It has a solid, stodgy presence on any dinner plate; it comes in as many flavors as Baskin-Robbins, but the most popular are noodle and potato. It can be served as side dish or, in some cases, a dessert. It can be sweet or savory, soft or firm, and though almost everyone can recognize a piece if placed in front of them, most would have a hard time defining what a kugel actually is.
The crude English definition of the Yiddish word is pudding, but that is not only an inadequate way to describe that square piece of -- well, kugel that graces so many Jewish meals but incorrect also, given that "pudding" has a distinct dessert connotation, of which a hearty piece of kugel often has no part.
No, kugel is definitely more than pudding, and how much more will be seen this Sunday, when kugel aficionados will gather to wow the cognoscenti of the food world with their kugel creations at Yiddsihkayt Los Angeles' Kugl Kukh-Off.