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Thu, 26 Oct 2017 05:08:32 EDT by webmaster, 3743 views
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Cultural Studies paper by Rosen, Ilana (all papers)
Hungarian Cookbooks for Hebrew Readers – a Comparative Cultural Analysis
How long and how strong is Diasporic memory? How many generations can it, or should it, encompass? And how deeply can generations that never even lived in the old country relate to its landscape, language, colors and tastes? In rigorous state-formation settings, wherein the new society (re-)constructs itself by resurrecting its ancient or traditional infrastructures and creating new indigenous ones, while at the same time devaluating the shorter-term memories of its many newly-arrived immigrant groups, the answers to these questions inevitably tend toward negative or dismissive. This mechanism works even more strongly among relatively small origin groups, like Hungarian Israelis, and as we move further and further away from the moment of their arrival to the new country. On the face of this far from promising inventory of Hungarianism among present-day young Israelis of Hungarian origin, it was surprising and heartening for me to discover an entire Hebrew-language Hungarian cookbook (more precisely a card-box formed book), one of the only two of its kind in our culture, entitled Goulash lagolesh – matamei hamitbakh hahungari ['Goulash for the Browser - Delicacies of the Hungarian Kitchen'] (Tel Aviv: LunchBox, 2009), created by Ofer Vardi (b. 1973), a food journalist and owner of a recipe and life-style press. The other existing Hebrew Hungarian cookbook is the work of the late journalist, writer and politician Yosef/Joseph Tommy Lapid, né Tomislav Lampel, who was born in 1931 in Novi Sad or Újvidék and died in Tel Aviv in 2008. Lapid's Hungarian cookbook (co-authored and edited by Ruth Sirkis) is titled Paprika – kakha mevashlim hahungarim ['Paprika – This Is How the Hungarians Cook'] (Tel Aviv: R. Sirkis Publishers, 1987). Based on the general portraits of the two Hebrew Hungarian cookbooks and those of their authors, as well as on the understanding that cookbooks are never just lists of recipes but also cultural products and culture preservers, my presentation asks and offers answers to these questions: What kind of Hungary is imagined (in Benedict Anderson's sense of "imagined communities" as formulated in his 1983 book by this title) by the authors of the two cookbooks and their expected or implicit readers? Which periods and events in Hungarian history are stressed and which times and issues are suppressed or barely glimpsed or misrepresented in each of the two books and why? What parts of the two books are specifically Jewish, or even Israeli? And last, in what ways are these two cookbooks also, or to no less extent, powerful, multi-sensory personal, familial and communal memory works whose proof lies not only in their puddings but also, if not more so, in their hindsight prudence?
Brief Professional Bio:
Prof. Ilana Rosen of the Dept. of Hebrew Literature at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev is a researcher of documentary literature of Jews and Israelis in the twentieth century. She has written five books and over forty articles on these topics.
Her last study, Pioneers in Practice – an Analysis of Documentary Literature by Veteran Residents of the Israeli South, was published in 2016 by the Ben Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. As of 2013 she is the Book Review Editor of Hungarian Cultural Studies, published by the University of Pittsburgh. email@example.com