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Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Rage To Nosh

A Rage To Nosh

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I thought it might be fun to share some of the Jewish flavored cookbooks I have in my collection.
First up we have Jewish Cookery "in accordance with Jewish Dietary Laws" by Leah W. Leonard. I'm pretty sure this book, when first published in 1949, came with a dust jacket. Unfortunately, my 1957 edition does not. I should probably be thankful that I have a copy at all. Jewish Cookery is one of those cookbooks that is passed down from generation to generation. Not only does it include recipes for traditional Jewish dishes, it also gives instructions for maintaining a Kosher kitchen, suggestions for Sabbath and holiday meals, including complete guidelines for Passover. It also covers a basic nutritional and technical introduction to cooking, and so much more. It's an unassuming looking book containing 465 pages of recipes. From the Preface:

...The Jewish people, like all other people, have food customs traditionally associated with their daily lives, their holidays and festivals, celebrations in the home and out of it. In addition to these regulations are prescribed in a code of dietary laws, from the slaughter of animals used for food and regulations of other foods, to the kinds of dishes prepared for special holidays and festivals as well as the Sabbath. These food traditions have accumulated through the long, historic experience of the Jewish people. Some food customs and traditions cluster about historic events that have become the basis for annual observance. All of this has contributed to the national continuity of an ancient people...
While Jewish homes have always been symbols of hospitality, and the Jewish cook famous for skill, it was not until 1826 that a Jewish cookbook was published in London. It was entitled The Jewish Manual edited "by a Lady." In this collection of recipes gathered from many sources there are remarkably few "traditional" Jewish dishes.
The earliest American Jewish Cookbook was the work of Mrs. Esther Levy, published in 1871...

The Hebrew Calendar

As you can imagine, the assortment of recipes in Jewish Cookery is vast. I've chosen this recipe for Homemade Mead simply because September is also National Honey Month. In my travels, I also just discovered that August 3rd is Mead Day. That info is courtesy of Time Magazine. I've added it to my list for August. Perhaps next year we will "investigate":)
Homemade Mead
(Old-Fashioned Recipe)
2 ounces dry hops
2 gallons strained honey
8 gallons water
1-1/2 ounces white ginger (optional)
2 lemons, sliced very thin

Tie the hops in a cheesecloth. Combine water and honey in a large vessel, add ginger, hops, and lemon. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and let cook gently 30 minutes. Skim as necessary through the cooking process. Let mead cool in the vessel before straining through a double layer of fine cheesecloth into a wooden cask. Do not fill cask more than 2/3 full to permit fermentation without overflow.

Let stand at room temperature uncorked until fermentation stops, approximately 3 weeks. Bottle if desired and store in a cool dark place until wanted. To produce a dark amber mead, add 1 cup of sugar which has been heated over moderate heat until dark brown. This may be added to some of the mead after fermentation stops if 2 varieties of this delicious beverage are desired. Yields approximately 8 gallons. For smaller quantity, reduce ingredients accordingly.

Here's a recipe for Eretz Israel Honey Cake. You will notice the recipe calls for 1 wineglass of raspberry syrup. According to this Heirloom Weights & Measures Conversion Chart, a wineglass of raspberry syrup would be equal to 1/4 cup.

Eretz Israel Honey Cake

A Rage to Nosh pictured at the top of this page, was written by Ruth and Bob Grossman. The Grossmans authored numerous cookbooks in their day, many of them with a Jewish flavor. The list includes The Chinese-Kosher Cookbook, Italian Kosher Cookbook, and the French-Kosher Cookbook.
With a copyright date of 1966, A Rage to Nosh is touted as "a blend of sophisticated taste with rib-tickling humor." I don't know about the sophisticated taste, but I do agree there is some humor between these pages. From the Preface:

...The art of noshing has been finely perfected through the ages by a long list of famous noshers. The first nosh of all time was the forbidden apple with which the serpent of the Garden of Eden tempted Eve. This must have been the first in a long series of low calorie snacks; for in all the world of art depicting the first couple, whoever heard of a fat Adam and Eve?
Probably the most famous of all noshers was the portly King Henry VIII of England. His sumptuous dinners were the envy of all citizens. They would last for hours and were as beautiful to behold as they were to devour. And between each course were served noshes of every size and description from the far corners of the globe. Henry, who had a particular passion for drumsticks (they say his mother made delicious chicken soup) had the nasty habit of throwing the bones over his shoulder with great gust and excellent aim...
However, no one deserves more credit for encouraging hundreds of generations of noshers than the ubiquitous Jewish mother who is famous for her tons of stuffed cabbage, schools of gefullte fish and mountains of chopped liver. Lest she violate the Dietary Laws, she has seldom wandered from these traditional viands of the Kosher table prepared from century honed recipes...

