage of sorts….. PS please use spellcheck on your menu: You need it in several places. Just sayin’!
Any of you deploring the fact there is no Kosher Hungarian restaurant at which to enjoy the luscious foods you grew up with? Are you still waxing lyrical about your Bubbie’s Hungarian dishes? Or were you, like me, exposed to Hungarian and other Eastern European delicacies at family and friends’ homes? I have delicious news for you: Lynn Kirsche Shapiro has just published Food, Family and Tradition.
An honest and unpretentious little treasure trove of authentic Hungarian Kosher Recipes
It goes on to deliver everything it promises: Unapologetic Hungarian Kosher Recipes and Remembrances. You will love the way Lynn weaves nostalgia throughout the book, summoning up a happy family past, with its customs, lore and quirks, portraits of family members, endearing anecdotes of family, neighbors and friends, even while she has the good grace to delete almost all allusions to so many people’s blighted fate: In her writing, as in her cooking, she seems to understand implicitly that some deletions are more powerful that inclusions. Food, Family and Tradition: Even Tevya the Milkman couldn’t wish for anything more!
Lynn’s recipes are ridiculously and delightfully artless and simple
They have a short-short ingredient lists any first grader could identify. I wouldn’t want you to miss the secret of her good Kosher Hungarian Recipes: short, sweet, and pure. Predictable end result: Wonderful. Pretty pictures too, adorning the book just where it counts.
I only found one incongruous note: A recipe (make that two) for Chop Suey: Who needs it? Don’t get me wrong, I love Chinese food, but why did it crash this party? Then there’s a cottage cheese chopped salad she calls mysteriously Farmer’s Chop Suey (as distinct from her meat and vegetable Chop Suey….)
Since I am as biased as most people around me about the legendary desserts Hungarians are famous for, I couldn’t help being somewhat dismayed by the scant dessert selection Lynn offers in her book. On the positive side, they all look quite promising: I must make her marble cake! Who knows, Heaven Forbid, it might displaced MY Marble Cake!
Lynn comes by her good cooking quite honestly. Her father before her operated a kosher market in Chicago called, what else, Hungarian Kosher Foods. To her wish that if Gd Grants her long life, she’ll do just as her father did and keep going, I answer Amen!