Wednesday, July 13, 2011

George Lang (July 13, 1924)

The New York Times last week published the obituary of George Lang, a cookbook author and an impressario of restaurants, most famously the Cafe des Artistes in New York, and the post-communist reincarnation of the historic restaurant Gundel in Budapest. Lang was born on July 13, 1924, in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, and died July 5 in New York. He originally studied music, and intended to be a musician. His first deviation from his plan was to be in the resistance in World War II after escaping from a Nazi prison camp. As a Jew, he had little choice but resistance, but by joining the fascist Arrow Cross militia was able to assist other Jews in hiding. His parents died in Auschwitz.

Lang escaped to New York and resumed his intended career as a musician, but eventually discovered his talent for designing and running restaurants and also for writing cookbooks. The Cuisine of Hungary is one of my favorite ethnic cookbooks, which the obituary says was the first Hungarian cookbook in English.

According to the Times:
"Mr. Lang often enjoyed constructing fantasy meals, including his last. The ideal final meal, he told The Village Voice in 2007, would include some of the great dishes from his restaurant career but above all his Hungarian favorites: fisherman’s soup, stuffed goose neck, sour cherry soup, layered cabbage, stuffed peppers, plum dumplings, pancakes with apple meringue, and whipped-cream strudel.

"'And then I will have what it takes to get to another world,' he said."

No comments:

Post a Comment