on 21 September 2009
You probably wouldn't think Hungarian cuisine particularly highly unless you knew a bit about it, but I found this an excellent introduction to a country with a fascinating cooking heritage.
I guess most people associate Hungarian food with goulash. This is the first recipe included, and other soups, stews and variants are fairly well represented. Also included are recipes for traditional puddings like strudel and dobos cake, roasts, Hungarian breads, dumplings, and pastries.
Interspersed with the recipes are articles on Hungarian delicacies - wines, including Bulls Blood and Tokaj, cheeses, and spirits like palinka and Unicum. The book also gives detail about Hungarian festivals and celebration food.
Chapters are split into regions (for example, Budapest, Lake Balaton and Transylvania all feature), although the different styles of cooking don't seem to vary that much from region to region.
The recipes are mostly well photographed and relatively easy to follow. I found it relatively easy to produce fairly authentic looking goulash and porkolt. I even managed to make homemade pasta dumplings following the instructions, which I'd usually avoid as being more hassle than it's worth.
The book also has loads of photos of life across Hungary, both in the touristy restaurants of Budapest and rural, less visited areas.
Unfortunately, this book isn't going to win any plaudits from the World Health Organisation - cream and lard feature prominently! - however, it's reasonably easy to alter at least some of the recipes to make them less calorific if you need to. Sadly, I don't think there's any way to eat the delicious lenges (discs of pasty, deep fried and then topped with garlic butter) as part of a healthy diet, unless it's only very occasionally!
Another problem is that it's really, really difficult to get most of the specialist food and ingredients mentioned here in the UK. It's not the book's fault, although it is frustrating!
Overall, this is an excellent book and, having read it, you'll be itching to not only try out the recipes but to visit Hungary.
on 20 October 2009
when we were in Budapest in the summer we saw a copy of Culinaria in one of the many fantastic book shops, but couldn't buy it because of our luggage allowance! We bought it when we got home and regulalarly dip into it to remind us of our amazing holiday. There are separate chapters on each of the very different regions with very detailed photographs. There are seasonal Easter and Christmas menus, a whole section on cake shops and one on coffee houses!
We love this book, it helped us to understand the history and significance of the food that we had been eating.
on 25 August 2010
I've ordered this book as a gift for an English friend who loves my Hungarian cooking.
This book includes my most favourite recipes from my childhood and more.
It also gives very detailed information about the history, geography, traditions and wines of the country which are important to fully understand and embrace this cuisine.
I love this book so much I'm actually going to order one for myself (even though I know and use most of the recipes already. :-)
on 17 February 2011
I am Hungarian and have bought many copies of this book for friends, who are interested in Hungarian customs and cuisine. I am very happy with the contents and the quality of the book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in Hungary. Better than any other books I have seen on the topic.
on 18 June 2015
A beautiful coffee table book but difficult as a working cookbook. Lots of background ,cultural and foodie information. But do I really want to know about different cuts of pork? I wanted to remind myself of basic recipes that I used to use when I lived with a hungarian family years ago. It's a quite large paperback that I found difficult to hold when reading it, goodness knows how you'd place it when cooking. I think I'd photocopy individual recipes. To sum up,a lovely book with fabulous photos,some good recipes scattered here and there, but not really viable as a cookbook ,cooking in the kitchen.
on 15 April 2013
I have a quite few books on Hungarian foods, drinks, cooking etc. but this is by far the best. It's more an encyclopedia of Hungarian food culture and traditions than just a cookbook. It's pack with info and stories on the background to such thing as Christmas and Easter traditions, historic coffee houses, Dobos torta, history of palinka, Hungarian Foie Gras. It's a book I just keep picking up to read and I find something new and fascinating everytime. If you, like me, have an interest in Hungarian culture....this is THE book to have. It's crammed with great illustrations and glorious colour photographs as well as recipes ranging from quite simple to very challenging.
I keep buying the as presents for family and friends.
on 16 August 2014
I am a Hungarian living in UK and have given this book as present 3 times. It is not simply a recipe book, but tells about the regions and customs in Hungary too. The photos are quite old judging by the fashion of clothing but it doesn't change the value of the book. I think this is the best one about Hungarian cuisine out there! Would recommend it any time and i will be buying them again and again!