Andras Koerner

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András Koerner
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Born (1940-12-14) December 14, 1940 (age 80)
Budapest, Hungary
NationalityHungarian
CitizenshipHungary
Alma materBudapest Technical University
Occupation
  • Architect
  • Cultural historian
  • Author
Notable work
A Taste of the Past; The Daily Life and Cooking of a 19th-Century Hungarian Jewish Homemaker

How They Lived; The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews, 1867–1940 (2 volumes)

Jewish Cuisine in Hungary; A Cultural History
Spouse(s)Miriam Friedmann (married: 1967-1991)
Parents
  • József Körner (father)
  • Katalin Halász (mother)
Awards
  • National Jewish Book Award 2019
  • Beautiful Hungarian Book 2017
  • Beautiful Hungarian Book 2013
Websiteceupress.com/contributor/andras-koerner

András Koerner (born December 14, 1940 in Budapest, Hungary) is an architect and an author of several books both in English and Hungarian, mainly about cooking and everyday lives of Hungarian Jews (before the Holocaust).[1] One of those books, the Jewish Cuisine in Hungary (Corvina Books and Central European University Press, 2019), won the National Jewish Book Award (2019) in the category of Food Writing and Cookbooks.

Personal life and education

Koerner was born in Budapest into a secular Jewish family. József Körner, his father, was an architect, his mother Katalin Halász, a homemaker. In late 1944 and early 1945, Koerner, together with his seriously ill father and grandmother, was confined to the Budapest ghetto, while his mother was in a concentration camp in eastern Austria. As a teenager, Koerner studied painting in Budapest’s Highschool for Fine and Applied Arts. He received his degree in architecture at Budapest’s Technical University in 1963. In 1968 he moved to the US, where he continued pursuing his profession in New York. Since his retirement as an architect in 2003, he has been spending much of his time with writing books and curating exhibitions, mostly about everyday Jewish life and cooking in pre-war Hungary.[2]

Early career in architecture (1963–2003)

Architectural career in Hungary (1963–1967)

He worked as a designer in a large architectural office for industrial buildings and acted part time as a design instructor at the Technical University. His built designs in Hungary include shop interiors, industrial buildings, and a large tomb in the Catholic cemetery of Monor, Hungary. During this time, he entered several Hungarian architctural competitions, receiving numerous prizes in them.

Architectural career in the United States (1968-2003)

In the US, Koerner initially worked in the design offices of Victor Lundy and George Nelson, and then later as a corporate architect. His private design work in those years included the reconstruction of a lost 1930s design by Marcel Breuer for the Museum of Modern Art and the plans for the radical remodeling of a New York brownstone, which was featured in several American and Hungarian architectural magazines.

Late career: books and exhibitions (2003– present)

Books about the everyday lives of Hungarian Jews before the Holocaust

In his first book, A Taste of the Past; The Daily Life and Cooking of a 19th-Century Hungarian Jewish Homemaker (University Press of New England, 2004, in Hungarian: Vince Books, 2005), Koerner presents a detailed reconstruction of Therese Baruch’s (1851–1938), his great-grandmother’s household and cooking. He based this reconstruction on her surviving letters, collection of recipes, artifacts, and on the recollections of his mother, who had been raised by Therese Baruch. The book includes 75 recipes of Koerner’s great-grandmother adapted for the modern cook, as well as about 150 illustrations by the author.

The two volumes of How They Lived, The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews, 1867–1940 (In Hungarian: Corvina Books, 2013 and 2015, in English: Central European University Press, 2015 and 2016), present how the many kinds of Jews lived their daily lives in Hungary of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The extensive text describing all major aspects of daily life is complemented by 450 fascinating historical photos in the volumes.

Exhibitions about the everyday lives of Hungarian Jews

In 2005, the Yeshiva Unversity Museum presented an exhibition of the pen-and-ink illustrations Koerner drew for his book A Taste of the Past. In 2009, the 92nd Street Y in New York City presented an exhibition, curated by Koerner, about the daily lives of Hungarian Jews before the Holocaust.

Books about Hungarian Jewish gastronomic history

A Taste of the Past; The Daily Life and Cooking of a 19th-Century Hungarian Jewish Homemaker (University Press of New England, 2004, in Hungarian: Vince Books, 2005). See above for information.

Jewish Cuisine in Hungary. A Cultural History with 83 Authentic Recipes (In Hungarian: Corvina Books, 2017, in English: Central European University Press, 2019). With a preface by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. This is a uniquely comprehensive examination of the various areas of Hungarian Jewish culinary culture before 1945: history of cookbooks and recipe manuscripts, regional and cultural differences, the meals of weekdays and holidays, the different kinds of households, domestic hospitality and banquets, restaurants, coffeehouses, the food industry and trade, and finally the characteristic dishes of this cuisine.[3][4]

The World’s First Cookbook in Hebrew Letters and Other Essays About the History of Jewish Cuisine in Hungary, with 74 Original Recipes (In progress, to be published in 2020) A collection of detailed, scholarly essays about some historical documents of Hungarian Jewish cuisine.

