Our Memoir Cookbook: Sample Submissions A recipe with a story...just a few lines of background: Viennese Plum Cake Wendy Horwitz My mother served this Erev Rosh Hashanah. My memories of fall and the Jewish New Year are laced with the smell of plums and cinnamon baking. (Followed by the recipe.) A more detailed story, with its recipe: Patrilineal Descent Compote Karen L. Smith My dad passed a lot of his Jewish values, perspectives (and even some Jewish rituals) to my sister and me. But the tastes and smells of our home came from my mom. Jewish flavors and aromas are quite distinct, whether Ashkenazi or Sephardi. Some I came to love and appreciate in my adult life, and others my palate never embraced. Like prunes. But since no human body can survive Passover without some dried fruit, I made one to my taste. I am afraid it is on the tacky side, with a level of sweetness only someone raised by a mom from the backwoods of Alabama could concoct. Enjoy. 2 cups dried apples ½ cup dried apricots ½ cup dried peaches ½ cup dried cherries ½ cup dried blueberries Obviously, you don’t need to stay with these particular dried fruits, but they are my favorites. Cut them up into half inch pieces. Put them in a heavy sauce pan and cover them in water. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer for a good hour, checking every once in a while to stir and add water when it gets to low. In the end in should be a saucy, syrupy bowl of sweet deliciousness. Serve over ice cream or on your favorite flourless almond tart. Makes 8 servings A short memoir, without a recipe: Only Before Pesach Natalie Gorvine When someone asks me for a recipe, I often think of the favorite story my mother (z"l) would tell about asking for a recipe from my paternal grandmother (z"l). It seemed that during the first few years of their marriage, as Pesach (Passover) was approaching, my father (z"l) -- who ate heartily but too quickly, who rarely made requests for special foods, and who tended to eat without complaint whatever my mother prepared -- would ask her if she knew how to make "black liver." This was something that he insisted his mother used to make every year, but only once a year, and always shortly before Pesach. Apparently, at first my mother merely said that she had never heard of black liver and therefore did not know how to make it. She shrugged off the question, speculating that perhaps regional differences might explain this lack of knowledge on her part. After all, her parents had come from the Ukraine, and her husband's family was from Poland. She herself was born and raised in South Jersey, while my father had grown up in North Jersey; he even had something of a New York area accent. For example, throughout his adult life he always pronounced his favorite flavor of ice cream (chocolate) as if the first syllable were written "chawc." Eventually, though, with a bit of urging from my father, my mother decided to ask my grandmother about the pre-Pesach delicacy that was so important to him. Grandma laughingly revealed that in the midst of the intense busyness of preparing for Pesach, the easiest way to feed her hungry brood was to broil some liver, but invariably she would turn back to shifting dishes or scrubbing cabinets, and the dinner would be burnt by the time she managed to serve it. Well, despite the fact that she now knew how to do it, my mother never actually tried to reproduce her mother-in-law's secret non-recipe. After that, although rationally my father accepted the explanation, he continued to be nostalgic for his mother's unique culinary talents. As my parents endured until their mid eighties, not a Pesach occurred when he would not wonder aloud about black liver, and we would all share a chuckle. My family never realized that my dad and my grandmother were simply ahead of their time. Except for any scattered Jewish counterparts in the Mississippi Delta or the Caribbean, I doubt that many other Jews of the first half of the 20th century were aware of the potential popularity of combining Cajun and "traditional Jewish" cooking. If only Grandma had thought to add a few spices.... A longer memoir, with an informal recipe at the end: The Last Chocolate Cake Eileen Levinson My mother, Geraldine, said to me on the phone one Sunday, "It was my last chocolate cake." The family had met at my brother Don's house to celebrate the third birthday of Zevdah, my niece Tamar's youngest child. "They loved the cake," said my 96-yea

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