Strangest/Quirkiest Jewish Cookbook?
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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!
That's a great idea about the scan. I should do it and will b'n try.
The quirkiest (at any rate the silliest) Jewish cookbook I have is the The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook. Silly, silly, silly. But adorable.
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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.
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.