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Hungarian Cookbook

Can anyone recommend a good Hungarian cookbook? My mother in law is Hungarian but she only knows how to make a few different family recipes and we are looking for a good book to get her for Christmas.

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  1. I highly reccomend checking alibris.com and do a seach for Hungarian cookery. When I was doing my searches for Swedish cookbooks, I got about 15 from them. The shipping is pretty speedy for standard (about 1 week) and I had alot of fun getting a varied selection, from antique books to more modern.

    I was just in Borders Bookstore this weekend, and noticed one new Hungarian cookbook on the shelves. My MIL is also Hungarian, but isn't into cooking much, so it would go wasted on her, right now. I should get a few for my own librabry, tho.

    Have fun searching, let us know what you find, and how you like them!

    1. Cuisine of Hungary by George Lang.

      I'm not sure you'll still be able to find this new but certainly a good used copy is out there. I too recommend alibris.com

      1. I recieved a gift from a Hungarian student several years ago, Karoly Gundel's Gundel's Hungarian Cookbook. It's a small book but is packed with what seem to me to be authentic recipes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ali123

          I've got both Lang and Gundel, both quite good, though I read them more than cook from them (NOT diet food, my dear!). Lang was, as mentioned elsewhere, a chef and apparently a good one; Gundel was the last in a line of Gundels running the family's restaurant in Budapest, even under the postwar regime. If they were French you'd get mostly fancy restaurant recipes, but the foods of Eastern Europe don't have the same divide between fancy cooking and home cooking, except that fancy has fancier ingredients for some things. But everyone loves cabbage, fermented or otherwise, and pork, and mushrooms and fish and poultry. Mom's Gulasz and Gundel's Gulasz were different mostly in the quality, or maybe just the source, of what went into them.

        2. I have the Lang book and have hardly ever used it. I guess it just didn't speak to my family's traditions--which doesn't mean it won't for your MIL. One really good thing about the book is that it has a lot of history of Hungarian food and detailed explanations of the differences among various regions.

          Another book you might take a look at is June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes,


          a privately published collection of recipes. I've not seen this book, but I've read about it and the recipes sound wonderful. But it doesn't have the introductory material the Lang book does, an important consideration if you think your MIL would enjoy that as much as the recipes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            The George Lang book is great...I have used it for years. I ran it by three Hungarian friends plus two experts on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and they all asserted that it was as authentic as you can get. The sour cherry soup is the classic version

            1. re: JoanN

              Joan, I am also looking for a good Hungarian cookbook and clicked on the link that you provided - did you see the prices?!!

              1 new from $10,000.00 5 used from $564.11

              There was a book with many positive reviews - http://www.amazon.com/Hungarian-Cookb...

              1. re: herby

                Wow! Those sure weren't the prices when I posted the link in '07!

            2. Well, times change, but there are e-books (which are less) cookbooks, free recipes, free video recipes.

              1. The best _by far_ is CUISINE OF HUNGARY by George Lang.
                In addition to some great recipes and notes on technique, it also contains some great background and history about Magyar cuisine. Lang, who earlier this year passed away at age86, was a noted chef and while some of his recipes reflect foods that would have been found in famous restaurants in Hungary, he also includes many more humble specialties enjoyed in his youth.

                Another good book, this one strictly from a "family heirloom recipe" approach, is HUNGARIAN COOKBOOK by Yolanda Nagy Fintor. I saw a lot of my grandmother's old recipes and techniques outlined in that book.

                I was working on a book with my father when he passed away, and have notes on recipes from both his and my late mother's parents, as well as some from my mom's grandparents.
                I aim to finish the book one day.
                I'll let y'all know when that happens!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: The Professor

                  Two more you might want to consider (both are on Amazon) are The Hungarian Cookbook by Susan Derecsky and The Paprkas Weiss Hungarian Cookbook. The last one is by the owners
                  of the late lamented Hungarian food store on the upper East Side of NY (Yorkville) back when you could find good Hungarian food in New York.