The First Hungarian Jewish Cookbooks

In 1854, the Judeo-German Nayes folshtendiges kokhbukh fir di yidishe kikhe (“A New Complete Cookbook of the Jewish Cuisine”)—was published in Pest, but printed in Vienna. Although this was the first cookbook ever to be published in Hebrew characters, it was not the first Jewish cookbook, a distinction which probably belongs to the 1815 Kochbuch für Israeliten, authored by the non-Jewish private chef of the grand duke of Baden. Such information, and much else, can be found in Andras Koerner’s Early Jewish Cookbooks: Essays on Hungarian Jewish Gastronomical History. Avery Robinson writes in his review:

In 1895, Adolf Ágai wrote an article in the Jewish weekly Egyenlőség (Equality) in which he waxes rhapsodic about Jewish foods. Ágai (1836–1916)—one of the most popular Hungarian Jewish editors, satirists, and journalists of the fin-de-siècle—seems to offer a late-19th-century version of “bagel and lox Judaism.” His paean to the Jewish kitchen longingly describes traditional dishes—a variety of cholents and kugels, ganef (kugel’s primordial cousin, a simple cholent dumpling)—and kosher versions of Hungarian dishes, such as vadas nyúl, hare cooked in a cream sauce that evolved into an “Easter lamb” cooked in an “emulsion of almonds” playing in for the sour cream.

Less than a year later, Egyenlőség’s editor Samu Haber (1865–1922) published his own reflections on Hungarian Jewish foods, extolling “the cult of cholent,” describing the dish’s popularity among non-Jewish Hungarians dining on Budapest’s posh Andrássy Boulevard. Beyond the non-Jewish adoration for Ashkenazi Sabbath stews (sold in restaurants outside of ḥasidic enclaves!), Haber lauds ganef, apple kugel, fish cooked in a walnut sauce, and flódni (a pastry that has become symbolic of 21st-century Hungarian Jewry), among other Jewish Hungarian foods.

Read more at Marginalia

More about: Hungarian Jewry, Jewish food, Jewish history

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy