Food: Food Writing
The first Jewish women, like the first Jewish men, arrived in Australia on the very first day of European settlement in 1788. Those convict pioneers were followed by free settlers who made Jewish communal and congregational life viable and helped to develop the vast continent. Jewish women have made significant contributions to Australia's national story.
American Jewish cookbooks capture the range of Jewish religious and cultural expression in the United States. Women took advantage of the versatility and variety of cookbooks to add their voices to the growing and developing Jewish culture in the United States.
Food and foodways are a critically important area of documenting and deciphering the evolving experience of American Jewish women from the earliest days of immigration to the present. Food is a lens into American Jewish women’s worlds of family, religion, identity, work, political action, entrepreneurship, and more as they have encountered the forces of assimilation, anti-Semitism, systemic racism, sexism, changing consumer economies, and the long women’s movement.
Lizzie Black Kander was a Jewish philanthropist who turned the recipe book she made for a cooking class for new immigrants into a two-million-copy bestseller. Her decades of service in the early twentieth century had an unforgettable impact on the Milwaukee Jewish community.
Often referred to as the “First Lady of Anglo Jewry,” Judith Montefiore embodied all the Victorian virtues of high moral purpose, sense of duty, charity, and public-mindedness and was also 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.
Food writer and cookbook author Claudia Roden single-handedly opened up the world of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish foods to chefs, food critics and home cooks across the globe providing a new portal into understanding and experiencing Jewish food and culture.
Sephardic food tells the story of the Iberian Jewish community from its roots in ancient Spain and Portugal through the community’s expulsion in 1492 and subsequent global diaspora. Sephardic women acted as the main interpreters and preservers of the community’s culinary repertoire.
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.