Do you have a Jewish cookbook you love?

l pinkmountain

I only have one, a synagogue cookbook from the 70's out of Baltimore, that I fished out of the "discard" pile in the garage at my folks. The only one my mom ever used was Grossingers and I can't find that one, I think it just fell apart. Now that all the great Bubbe's in my life are gone, I feel like I should every once and a while make some of the old classics, just to keep their memory alive. I'm not crazy about the one cookbook I have. It is OK, but most of the recipes are just "meh." My aunt was the great, great cook and I know she got a lot of her recipes out of the NY Times. I'm debating whether to get that one (NYT Jewish cookbook) or just subscribe to the paper and then I can look up the recipes online. I can make all of my own Bubbe's specialties (except her stuffing cooked in the bird which I have never managed to replicate) but every once and a while I want to cook something different or really special and I don't have much variety in my cookbooks.

Also, what are your Jewish food classics? Mine are:

Chicken soup with either home made noodles or matzoh balls

Borscht

Chopped chicken livers, although really all kinds of chopped meat or vegetable spreadish salads, like hummus, egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, etc.

My bubbe made kishke but I really don't like it. Stuffed things though, like eggplant, peppers, cabbage rolls, etc.

Roast or fried chicken

Rye bread (not just Jewish I know, but growing up in a small town with no Jews, I was one of the few people I knew who ever ate it. That has changed . . . )

Bagels

Challah

Hamantaschen

Gummy fruit slices

Things with dried fruit like prunes, apricots, dates

Applesauce and apple cake

Banana bread

Oatmeal cookies (not particularly Jewish but one of my Bubbe's specialties)

Noodle and other puddings (kugels)

Potato pancakes

Cheesecake

Coleslaw a million ways

Corned beef, loved by both my Dutch and Polish grandmothers

Macaroons

Matzohbrei

Herrings salads, which I don't like, and smoked salmon, which I do.

Ditto gefilte fish. Yuck for half of my family, ah yum for the other. I'm in the yuck camp.

Edited to add rugelach, although no one I know makes it at home, so I've only ever had good rugelach when I lived near a good bakery that made it. So rarely. I've had a lot of mediocre rugelah though.

I know their are fancier Jewish dishes but my grandmother was just a basic cook. My aunt made some fabulous kugels, and her blintzes were to die for.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

My very old Settlement Cookbook has many traditionally Jewish recipes in it. It's the one everyone in my family grew up with.

Coincidentally, my mom was raised Catholic, in a Lithuanian family, and a number of their traditional recipes were very similar to the recipes my Jewish dad grew up eating, like latkes and kugel and herring.

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l pinkmountain

Carol I used to work for a Settlement organization in Philadelphia. That cookbook sounds like a real treasure! So many of the Eastern European immigrant foods are part of our shared heritage. I love them all, although I try nowdays to steer mostly to the Mediterranean style of cooking, with less emphasis on all the delicious baked goods! Not that there's anything wrong with them! Thankfully for my waistline I don't have the skill or patience to develop it for many of them, and no longer live near a great bakery. If I ever got back on the regular exercise bandwagon I might be able to indulge more often. I used to work at a place where three of us gals walked for 30 min. every lunch hour. We were all motivated by the same thing, we liked to eat but didn't want to gain a lot of weight! On my own I don't usually remember to take the time to do it, but when I saw the others lacing up their walking shoes, it got me off my duff to don mine.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

FWIW, I thought rugelach were not that difficult to make?

Here's 1 of Martha Stewart's recipes:

https://www.marthastewart.com/1134588/rugelach

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nancyofnc

Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen


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westsider40

Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan. Ms. Nathan used to have a tv show. Likely you can simply google her recipes.

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plllog

My post disappeared! I also mentioned Jewish cooking in America. I use the historical notes sidebars for cooking as much as the recipes. Rugelach aren't technically hard, but perfecting them takes a superior recipe and practice.

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l pinkmountain

Yeah, I am dough challenged. Here was my attempt at another type of rolled, shaped cookie:

I have a few of Ms. Nathan's recipes in my file box. In particular, carbonada criolla, which is Argentinian style cholent. I make mine with fake meat crumbles or dark red kidney beans as I am mostly vegetarian. It's great stuffed into a small hubbard squash.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I'll bet those tasted just as good as perfect looking ones, though!

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plllog

I agree with Carol. I wish we could spend a week together baking and maybe unchallenge you a bit. It's not even worth bothering with rugelach. If you can't find them there, order from Zabar's or one of the smaller delivery services. Really. It's not hard, but not for the dough challenged.

