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Hungarian Rap

May 16, 1987

I often read Max Jacobson's culinary reviews, about restaurants near and far, with much interest.

However, judging by the review on Hungarian restaurants ("Hungry for Hungarian: Dine Like a Magyar King," May 10), perhaps he should stick to critiquing food and skip efforts to enlighten readers about the country's history. He inadvertently insults Hungarians by calling us a mishmash of races--"Slavs, Latins, Teutons and Gypsies"--when in fact these races coexist largely in separate groups.

Gypsies, who wandered into Hungary and the rest of Europe centuries ago from India, fiercely maintain their independent ways and only recently have begun to be accepted in Hungarian society (this is a racial problem Hungary is working on).

As for the "Latins," Jacobson presumably means the Romans, whose empire once extended to Hungary, but they left--2,000 years ago--with little lasting effect, like the Turks more recently. These many cultures did, however, contribute to a "colorful hybrid" in terms of cooking.

But through it all, Hungarians, related only to the Finns, racially and linguistically in the "Finno-Ugric" group--have largely preserved our original racial characteristics.

Stick to the food, Max.


Beverly Hills

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