Jewish, Food, Love: Save Your Family Recipes


BREAKING NEWS! Our idea — “Sweeter Rosh Hashanah Family Fun Kit” — was approved by the #MakeItHappen initiative of the Schusterman Foundation to be featured on their website. Please “like” our idea here. And maybe we’ll get a grant to help bring this great program to you.  

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post:

Hannah, one of our cherished readers, shared that she’d like us to feature more recipes, because she shows her love of family with food.

Cooking for our loved ones nurtures us, nourishes them. I remember seeing this cookbook in my mother’s kitchen: Lizzie Black Kander’s Settlement Cookbook, The Way to a Man’s Heart.”

Lizzie wrote her cookbook in the early 1900s to help immigrants – through recipes, as well as tips on cleanliness, food storage, and general housekeeping.  Thanks to the Jewish Women’s Archive for this a fascinating story about Lizzie’s work

So Hannah, for you and everyone else, I’m going to share some classic Jewish recipes in 2014 – and experiment with them myself, to nurture and nourish my family.

Making a Tzimmes – Update

As promised in late December, I made a classic tzimmes with sweet potatoes, carrots, dried apricots, prunes, and fragrant spices, like cinnamon.  Doesn’t it look lovely and homey? The house smelled heavenly. But it was too sweet for our family. We added some kale the next day and that helped. Had we added meat (as my mother used to), that would have helped, too.

Do you have a favorite tzimmes recipe? Please share.

Tzimmes is perfect for the long, cold winter months. So I’ll try again with a different recipe.

Gather the Matriarchs (and Patriarchs)

Aside from my not-terribly-successful tzimmes, I’m mindful of the passage of time – and that I need to gather and preserve family recipes.

For years, we made my mother-in-law’s Rosh Hashanah sweet jello mold. We stuffed whole pecans into canned, pitted Bing cherries, mixed them with cherry gelatin that was generously “enhanced” with sweet wine.  While we’re not making that recipe now, it brings back memories of that treat and the surprise you got each time you chomped on a cherry.

My Zeideh (grandfather), z’l, was a wonderful cook. He could make the best roast chicken, with potatoes that were browned and crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside.  Somewhere in the attic, I have his homemade gefilte fish recipe.

If, like me, you have memories of specialties from your Mom or Bubbe or Zeideh or mother-in-law – and if you’re lucky enough to still have them in your life – ask them for their recipes. Better yet, take a Sunday afternoon and schedule a kitchen date with your kids.

Ask them how they made potato knishes, raisin-sweetened lokshen (noodle) kugel, and mandel bread.

Cholent. Gribenes. Kishka.

During the year, we’ll explain the origin of these traditional foods that are staples in Jewish memory and literature.

Ess (eat), ess!

What’s your favorite Jewish food memory? And which relative made it for you?

Like us on Facebook


  1. says

    I’m not Jewish, but I do love the idea of a family cookbook! Collecting recipes from our family, cultural, ethnic and religious background is a wonderful idea.
    Stopping by from the GRAND Social link party!

    • Ellen says

      Thanks, Linda! It’s on my list to create a family cookbook.I especially want to find my grandfather’s recipes — he was a wonderful cook — to include. Most of our cherished recipes are on a smattering of pieces of paper and 3 x 5 cards in a plastic bag.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *