The Jewish Festival Cookbook by Fannie Engle and Gertrude Blair

The Jewish Festival Cookbook by Fannie Engle and Gertrude Blair

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How this book began:

It began one day when my mother was making Chanukah latkes. I had to stand on tiptoe to see the latkes frying in the oil. What magic to see the batter turn to round, golden-brown pancakes! Could I do it? Could I turn them? I begged my mother and she let me. The wonderment of it still lives.

It began at another time when I had to write a story as a child. I wrote about how I loved the Sabbath and our holidays and how sad I was when they were over.

The book began when I went to college and studied home economics. Now is the time, I thought, to set down my mother’s recipes and my aunt’s and some of our neighbors’. My five sisters all wanted copies so that they could really prepare the dishes as Mother made them.

The book became a reality when Gertrude Blair said, “Fannie, why don’t you do a Jewish Festival Cookbook? You know, of course, how much the traditional dishes are in demand around the holidays.” And I said, “Why don’t we do it together?”

What we have tried to do:

In this book we have assembled traditional dishes for the important festival seasons of the year. We have included also a brief word on the history and significance of each festival so that the colorful customs and traditions that have grown up over the years can be seen as a meaningful part of each holiday.

Although the book includes recipes from many parts of the world, showing the international character of Jewish dishes, it is not written as a history of Jewish cooking. It is designed to place emphasis on the particular dishes that have a background in the rich customs, legends, and symbols connected with Jewish life. Throughout the book these dishes are placed in their holiday pattern. It is truly a guide in preparing and serving the symbolic and traditional special foods and meals eaten during festival times.

We have intentionally taken the Orthodox Jewish observance as our standard, but it is hoped that this book will also be used by Reform and Conservative groups, by non-Jews, by schools, by cooks everywhere.