January 26, 2021 - Having realized that, with the exception of cholent and flódni (a Jewish multilayered poppy-seed pastry), she knew nothing about Transylvanian Jewish cuisine, Kinga Júlia Király set out on a three-year project to fulfill her own cravings for authentic flavors—but, more profoundly, to learn about prewar recipes and customs and to find out what remained of kosher households in Northern Transylvania. She conducted some three hundred hours of participant-observer interviews, sometimes spiced with cooking sessions, with ten survivors who had experienced the Holocaust as teenagers or children. At the heart of Kinga Júlia Király’s work are the simplest things, the minutiae of everyday life. Tiny details, which, in the recording, are transformed into something of huge significance. She created handholds of remembrance for the last surviving members of a minority.
Keywords: Holocaust; Jewish cuisine; oral history; Central and Eastern Europe, history; WWII
About the author:
Kinga Júlia Király is a writer, literary translator, and playwright. She graduated in dramaturgy from the University of Arts in her hometown (Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș). She is a translator and interpreter of Italian literature. She has published several volumes of dramas, novels, and short stories. The Hungarian edition of Recipes for a New Beginning [Az újrakezdés receptjei] was published by Mentor Könyvek in 2018.
How do the senses remember? What begins as a conversation about food, followed by cooking what is recalled, sometimes only vaguely, and then eating together, leads to the revelation of traumatic memories. Shining a light on ten elderly Holocaust survivors who were children or teenagers during the war and stayed in Transylvania after the war, this beautiful book brings together their stories, photographs, and food to reveal the power of the senses to bring forth an uneasy mix of culinary nostalgia and traumatic memory. The body is indeed an archive, and this book plumbs its depths in a deeply personal way.—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator, Core Exhibition, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
332 pages with more than 300 illustrations and 30 recipes
$60 / €50
Contact for review, interview with the author etc.:
Krisztina Kos, Publisher
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