Thursday, 12 September 2013

book love: Austrian Cooking for You

There hasn't been a 'book love' post for a long time. To remedy that I have dug up a favourite book find from my collections.

It's not a recent find: I got it in a London second-hand bookshop some years ago. Upon discovering the big red fairground gingerbread heart on the cover it was destined to come home with me.... 

Let me explain briefly about the gingerbread heart. If you are from Eastern Europe or Austria, you probably already know what it is. This kind of gingerbread is not usually made edible, it is rather a souvenir or love token that can be bought at summer fairs. It usually has a mirror piece in the middle, which fascinated me as a child. For me, seeing a gingerbread heart brings back memories of the excitement of the village fair, with carousels, dodgems, hooking ducks from a swirly pond for prizes, and candyfloss eaten before the wind gets it...

But away from the nostalgia, and back to the book.

It's written by a Viennese lady - she dedicates it "To my unchosen daughter-in-law...", to his son's future wife, and I figure, to all the daughter-in-laws and future wives in the world so they won't forget about traditional cuisine. She also illustrated the recipes with her own lino cuttings. I just love the work that's gone into her endeavours to give a personal touch with hand-cut illustrations, infused with folk motifs from the area. If I ever wrote a book, that's how I would like to present it too. 

Hungarian and Austrian cuisine has a lot in common, so most of the book reads like my grandma's cookbook. However, I won't cook many recipes from it without having to change ingredients like dairy or lard. Some I won't cook because it's a bit too offal-y and that we don't eat a lot. To have the original recipes though, is very close to my heart.

Would you like to see my favourite illustration from the book?  I actually decided to try the recipe it illustrates and I baked it the other weekend before the flu set in. I will share the recipe with you on Sunday and then you'll be able to see what it looks like in real life. Until then, here is how it looks in the book:

Intrigued? I'll see you on Sunday with the recipe then - and of course tomorrow, with some flea-licious finds...!


  1. I love the little b&w graphics! I can safely say, about myself, I´m not a great cook so i can´t promise to try your recipe ;-) Cx

  2. Oooh, I love gingerbread... and I love smelling the gingerbread hearts that you get at the fair, even though they taste a bit like cardboard ;-)

    Old-fashioned recipe books often are the best!



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