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Heirloom Cookbook: Recipes Handed Down by Jewish Mothers and Modern Recipes from Daughters and Friends (Adult Interest) Paperback – August 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
I vividly remember my first encounter with Jewish cuisine some 15 years ago. We were in Krakow, Poland, and everybody wanted to eat at the famous Ariel, where the crew of Schindler's List ate often while filming the movie. They offered a set menu, featuring Gefilte Fish, which I figured would be some kind of stuffed fish, so I was really looking forward to it. Well, for those of you familiar with the famous dish I certainly do not have to explain how very wrong I was. For those of you who are not - let's just say I did not finish it. I also did not finish the following two courses, but I did have some cottage-cheese based dessert. For many years after that ill-fated meal, I did not venture into the exploration of Jewish culinary delights, until I had the good luck to try some dishes cooked by my friends and served in a home setting. That was enough to wake me up to the fact that Jewish cuisine can be and actually is delectable when done right.
The "Heirloom Cookbook," compiled and edited by Miriam Lerner Satz, presents over 450 recipes which, as the author puts it, are `recipes handed down by Jewish mothers and modern recipes from daughters and friends.' While quite a few are quite expected (the fateful Gefilte Fish, different kinds of Borscht, Chopped Liver, Matzo Balls, Blinis and more...), so many of them make one realize how diverse the Jewish cuisine really is and how many other cuisines have influenced it in the past. While Spanish, German, Russian and Polish influences were quite expected, I was amazed to find traces of Amish, Chinese, Danish, Greek, Italian, Mexican and other influences as well.
The recipes are diverse and cover every course of a regular or festive meal. There are even a dozen beverage recipes included. The directions to prepare are simple and easy-to-follow and the couple that I tried turned out absolutely yummy. While I enjoyed the family background part, the division of recipes in five sections (Lerner and Satz Family Recipes, Recipes from Miriam Lerner Satz, Passover Recipes, Sephardic [Spanish Jewish] Cooking and Favorite Recipes from Friends) made it slightly difficult to find appropriate recipes for each course. That was partially offset by an absolutely wonderful Index section, which listed the recipes in alphabetical order as well as by category and by author.
I've greatly enjoyed the family photos in the book, but missed photographs of the finished dishes. With the exception of three unidentified dishes on the front cover, there were no other photos of the food in the book. I have always found good pictorial material invaluable in a cookbook and great help in making the dishes look authentic. That was also my only semi-serious complaint about the "Heirloom Cookbook." I would highly recommend this book to anybody - Jewish or not - who enjoys good food and values family ties.
Received book free of charge.
Nancy asks why the Jewish version of chow mein was necessary. We wanted to be Jewish Americans in a time and place where ethnic food was limited by geography. To us, part of being American meant participating in the American culture by eating things like chow mein and cookies with M&Ms. As I look through this cookbook, I am struck by the amazing cornucopia of quality and diversity presented in the recipes, spanning the Sephardic and Ashenazi traditions with the occasional bit of Jewish-Americana.
This book gave me back my mother's recipes, ones I was too young to appreciate at the time, because she made them for herself and my father, often modified by the limited ingredients she could obtain. The kids were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Now, with both parents gone, I can appreciate them, and as I make the food, I think of my mother's hands having done the same. This is a precious gift.
Thank you, Miriam Satz.
Kind Readers, you should buy your synogogue's cookbook. Buy this one also for a real treat, and an insight into Jewish-American life between 1950 and 1970.
P.S. The applesauce and the smoked salmon are very delicious!