|Veal goulash with sauerkraut. © Ryan Schierling|
And there was certainly nothing like August Lüchow's restaurant, established in 1882, in New York City.
Described by Ludwig Bemelmans – writer and illustrator of the classic and much-loved Madeline series of children's picture books (and an internationally-known gourmet) – Lüchow's attracted a diverse clientele of "...priests, students, national figures, diplomats, politicians with Italian friends in race-track suits with pearl stickpins in their neckties, theatrical folk with broad-shouldered blondes who have brought along Mama and Papa. It is alive with children and dogs." He called it "the most kaleidoscopic restaurant in New York."
The cookbook is a time machine to the past, to a genteel and gracious establishment that unfortunately no longer exists. Lüchow's shuttered after more than a century of serving proper and traditional European cuisine on East 14th Street at Irving Place.
The very first recipe of the book is Pickled Beef Head Salad, which is followed by Pig's Head Cheese Vinaigrette.
There isn't anything easy about this book, but there is nothing more authentically and satisfyingly German.