I have a headache, so I've postponed the marzipan making. I'll go see what I have by way of cookbooks. Or we could make a project of it and just give you our best recipes for your list...

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plllog

The “By Design” books are an older series of display style Kosher cookbooks which are very popular. I have the Passover one. I don’t cook from a lot of recipes, but use them more for education and inspiration. They’re more modern cookery than traditional. On the other end of the spectrum, I have two published by Manischewitz: Tempting Kosher Dishes (1950) and The M. Passover Cookbook (1969). Both use matzah meal instead of flour, natch.

Favorite Mediterranean and Eastern books are Olive Trees and Honey, and Feast from the Mideast, which have foods I think you’d like to eat, but not the traditional Ashkenaz. Also Plenty and Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Aromas of Aleppo, which are beautiful, coffee table style books with more advanced cookery and interesting recipes.

Secrets of a Jewish Baker, A Blessing of Bread and Inside the Jewish Bakery are all interesting baking books. I love A Blessing of Bread. It features different versions of Jewish bread from around the world. Inside the Jewish Bakery has a lot of interesting history. The recipes are presented in charts in ounces/grams/percentages, as many bread recipes are, but maybe not for the dough challenged. I think you might like Secrets of a Jewish Baker. The recipes are straightforward and there are nice drawings that explain the processes which might help. There’s a foreword titled “How to make rye bread sing.” This book could help you with baking in general, I think.

For what you asked for, I have a couple of possibilities besides Jewish Cooking in America: I haven’t used them extensively, but they’re comprehensive. The gummy slices aren’t a traditional made at home, so you probably need to go to a candy recipe for that. Otherwise, How to Cook Like a Jewish Mother by June Roth (Castle, 1993) is a small book with index card sized recipes for everything from corned beef to fruit compote, though no cooking instruction and not all of the more personal items on your list.

The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden (Knopf, 1996) has most of your list, as well as very interesting recipes from around the world. There’s also a lot of information, and the recipes have directions and variations. If you’re only going to get one book, this might be the one to get.

Thanks. My headache feels better...

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

My mom still has an old paperback copy of 'Love and Knishes'...

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lindac92

I am amazed by your list of foods....that I really don't consider jewish....my very Dutch grandmother made a sort of noodle pudding, serving wide noodles with sugar hot milk and cinnamon....and doesn't everyone make chicken soup? Sometimes with biscuit du,mplings....which are almost matzoa balls!!
I grew up within spitting distance of the Lincoln Tunnel....so we had regularly things like rugelah and bagels and herring salad, corned beef halavah, chopped chicken liver etc....didn't know it was anything but "food".
My favorite jewish cookbook is one from my daughter in law's hadassa group. it's my go to recipe for noodle kugel, with pineapple and cottage cheese and cream cheese, sugar, eggs and drizzled with butter on top of the cornflakes!


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agmss15

My mom was given a wonderful Claudia Roden cookbook on Jewish cooking that I love. I am not sure about baking recipes though. She seems to come from the Sephardic tradition but the cookbook my mom has includes recipes from Jewish communities around the world - included are stories about the various communities. It includes a fair number of recipes that come from Eastern Europe and ones that to my unsophisticated eye Israeli or middle eastern.

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l pinkmountain

I find it amazing Linda that you would not know that lokshen kugel is a popular Ashkenazi Jewish dish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kugel

Something can be both Jewish and Dutch at the same time . . . like me for example.

Both my Jewish Bubbe and Dutch grandma made apple cake, but that doesn't make apple cake not Jewish . . . or not Dutch. Apples originated in an area near Kazakhstan . . . Noodles originated in China . . . I laughed and laughed when a friend brought me a special "Jewish apple cake" from the local Jewish deli and it was the same cake I grew up knowing as "Dutch apple cake" in my ancestral home in the Dutch area of Michigan. Apple cake to me is a true "peace cake" and the thing that most quintessentially represents me. I'm also not an "either/or" kind of person, I can have two concepts going on in my mind at the same time.

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l pinkmountain

I can make a mean version of most of the foods on my list. I don't really like to cook, only do it so I can eat great food. I'm probably not going to make bagels. I could perfect rugelach but don't really want to, would not be fun and my waistline can live without it. The only food on my list I need to work on perfecting is kugels. Not lokshen kugel, mine is awesome but with all that cream and sugar it's not hard to do. I keep trying with some of the other vegetable kugels. My blitzes are OK but I don't have access to the right kind of cheese to make them awesome. I've settled on cottage cheese pancakes as a much easier substitute.

