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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 1997
I'm a second generation Hungarian who grew up on down-home Hungarian cooking. This cookbook has all of my favorites from simple dishes you can whip up in minutes to the best of Hungarian cuisine. If you are of Hungarian descent you must have this book. If you have never had Hungarian food, buy this book, pick a recipe at random and enjoy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"The Hungarian Cookbook" by Susan Derecskey is a real cookbook. If I wanted to learn how to cook Hungarian dishes (and I do), I would use this book. Everything about it is practical. This is no coffee table decoration filled with pictures of quaint cafes on the Duna, but something as useful as the Betty Crocker, and Better Homes and Garden cookbooks.
Derecskey starts the reader off with a quick explanation of the techniques and ingredients peculiar to a Hungarian meal. Equipment, she says, like pots and pans, are standard. None of the ingredients are unusual or hard to find. The Hungarians especially love to use bacon, bread crumbs, butter, caraway seeds, cooking fat, onions, sausage, sour cream and tomatoes. You already know about paprika.
There is a short introductory, but helpful chapter on wines, naming and describing ten major Hungarian wine types.
Each chapter presents the expected categories, like fish, poultry and pork. She gives us the Hungarian translation for each food type, and for each recipe as well.
The recipes themselves are nicely described. Since the book is void of pictures of prepared dishes (the only crucial drawback), she relies on a strong prose style. That is often missing from other international cookbooks filled with poetic takes on the romance of the local culture. Never self-indulgent, Derecskey is personal, comfortably providing her preferences for spicing quantity and serving styles.
This isn't a gourmet book. The recipes here produce the foods being made in modern Hungarian homes. The author refers frequently to relatives who gave her insight for some of the more difficult dishes. Clearly written for nonHungarian tastes and cooking styles, it may disappoint some cooks. Those looking for a more authentic but slightly gourmet taste should look for Chef Gundel's cookbook, based on his famous restaurant menu.
She gives us enough cultural discussion to keep the book from being bland, while never losing focus for why we purchased the book -- to learn how to make specific Hungarian dishes.
Finally, right after the chapter, "Desserts and Cakes" (Édességek és Torták), there is a handy state-by-state shopping guide with 56 butchers, delicatessens and import stores.
I fully recommend "The Hungarian Cookbook."
Anthony Trendl
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 1999
I have hungarian heritage, and needed a cookbok to serve finer dishes for our guests. I live in the USA and appreciated that all the measurements and temperature was translated to the american system. By now I have tried 10 different dishes and I am disapointed. Everything tastes the same. As my husband puts it: Your normal hungarian dishes has a firecracker of tastes in comparison to these recepies. So if you need inroduction, try it. If you would like to get the best of hungarian cooking this is just not good enough.
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on 1 October 1998
Susan's book is the Hungarian "Joy of Cooking." I've grown up on Hungarian food and cooking is one of my pasttimes. Anytime I need to find some everyday or remote recipe, I know it will be in this book, along with regional variations. This is the only comprehensive Hungarian cookbook that will give me US measurements, the correct recipe, the number of servings the recipe yields, and suggestins for accompanying foods. The only other thing that could be added would be pictures for the people that are not familiar with Hungarian food.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2013
Seems good but annoying that no-one bothered to localise it at all for the UK marketplace. Converting from American units is really a pain.
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on 26 February 2015
The best recipe for Chicken Paprikash and all sorts of insights into the cuisine of Hungary/Austria. You have to get some authentic Hungarian Paprika and maybe sauerkraut and then you're away.
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on 16 October 2015
Bought as a gift but looks like a lovely cook book
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