With recipes like Picasso Party Mix, and Mrs. Hill's Herring Salad, most of the recipes in this slender book are not quite out of the ordinary.

Picasso Chex Party Mix
Mrs. Hill's Herring Salad

However, I did find this recipe for Rum Toast a bit "telling."

Rum Toast

For dessert we have Kissel from The Gourmet Guide to Jewish Cooking published in 1973 and authored by Phyllis Oberman & Bessie Carr. Kissel was a new dessert to me. I hadn't heard of it before so I did a couple of quick "look-ups" to get a better understanding. In its simplest form, Kisel is a puréed fruit dessert thickened with either cornstarch or potato flour. It is quite popular in Russia. It seems to be amazingly adaptable utilizing most fruits and berries of the season and I love the notion that it can be served either warm or cold. I will definitely be looking out for more recipes:) enjoy, Louise

Kissel




57 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I've never tried that recipe, Yummy. But I'm going to. I love herring salad!

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  2. Lovely recipes! I really enjoy Jewish specialities.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. I do too, Rosa. There are so many Jewish foods that I had in my youth, but I just don't know what they are called in order to find the recipes. I sure wish I did:)

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  3. My father-in-law loved herring anyway he could get it. Loved the recipes. I have a few old Jewish cookbooks and love to browse through them. Shana Tova!

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    1. Herring happens to be a favorite of mine too, Mrs. K. I especially like Herring Salad. Thanks for dropping by...

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  4. I found the list of traditional foods for holidays that you reproduced very interesting. Some of the food names used are now pretty obsolete. Example: St.John's Bread is an older name for carob, which is more common now than it probably was when the book Jewish Cookery was written.

    The University of Michigan library has just begun a big display of Jewish cookbooks and materials, which I'm looking forward to seeing soon. The organizer, Jan Longone, has presented a Jewish fund-raising cookbook from each of the 50 states, as well as many other things. I wonder if their collection includes your examples (I could check the catalog but I'm to lazy so I'll just wonder).

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    1. I knew that about St. John's Bread, Mae. Only because I have quite a few antique health books and that's how they refer to it in them. I'm glad you reminded me:)

      I'm familiar with Jan's extensive library. We have been in contact on and off through the years. I wasn't aware of the Jewish Cookbook display. I would love for you to check the catalog when you're up to it or send me the info so I can. I've donated books before and I would gladly donate more.

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  5. Dear Louise, Growing up my mom used to share her tradition Italian recipes with the neighbor for traditional Jewish recipes. They were delicious. These are wonderful treasures. Blessings and prayers to you dear. Catherine xo

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    1. Oh that's so funny, Catherine. When I was a child my grandmother did the same thing in her neighborhood. I can still remember my first Matzo!

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  6. Fun stuff! I should make mead sometime - it's one of those things I've always heard of, but never tasted. But I'll resist the temptation to reread Beowulf. ;-)

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    1. The fact that you're tempted to reread Beowulf, John, is all the more reason why you should start "playing" with Mead. Just think of the Tiki posts you could do next year!

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  7. Hi Louise, What a delightful idea to write about the Jewish New Year with such delicious recipes. I have a best friend who is Jewish and my favorite is The Honey Cake. All of the dishes look so yummy and I would love to Nosh on that party mix. Great job...Blessings :)

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    1. I LOVE Italian Honey Balls, Dottie. Chances are I'd love that Honey Cake too!!! You should make some and share, lol...

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  8. My best friend from Kindergarten on was Jewish, and I can just hear her Grandma Blanche saying "Noshes so your guests can go home already!" She was from Lon GIsland with a definite G. (I dated a blond Jewish guy for a year in high school and he defined that term for me.) Also, Ab is a whole lot easier to spell than November, isn't it? It's great that you have this very unique cookbook.

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    1. Now who's given the lessons Marjie? Thanks!

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  9. My husband doesn't believe I dislike Chex Mix (by any name) and Jello!

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    1. I must admit, Channon, it is a bit hard to believe. No! Jell-O???

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  10. I love some Jewish récipes, love this, and I have russian dolls like these!

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    1. I'm delighted you liked it, Gloria. Those dolls are are special!

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  11. Hi Louise , what wonderful recipes , I think I will try the Eretz Israel Honey Cake and the Picasso Party Mix ...all kids in school now I can get back to business as usual . Give Marion a hug thanks for sharing :).

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    1. Oh I wish you would Nee. When you bake that Honey Cake, don't forget to invite us!

