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Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers: Unique Recipes and Stories from the Times of the Crypto-Jews during the Spanish Inquisition Paperback – September 28, 2019
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Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom is a superb collection of recipes. I was amazed how much effort, love and time the author has put into creating this cookbook. I can feel how much she respects her family's Jewish heritage. I found the story of Genie Milgrom's family interesting, knowing the origin of these recipes gives each recipe in this book a personal touch. I have never read a cookbook which also tells stories and shows the Jewish traditions. I was able to cook a dish and share a story of the recipes history with my family; a great conversation starter.
The structure of the book and the recipes is logical and I liked that each recipe is built up the same way. However, I would have preferred if the recipes were not in alphabetical order but rather in the order of difficulty (starting with the easy recipes).
The instructions to prepare the meals are clear and easy to follow. I found it great that the recipes are tested and modified to fit in the modern gastronomy. Recipes suitable for Passover are also clearly marked.
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers: Unique Recipes and Stories from the Times of the Crypto-Jews during the Spanish Inquisition is a wonderful book written with love that you can taste.
Pages: 193 | ISBN: 9652299693
From the Author
Keeping the memories of my ancestors alive is very important to me. So many times once the elders die, the younger generation has no idea what their history was. I find that by recording the recipes of my grandmothers and by telling stories that were passed down to me, I am successfully leaving bread crumbs for the future generations of my family.
Was there a lot of research you had to do for this book? Did you have to hunt for the recipes or were they readily available to you?
I found the recipes in one place but they were faded, lightly written and difficult to understand I had to do separate research into the Spanish and Portuguese ancient tradition to be able to compile the information historically.
My favorite recipe from the collection is Bola Catalana. What is your favorite dish from the book?
My favorite dish is the periquillos because through this dish I learned all the customs of my family. I am beyond thrilled whenever I smell them cooking because it transports me right back to my grandmother' kitchen.
Do you plan to write more books on food or Jewish history?
Yes I do. I am almost finished with a book on Cuban Kosher cooking. While it is not historical, it is a 30 year hands on work as I have changed all the typical Cuban Recipes to Kosher.
- Publisher : Gefen Publishing House (September 28, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 164 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9652299693
- ISBN-13 : 978-9652299697
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.25 x 1 x 10.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #468,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Unfortunately, the very things that make it useful for the Jewish home cook, leave it lacking for the reader that wants to learn about the foods of the crypto-Jews of any generation. As a culinary historian, the exciting title of this book left me disappointed in the reading.
Milgrom’s introduction delights us with her discovery of a collection of recipes found after her mother’s death. We learn that her mother had denied their existence, yet, apparently, during her lifetime she was hiding them, just as Jews hid their religion through the centuries. Sadly though, Milgrom does not share the original recipes with us – only her recreations. How wonderful it would be to see reproductions of the pages in her ancestors’ handwriting! Milgrom also doesn’t give us an indication of when these manuscripts may have been produced. I can guess that recipes were handed down verbally before being committed to paper, but, that is just my guess. From some of her notes we can tell that the pages she possesses are no older than the mid-nineteenth century. She tells us of recipes calling for corn starch and providing metric measurements. Each of these are mid-19th C. inventions. She further tantalizes the reader in a note that some of the original recipes would call for things like ‘“…a small goblet of water, or “an egg full of oil.”’ I want to read those originals! At the least I would like to know how much oil she calculated filling an egg, and what her thinking was in that conversion. Was it a whole egg’s worth, or did her grandmother’s grandmother mean filling half of an eggshell? Again, Milgrom leaves me to guess.
Another unfulfilled promise of the book’s title is of stories from the times of the crypto-Jews living in Spain of the 15th to 19th centuries. The stories in the book largely center around Milgrom’s direct family, her own experiences around her family’s culture, and her work researching and recreating the recipes provided. Perhaps her earlier books about the 15 Grandmothers provide more of the stories bringing to life the experience of being a Jew hiding her identity from the Inquisition?
To my eye, the recipes in the book appear to be a tasty collection of Spanish and Latino dishes that can be cooked by kosher chefs. She writes, “I have only included in this book those recipes that meet the kosher guidelines and that have also been modified and tested with the meats and products available to us today”. To me this says that she has painted only half the picture. What recipes did her grandmothers cook that that could not be converted for today’s kosher kitchen? To the historian, this is every bit as interesting as those that could, and knowing about them would shine even more light on the way that hiding religion effected their culture.
It could not be more clear that Genie Milgrom wasn’t writing this cookbook for me. I, for one, would have been much happier if she had made that clear in the title. If she had named it “My 15 grandmothers: Spanish and Latino Recipes for the Modern Kosher Kitchen”, I would have no complaints at all. Depending on the reader, this book will either delight or disappoint.
Like this book because it sounds like what I did with my mother in laws recipes on papers and some in her head. Was able to compile them all together for each member of the family over the years.
Recipes are shown with their foreign name and description where it tells you about the food, level and kosher is attached.
Summary of the recipe and facts about it are included.
Ingredients are listed and directions. There are NO pictures and NO nutritional information.
Some of the recipes have a LOT of ingredients be sure you have them all.
Recipes are broken up into food categories.
Glossary is also enclosed at the end. Can't wait to try a few of the cookie recipes.