Strangest/Quirkiest Jewish Cookbook?

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Strangest/Quirkiest Jewish Cookbook?

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Editado: Mar 9, 2007, 7:31pm

Two come to mind: one is A Russian Jew Cooks in Peru, by the charmingly named Violeta Autumn. This book has a lot of Asheknazi recipes viewed through a South American lens. It makes no bones about being "treyfe", proudly culturally Jewish, but little else. However the author seldom strays so far from her roots that a kosher variation of a recipe can't be found.

The second, Cooking the Jewish Way is only weird because of the cover and where I got it. I don't seem to have it in my library here yet, which I will try to amend. The cover, as you now can see, is a "re-enactment" - and, boy, am I being generous with that - of a Jewish wedding with some of the fakest, glued on beards this side of a grade school play. The "bride" looks like she's worried that the "rabbi's" beard is going to drop off into the wine. And what's the deal with the three guys on the left, who all look like they picked out their beards during a black out at "Moishe's Discount Weird Beard Hut".

This cookbook was published in Warsaw in the 1983 and was given to me as part of what I assume to have been a very misguided carnal bribe or declaration of some intent, in the Jewish graveyard in Warsaw. On the up-side, it has a great recipe for gefüllte fish!

Mar 7, 2007, 8:18pm

I think you've won the contest already! I hope you'll scan that cover in when you catalogue the book.

Mar 7, 2007, 10:00pm

Ah, it's no contest, rather a quilt of books and stories. I'd love to hear the stories behind other's books and collections.

That's a great idea about the scan. I should do it and will b'n try.

Mar 9, 2007, 7:32pm

It is now scanned and up in my library. If the image is too small to see, try:

Mar 9, 2007, 7:44pm

Oh, that is a great cover! And I think the groom is flirting with a bridesmaid.

Mar 9, 2007, 10:46pm

What a hoot!

Abr 23, 2007, 5:47pm

I really regret not tagging my cookbooks as I added them. It's going to be a pain to do it after the fact. Grumble. There really are loads of Jewish cookbooks in my collection - I'm half out of my mind for Jewish cooking.

The quirkiest (at any rate the silliest) Jewish cookbook I have is the The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook. Silly, silly, silly. But adorable.

Abr 23, 2007, 9:22pm

Erk, I always regret not tagging things as I enter them, myself. Most of the time I get back to them, other times I forget. Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook has lots of heart. I have the reprint myself and enjoy it as much for the kitsch factor as the recipes. If you ever get to the Museum of Television around 53rd and 5th in New York, they have a selection of programs from "The Goldbergs". Worth a look!

Abr 25, 2007, 12:12am

I'm sick with a fever so I've used my downtime to steal my partner's computer into bed with me and tag every book in my catalog (all food or beverage books). What a huge deal. :) But it's already bearing dividends. I also have started reviewing and rating. That's fun too.

Abr 25, 2007, 2:45am

Feel better soon!

11labellesanslebete Primeira Mensagem
Editado: Fev 27, 2012, 5:48pm

"Jewish Cookery Book" by Mrs. Esther Levy (nee Esther Jacobs), 1871

from the preface to the New Facsimile Edition

Jewish Cookery Book was the first Jewish cookbook to be published in the United States, and only the second to appear in the English language. In fact it is only the third Jewish cookbook ever published; although earlier cookbooks had contained sections on Jewish cookery, some of them woefully inaccurate.

All that is known about the author, Esther Levy, is that her maiden name was Jacobs, and she appears to have been a native Philadelphian. Her recipes show strong German influence, which may have been due to her own origins as much as to the culinary example of her fellow Pennsylvanians and contemporary cookery experts, such as Mrs. Lemcke of New York. A few of these recipes betray an English influence, especially the mint sauce for lamb, and there is one typically Sephardi recipe for veal in oil and lemon. Since Mrs. Levy registered the work herself at the Library of Congress and appears to have been solely responsible for it, her faultless command of English would lead one to believe that it was her mother tongue. Her Hebrew appears to have been non-existent. Mrs. Levy uses some highly original transliterations of Hebrew names, which in the "Jewish Calendar" section are almost unrecognizable. Had they been printer's errors, they surely would have been referred on to the corrections page which makes no mention of them. Of course, it was not unusual for even the most orthodox of Jewish families to instruct their daughters in only the bare minimum it required for a future wife, i.e. dietary principles of Judaism and such wifely obligations as ritual baths. The same downgrading of feminine Jewish achievement has kept both Mrs. Levy and her excellent work from receiving appropriate recognition.

Josephine Bacon
Los Angeles, 1982

Victorian era cookbooks were sponsored by advertisements printed on the back pages. Some of Mrs. Levy's are "Griffith & Page, House Furnishing Hardware and Cooking Utensils, Omelette Pans, Chafing Dishes, Asparagus Boiler, Biscuit Pans, Milk and Farina Boilers", "E. Hohenfels & Brother, General Upholsterers, Carpets and Matting sewed, altered and put down, Oil Cloths neatly fitted, White Holland Shades, Hair, Husk and Spring Mattresses", "Henry Greer, Cosher Butcher", and Miss Phebe Lafetra, First-Class Dressmaker, Operates on the Machine, and goes out by the day on the most reasonable terms."

I'd like to add that in addition to writing and editing the book and getting advertising to pay for the printing of it Mrs. Levy must have been a fine cook.

Mar 3, 2010, 3:35pm

Although pre-Holocaust European Jewish cookery were de facto Kosher, I found a German one "israelitisches Kochbuch" by Sara Cohn with engravings of various meat cuts including nonkosher ones. I suspect she or the editor purloined the engravings from a non Jewish cookery book. She did, however, mix milk and meat in her recipes.

Editado: Jan 13, 2014, 12:18pm

The When you live in Hawaii, you get very creative during Passover cookbook : an incredible collection of Passover recipes gathered by the members, families, and friends of Congregation Sof Ma'arav, Honolulu, Hawaii by Judy Goldman (Editor)