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.