Exhibition about Hungarian Jewish gastronomic history

Koerner and Noémi Saly are joint curators of an exhibition about Hungarian Jewish gastronomic history in the Hungarian Museum of Commerce and Hospitality, scheduled to open in September 2020.

Book about Jewish identity

A Reluctant Jew. Essays and Stories (Egy vonakodó zsidó. Esszék és történetek. Budapest: 2B Kulturális és Művészeti Alapítvány). Selected essays from the book were also published in English: Hungarian Quarterly, Spring 2013, vol. 53, issue 205/206, 2014, vol. 54, issue 209.[5]

Books and exhibitions about art and architecture

The Stages of Andor Weininger; From the Bauhaus to New York (Alma on Dobbin, 2008, the Hungarian of the book was published by 2B Kulturális és Művészeti Alapítvány, 2008). A monograph about the life and art of Andor Weininger, a painter, musician and performance artist who between 1921 and 1928 studied and worked at the Bauhaus in Germany. The book is based on Koerner’s 18 years-long friendship with Weininger.

József Körner, architect (1907–1971). Retrospective exhibition (Exhibition catalogue, HAP Galéria, Budapest, 2008) The catalogue features an essay by Koerner about his father’s architectural work.

Book about Hungarian cabaret poetry

Poets in the Cabaret. Cabaret Songs in Budapest in the Early 20th Century (Költők a kabaréban. Pesti kabarédalok a 20. század elején. Corvina Kiadó, 2019) The book examines the reasons why a larger share of the best poets wrote cabaret songs in Hungary of the early 20th century than anywhere else in the world.

Notable lectures

In November 2018, Koerner was invited to give a lecture in Moscow about the history of Hungarian Jewish cuisine. During this visit he also participated in a cooking show of eda.ru, a Russian internet gastro site.

Books

A Taste of the Past; The Daily Life and Cooking of a 19th-Century Hungarian Jewish Homemaker. With 85 Authentic Recipes Adapted for the Modern Cook (Hannover and London: University Press of New England, 2004)

Kóstoló a múltból. Egy XIX. századi magyar zsidó háziasszony mindennapjai és konyhája. A modern konyhára alakalmazott 100 hagyományos recepttel. A szerző rajzaival. (Budapest: Vince Kiadó, 2005)

The Stages of Andor Weininger. From the Bauhaus to New York. With 2 CDs, on which Andor Weininger Plays Pieces from the Repertoire of the Bauhaus Band. (New York: Alma on Dobbin, 2008)

Weininger Andor színpadai. A Bauhaustól New Yorkig. 2 CD melléklettel, amelyeken Weininger Andor az általa alapított Bauhaus-zenekar műsorából zongorázik. (Budapest: 2B Kulturális és Művészeti Alapítvány, 2008)

Egy vonakodó zsidó. Esszék és történetek. (Budapest: 2B Kulturális és Művészeti Alapítvány, 2013)

Hogyan éltek?A magyar zsidók hétköznapi élete. 1867–1940. (Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 2013)

Hogyan éltek? A magyar zsidók hétköznapi élete. 1867 – 1940. 2.: Családi, vallási és társas élet, tanulás, katonaélet, nyaralás, sportolás, jótékonyság. (Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 2015)

How They Lived. The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews. 1867–1940. (Budapest: Central European University, 2015)

How They Lived. The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews. 1867–1940. 2.: Family, Religious, and Social Life, Learning, Military Life, Vacationing, Sports, Charity. (Budapest: Central European University, 2016)

A magyar zsidó konyha. Kultúrtörténet 77 autentikus recepttel. (Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 2017)

Jewish Cuisine in Hungary. A Cultural History with 83 Authentic Recipes. Preface by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Budapest: Central European University, 2019)

Költők a kabaréban. Pesti kabarédalok a 20. század elején. (Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 2019)

Awards

National Jewish Book Award 2019. (Food Writing and Cookbooks category): Jewish Cuisine in Hungary. A Cultural History with 83 Authentic Recipes.[6]

Beautiful Hungarian Book 2017. Award for the best designed Hungarian book of the year: A magyar zsidó konyha. Koerner participated in the book’s design.

Beautiful Hungarian Book 2013. Award for the best designed Hungarian book of the year: Hogyan éltek 1. Koerner participated in the book’s design.

References

  1. "Andras Koerner | CEUPress". ceupress.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  2. "Andras Koerner | CEUPress". ceupress.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  3. "Jewish Cuisine in Hungary – HFS Books". www.hfsbooks.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  4. Tenorio, Rich. "Flavor of prewar Hungarian Jewish life captured in book of recipes and folklore". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  5. Körner, András (November 15, 2013). "A Reluctant Jew. Essays and Stories: A Conversation with the Author" (PDF). www.2b-org.hu.
  6. "Past Winners | Jewish Book Council". www.jewishbookcouncil.org. Retrieved 2020-05-18.

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