Food: Food Writing
When you are searching for instructions on how to prepare the perfect pickled tongue, for hints on setting a festive SabbathShabbat table, or a refresher course in the laws and lore of A seven-day festival to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt (eight days outside Israel) beginning on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Also called the "Festival of Mazzot"; the "Festival of Spring"; Pesah.Passover, American Jewish cookbooks are an invaluable source of information on Jewish life. The first publicly available American Jewish cookbook was published in 1871. Esther Levy’s Jewish Cookery Book on Principles of Economy Adapted for Jewish Housekeepers with Medicinal Recipes and Other Valuable Information Relative to Housekeeping and Domestic Management was an attempt to touch on most aspects of Jewish home life. While few of the hundreds of Jewish cookbooks written since attempt the breadth of this first work, American Jewish cookbooks capture the range of Jewish religious and cultural expression.
No matter who is looking for it, whether on an individual, familial or commercial level, American Jewish women of the twenty-first century have an important role to play in providing the food for, and of, American Jews.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” In 1901, Lizzie Kander and Mrs. Henry Schoenfeld used this adage in the title of a cookbook produced for the benefit of the first settlement house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1984, nearly two million copies of The Settlement Cook Book: The Way to a Man’s Heart had been sold. Its success can be attributed to the determination and ingenuity of a woman known as the “Jane Addams of Milwaukee.”
Many people fail to distinguish the achievements of Lady Judith Montefiore from those of her husband Sir Moses Montefiore (1784–1885), who was probably one of the most important Jews of the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, the life of this “First Lady of Anglo Jewry” is of significance both to Anglo-Jewish history and to the history of Jewish women. While embodying all the Victorian virtues of high moral purpose, sense of duty, charity and public–mindedness, she was a fierce loyalist to her faith and her people, devoted to Jewish causes and the welfare of Jews the world over.
In the face of formidable anti-Semitic opposition, Lina Morgenstern was a highly successful feminist author, educator, and peace activist who was supported by many, including the Prussian Empress Augusta. In 1896 she organized the first International Congress of Women in Germany, which was attended by feminist leaders from all over the world.
Claudia Roden, who grew up in a wealthy home in Egypt where the women never cooked, became a food writer whose books are respected as much for their writing as for their recipes.
Fiction writer Alicia Steimberg (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1933-2012) garnered important literary prizes. Her work as a translator was awarded by the Konex Foundation and she served the government as Director of Books of the Secretariat of Culture.
Alice Babette Toklas, cookbook author and memoirist, is an indelible figure in modern cultural history.