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The Jewish Manual Paperback – November 4, 2009


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Paperback, November 4, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Delightful reading for the cook as well as the noncook. -- Joan Nathan

The Jewish Manual is "a book that almost any serious cook, especially one interested in culinary as well as social history, will deem a 'must have' For his/her cookbook collection. But it is also much more than a cookbook that even non-cooks will find it fascinating reading." - -- Milwaukee Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

There has been a growing interest in food, social customs and roots. In the pattern of the ancient continuous history of the Jews these subjects are very important. Rules for personal behavior were delineated in the Bible, in Leviticus (in Hebrew Vayikra ).

This book was discovered by chance in the Jewish Division of The New York Public Library. The dry, brittle pages of the original carried an imposing title covering a delightful volume which proved to be the first Jewish cookbook and manual on personal hygiene and social deportment written in English. Published in London in 1846 it reflects the social and economic status of English Jews at that time. The "Lady" editor published her book because, "Among the numerous works on Culinary Science already in circulation, there have been none which afford the slightest insight into the Cookery of the Hebrew kitchen." She considered available books unsuitable and, " . . . completely valueless to the Jewish housekeeper, not only on account of prohibited articles and combinations,... but from the entire absence of all the receipts peculiar to the Jewish people." After authenticating the Jewish origin of the book, the decision was made to proceed with a quality facsimile edition.

Much has been published about East European and Russian Jews whose offspring and their descendants make up the largest portion of English speaking' Jews. Oddly, little is generally known about this English Jewish community. Documents of social history are rare. The book is testimony to the anonymous Lady's comfortable position in English society. At the same time there is no doubt about her devotion to Judaism. This knowledge will be reinforced as you read Chaim Raphael's introduction placing the community in the context of English history, customs and social acceptance. Mr. Raphael solved the mystery of our Lady's identity. He found her to be Lady Judith Montefiore, wife of Sir Moses Montefiore, the towering figure of 19th-century international Jewish life. Their marriage in 1812 was the first intermarriage between the reigning Sephardi and German-Ashkenazi families in England. From such backgrounds and from extensive travel to the Continent, Jerusalem and other areas of the Middle East, the recipes reflect a gastronomic heritage and knowledge of haute cuisine unknown to Polish and Russian Jews. Lady Montefiore's awareness of the writing and work of the great French chefs, culinary techniques and terminology displays her curiosity, intellect, depth of interest, and expertise in her subject.

When reading and using The Jewish Manual one must remember that it was designed for,"...the mistress of a family...to direct her servant...in all the minute yet indispensible details of elegent hospitality." It was presumed that the rudiments of cookery had already been mastered by the persons who were to be involved with the actual preparation of food. It is entirely possible and most rewarding for us to discover that with a bit of patience and some knowledge of basic measurements and cooking skill we are able to cook from this book. Adjusting quantities to a smaller number of servings is no problem. Bola d'Amor is to this day the grand dessert confection of Spain. The Gateau de Tours may be prepared using a purchased poundcake and presented as the most easily prepared impressive dessert possible. It remains the specialty cake of Tours, France, prepared there with the superb raspberry jam of the region. "Muligatawny Soup" is curried chicken stew-simple and straightforward- brought home to England from India.

It is a privilege to have the opportunity to share this book with you and join Lady Montefiore in the, "hope, therefore, that this unpretending little work may not prove wholly unacceptable, even to those ladies [gentlemen, too] who are not of the Hebrew persuasion..... [and] that with all its faults and deficiencies "The Jewish Manual" may prove to them a useful assistant, and be fortunate enough to meet with their lenient, kind and favourable consideration. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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