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Cookbook

From Spy to Spatula to the Small Screen

When I was in third grade, I had to choose a famous role model to research and present to my class. Naturally, I chose Julia Child – not because I was an aspiring chef or because I wanted an excuse to buy a red wig – but because I left the theater after seeing “Julie & Julia” (2009) absolutely fascinated by her legacy; both inside the kitchen, and beyond its walls. A female public figure with a personality as strong as hers was rare during the 1950s, and her role as a volunteer spy during World War II taught me that no one is just one thing. Even though history often highlights people solely for what they were most famous for, it’s important to look beyond that and explore their multiplicity of talents and contributions to society. 

Gwyneth Paltrow

Known best for her Oscar-winning performance in the romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow has repeatedly sought out difficult roles playing unconventional women, including playing Sylvia Plath in 2003.

Deb Perelman

Resisting trends towards fussy recipes with complicated instructions and esoteric ingredients, Deb Perelman focused her Smitten Kitchen food blog on “foolproof” recipes that incorporated feedback from online commenters.

Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan is the author of numerous cookbooks, each of which focuses on an aspect of Jewish life and culture. What makes her books unique is that each recipe comes with a story, enabling the reader to learn about much more than how to prepare a dish, but where the dish originated, how Jewish migration and living in different lands have changed the dish, and its meaning to the family from which it came. Thus, Joan is not only a cookbook author, but a cultural historian and food writer as well. Her books educate about Jewish life, tradition, and Jewish history.

A place at Emily's Table

Of all the things I’ve come to regret in life (most of which involve something I should/could/would have said, or the length of my hair before I turned 30), the most significant is not spending more time cooking with my beloved aunt, Emily Mehlman, before she passed away in 2006.  

Claudia Roden

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.

Cookbooks in the United States

When you are searching for instructions on how to prepare the perfect pickled tongue, for hints on setting a festive [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:395]Shabbat[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] table, or a refresher course in the laws and lore of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:377]Passover[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], 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.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Cookbook." (Viewed on September 23, 2018) <https://jwa.org/tags/cookbook>.

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