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  12. I so appreciate how much research you do. There really aren't blogs like yours out there and I can always rely on you to teach me something new =)

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    1. You made my day, Angela. Your kind words are much too generous. It is my pleasure to share with all of you:)

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  13. Love the Russian Dolls. I am going to try Picasso's Party mix. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful cookbooks with us:)

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    1. Thank you for enjoying them Geraldine:) Be sure and let us know how that Party Mix tastes!

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  14. The honey cake recipe really does sound enticing... thanks for sharing, Louise!

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  15. Oh, I love this post, and much search out more cookbooks. I learn so much from your posts! The comments are great, too. What a group of wonderful people you've 'collected.'

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post Janet. We really do "hang out" with an extraordinary group of people!

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  16. i find myself extremely fascinated by jewish culture and traditions. great post, louise--i could go for some of that honey cake right now.

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    1. There are so many cultures and traditions I wish I knew more about, Grace. That Honey Cake is calling my name too!

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  17. Louise I am quite unfamiliar with Hebrew kitchen. I know we share many ingredients in common since we live in the same area, but other than that I know only a couple of dishes from that kitchen. Thank you for all this valuable information you shared with us!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, Katerina. Little by little we will learn together:)

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  18. Thank you for sharing another fabulous recipe and wonderful information :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Thank YOU Uru for stopping by for a bite:)

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  19. How fascinating! I know nothing about Jewish cooking, although I could do without the herring.

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    1. I don't know enough either Pattie. That's where the cookbooks come in!

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  20. Wouldn't it be fun to make Mead at home? However, I'm probably much more likely to bake a honey cake!

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    1. I would LOVE to try making Mead T.W. However, I know that isn't happening anytime soon, lol...Honey Cake? Maybe!

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  21. Love this post, so very interesting, I have never had or cooked Jewish food, except for their bakeries but have heard so much of the lovely food they prepare...and that book, OMG Louise never let it go :-)

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    1. I'm afraid I don't know too much about Jewish food either, Suchismita. We'll all learn together, slowly:)

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  22. hi louise, i'm not familiar with jewish food and cooking, the only thing i know is the challah bread which i made them quite some time back and read a little about Rosh Hashanah during that time. Now i know a little bit more, the honey cake and the kissel :)

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    1. I LOVE Challah bread, Lena. I don't know much more either except for perhaps a nice Lox and Bagel Sandwich. Oh Yum!

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  23. Louise, you must have walls of cookbooks! You come up with such unique books and recipes. Very impressive.

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  24. Hi Louise,

    Have you cooked anything for Jewish celebration before? I'm still new to Jewish culture and their traditional food. Sadly, I have only baked Challah so far :p

    Thanks for posting all these interesting recipes. I reckon that I have so much to learn from blogging and also you :D

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe,

      I have never cooked for the Jewish celebration, Zoe. I have made a few pots of Matzoh Ball Soup in my day but unfortunately, that's about it. I do enjoy Challah too!

      We all learn from each other Zoe. That's what so wonderful about blogging. You have a delicious blog that I really enjoy visiting:)

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  25. Thank you for your lovely message on my blog and kind words. I hope you are feeling better now and that you day will be enjoyable.

    Cheers,

    Rosa xo

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    1. Thank YOU, Rosa. It's been a tough week but things are slowly mending themselves. Your image for Black & White Wednesday was instrumental to my sanity this week. Thank you:)

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  26. Hi Louise,
    Interesting, especially the Picasso Party Mix, and the advise at the bottom, to be generous with the drinks! haha! Instructions came well prepared!
    I'm not at all familiar with Jewish foods and traditions, but when I started to blog, I got to know more from friends all around the globe. That's the beauty of sharing!
    Thank you for sharing these interesting post.
    Hope you have a great weekend ahead!

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  27. Hi Louise, excellent posting. Something new to me but very interesting recipes. Thank you for taking your time and effort to share with us. Love the last picture, look so cute.

    Have a nice day.

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  28. I have been heavily exposed to Jewish food...and to be honest I do not care much for it...I just acquired the taste for a few items...
    The Picasso party mix sounds tasty...I could see myself munching on this.
    Have a great weekend Louise :D

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  29. Have you gone to the sea-side??

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  30. My grandparents were Jewish (they died before I was born) but my mother cooked a lot of Jewish food for my father. She has a large cookbook collection, I will have to see if she has any of these. I know I am sooo making that honey cake!!! Clarice

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  31. Hi Louise , just dropped in to say hello and to have a wonderful weekend my friend :).

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  32. This is certainly cool, Louise! I've never peek into a Jewish cookbook before. What a delightful read!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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