Born into a rabbinic Sephardic family in Bursa, Turkey, Louise Maimon followed her parents and siblings to Seattle in 1927 after her father was called to serve as a rabbi for Sehpardic Bikur Holim congregation. Married in 1929 to Jack Azose, they raised four sons and one daughter. Long active in Seattle’s Sephardic community, Louise was a living treasure of the traditions, history, recipes, faith, and folksongs of the Sephardic people she loved. Louise’s conversation and memories were filled with Ladino [Judeo-Spanish] words and phrases spoken within Spanish-Sephardic Jewish cultures. Louise passed away in 2005.
There is now a Maimon family website with more information about Louise and her extended family. Please visit www.maimonfamily.net.
“Boreka is-you want to do first the dough. Just take a cup of flour, ¾ cup of oil. Put there, and some salt-not much, very little. Put it together and make a dough, the boreka dough. Make the boreka and leave it aside. Then cut some potatoes and put them, you know, to cook. They’re all soft. Mash them with a spoon. And the cheese is ready, ground already.
“Put it there, mix it again. Then put a little salt, and mix it with a spoon, and make gomo. We call it gomo, the [filling] inside of the boreka. And then borekas, the dough is ready. Then take it in your hand, make a bun. Put it there, and take a-what do you call that?-rolling pin, and open it just like that, this here. Then take a spoon, put some of the potato in your hand, make like that, and put it in the tefsin [baking pan] to bake. Delicious. Honest to God. I used to bake so much, two freezers I have used to be full.”
“My family used to go to kehila [synagogue] first. Coming back, everything was ready. And I used to leave the oven on, to tell you the truth. I wasn’t supposed to. But you know, bulemas, borekas, when could you heat them? So I used to leave the oven very, very low. They used to sit at the table. Everybody was ready. I used to set table, a beautiful table on Shabbat. They used to come from synagogue. They used to sit. Pizmonim first. They used to sing pizmonim. That’s the singing in the book that my son made, pizmonim, beautiful. My father used to love that too. Me and my sister, we used to sit next to him. ‘Hijicas mias, canta’ [My daughters, sing]. ‘Canta, sing a little bit, sing for me, my father.’ And then I did to my kids the same. ”
© 2004 Jewish Women’s Archive. Photographs by Joan Roth.