My experience with Jewish cooking came from my Bubbe, who was poor and lived in a small town all her life. A not Jewish one for most of it, which was my home town. She grew up on the border between Russia and Poland. All the rest was tangential, coming from gifts sent from Chicago, NY and NJ and visits to relatives there. That's why I could easily expand my cooking repertoire to other Jewish dishes not known to my family, like brisket, for example. That was something I never had growing up, although my Bubbe would make a beef roast or pot roast from time to time for special occasions.

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plllog

LPink, the blintz cheese can be had easily if you sous vide, and you might find sous vide a great help in making good food with less attention to cooking. :)

So, if your looking for a book is more to expand your repertoire of Jewish cooking, while being a reference for basics, I do recommend the Roden book, The Book of Jewish Food. It's interesting to read, and has a lot of different recipes, beside what's on your list, which I think you'd like.

Re veggie kugel, try thinking of it as a casserole. Put together things that make a nice forkful. That is they should taste good together as a salad, including the cuts being nice to get onto your fork. Smaller works better in a kugel than larger. Saute onions as you would for anything, and also anything hard until they start to soften. If you have anything that weeps, like leafy greens, blanch and wilt them, and press out the excess moisture. Add seasoning and glue (eggs and matzah or dry bread--2 eggs for one square of matzah (4 eggs/2 matzot for a 9"x9" dish), soak the matzah in water just enough to soften, not drench or fall apart). Mix well with your hands and put in a greased baking dish Level off the top. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes.

You can use custard (eggs and milk) instead of just eggs, and adjust the amount of matzah/bread accordingly, though veggie kugel is usually parve.

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l pinkmountain

My kugel issues are mostly texture issues. My Aunt made a yellow summer squash kugel that was fab. She was very secretive about her techniques, although I know she got a lot of her recipes from the NYT since she lived there. I am a moisture presser. I actually can make fairly good vegetable casseroles. Hard and soft summer squash evade me.

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plllog

I feel like there's a moving target here. I obviously don't get what it is you're looking for. It's a feeling I'm familiar with--I'll think I've been very clear but the answers I get aren't what I was looking for. Do you have a cousin or know a good friend of your aunt's who knows the secret? A wild guess would be cream. Even heavy cream. Cream takes simple dishes over the edge of decadence. That is, I'm guessing the yellow squash kugel was pureed not sliced? In general, the difference between a kugel and a casserole, if difference there is, would be a kugel is more likely to use grated or pureed, rather than larger lumps and slices. My grandmother's apple kugel had sliced apples in the bottom, but they were cooked enough not to be texturally different from the rest, even though they were visually different. Silky is often the word for a kugel. So, if you're good at veggie casserole, just cut it up smaller and call it a kugel. :)

At you at all good at imagining flavors? There are a ton of good sounding squash kugel recipes out there.

From the old Tempting Kosher Dishes by Manischewitz:

Squash Souffle

1.5 lbs. summer squash
2 eggs, well beaten
2 TBSP matzah meal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Wash and grate the squash on the coarse grater. Mix with the rest and put in a well buttered dish (I'm guessing 9"). Sprinkle top with more matzah meal and dot with butter. Bake at 350° F for 45-60 minutes.

Could it be that simple?


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l pinkmountain

Yes, I too feel like my ideal kugel is a moving target. My Aunt's was with shredded squash. When I've made it, my recipe is similar to yours, except I added some parm cheese in search of more buttery flavor . . . Next time I may try salting and sweating it beforehand. I've dried it with towels before . . . It's the crispy/creamy contrast too . . . Maybe she cut the squash with potatoes. She's gone now, but would have never told me anyway . . .

If it will make you feel any better Pllog, I can never seem to get my candied sweet potatoes just right either. But I am fine with it, it's all good.

Edited to add from this article her secret may have been mayonnaise . . . https://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/28/dining/arts/kugel-unraveled.html

This one is more my speed - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/well/healthy-recipes/recipes/summer-squash-gratin

I have all the ingredients for this one - https://thrivingonpaleo.com/veggie-kugel-recipe-new-yiddish-kitchen/

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blubird

Here's a Jamie Geller recipe which uses mayo. She also has recipes for different veggie combos. I haven't made it yet but the recipe intrigues me. BTW, I still have the Grossinger's paperback falling apart and in several pieces, but it's the one I go to for dishes I don't make frequently.

Broccoli kugel

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artemis_ma

I'm not Jewish, but I grew up in New York City. Actual Jewish delis all over the place.

I really should go get myself a Jewish cookbook or two - a cuisine I'm lacking skills to cook with. Although I do make potato latkes and tongue sandwiches on rye. And a good brisket.

I don't consider chicken soup as Jewish - my mother brought that with her from the South. But then again, maybe it is the matzoh? (We used noodles or dumplings.)

I love bialys. I love pickled herring. I love chicken liver pate. A good Reuben sandwich is heavenly.

I'll be looking into some of the cookbooks folks have mentioned above.

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l pinkmountain

Chicken soup is the universal comfort food. My Dutch grandmother was a Seventh Day Adventist though (they are vegetarians) so my chicken soup memories are from my Jewish grandmother. I can make home made noodles just like she did. I can, but usually I don't want to fuss. Maybe when I retire . . .

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plllog

I think there are some cultural differences in chicken soups. The kind of Jewish chicken soup I grew up with is make a rich stock with lots of root vegetables, especially onions and carrots which give it the pretty yellow color, then making it into eating soup after. For eating soup, to the stock one adds seasoning, sliced or chopped vegetables, bits of cooked chicken, hand cut egg noodles or dumplings (matzah balls) or spaetzle, and eyerlekh (unlaid eggs), though not necessarily all at once.

The other kind of Jewish chicken soup friends of mine make is a quick soup, which is basically boiled chicken water, which is cooked until the chicken is cooked through, then it's removed and served on a platter (though sometimes cut into the soup), and the soup vegetables (which might only be carrots and celery) are left in the soup, or removed and cut then returned to it, perhaps with noodles It's basically a way to stretch a chicken making it be both soup and meat. Until the middle of the 20th Century, chickens were expensive so were a symbol of plenty or even luxury. Chicken was still more expensive than beef until the 1970's.

I mean, chicken soup is chicken soup, but most people I meet without a Jewish background use different vegetables, including green ones and fewer.



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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Artemis just reminded me we grew up eating lots of boiled beef tongue. I haven't had any in decades, but still recall those rectangular slices...

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l pinkmountain

Tongue was not around much in my small Midwestern town. The first time I ever saw it was at one of the German dinners of our German class. My teacher made it, with some kind of sauce with raisins and he kept joking those were the taste buds. It looked like a big ol' honkin' tongue and I could not bring myself to try it even though I try to be open minded. Later, I was visiting my NY relatives and they had some thin sliced tongue on a deli tray and people were eating it and raving. I thought I could do it then, give it a taste, but I still couldn't, it looked like a thin sliced tongue. Now I can pull the vegetarian card to avoid it . . .

I made something called "Cheesy Tofu Squares" last night that was basically kugel since the main vegetable ingredient was shredded yellow summer squash. I salted it and pressed the liquid out for about 5 min. (should have done more but I was "pressed" for time). Then I dried it and sauteed it to further evaporate out water. The result was very good in terms of flavor and pretty good in terms of texture. But this kugel had way more seasonings than the usual peasant food type of one that is part of Jewish heritage. The mix of cheddar, shredded mixed Italian and goat cheese didn't hurt either . . . Being mostly vegetarian for our meals, that was not a problem with kosher rules.

Maybe I don't need a new book. With Web sites like Bluebird posted with 50 versions of kugel, I might not have to spend the money. I am intrigued by several of those, gonna try some with mayo and other non dairy add ins.

Then I can maybe check some of these other cookbooks out from the library and have some weeks featuring "Jew Food." I really don't like to cook, but having some kind of additional goal helps motivate me. Once every month or so I also pull a couple of recipes out of Mom's recipe clips that are in a file box. Enough there to keep me occupied for the rest of my life. But it's a way of feeling close to her. A lot of them are not keepers though, so I end up throwing them out. It's also a way of winnowing out just the best.

Both my grandmother and mother were stymied in their cooking repertoire by having to include my dad, who is uber picky. He visited relatives in Israel and waxed poetic about how their home had the smells of his childhood memories at their house, and my irritated mom chimed in, "Yeah, onions and garlic, two things you say you don't want to eat because they upset your stomach." If I invite my dad over for dinner and he smells those now, he'll say, "I hope you're not fixing that for me."

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plllog

I think you're right about not needing a cookbook for traditional favorites when everybody's bubbe is sharing online. I love books, but find a lot of good to better recipes online, faster and easier than perusing the ones I own. I use them as resources and inspiration more than for recipes, though in looking for you I did run across recipes I want to try.


As i was finally catching up on sleep last night, Blubird's comment came to mind and I remembered something I've seen on stupid food games on TV: cooks were using mayonnaise not just as a fat, but also as a substitute for eggs in baking. Apparently, even from (hopefully pasteurized), stabilized, jarred mayonnaise there's enough egginess to rise. That, indeed, might be the secret ingredient. Mayo, if it's well seasoned and tangy (think Hellman's/Best Foods) can also add a lot of subtle flavor.


Congrats on the success of your own kugel!

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