People often call community cookbooks simply “Church” cookbooks but as I have pointed out in the past, fundraising cookbooks encompass much more than just your neighborhood church. Since two Jewish holidays have just recently passed, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I thought I’d share two Jewish community cookbooks today. I just happened to pick up both of these at the last twenty-five cent sale.
THE LOOK! I CAN COOK BOOK was put together by the Sisterhood of Temple Beth Sholom in Hull, MA and lists the publish date as 1979-80. It was printed by a commercial cookbook publisher but there is one irritating weakness: there is no index or table of contents. This is a substantial cookbook, 300+ pages … so good luck finding anything without the index. The front of the book is also overburdened with those helpful hints the commercial cookbooks often have. I don’t mind a few of those, but they have pages and pages of these things you have to flip through before you get to the first section of recipes. I have always assumed these things are stock add-ins you can purchase when you order — they must have said, “we’ll take them all!” I think organizations usually get a few of these things, weights and measures and such, to boost the page count when they are low on submissions. At they managed to add a few personal touches, like a special section with Hebrew prayers.
As one would expect with a Jewish cookbook there are quite a number of Passover and other special recipes. I found a few to share but chose a couple of the off-beat recipes from the passover section: vegetarian chopped liver and another for vegetarian lentil casserole.
They also had an interesting “intoxicated” barbeque sauce and a stereotypical “Foo Yung” recipe … there are a number of Chinese food variations in this book, not unlike other Jewish cookbooks I’ve seen. Somewhere I have an entire Chinese cookbook put together by a Synagogue in NYC.
POT OF GOLD is the work of the Sisterhood of the Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac MD in 1976. Although I usually love original artwork on these cookbooks, I have to say that the subject in the front cover drawing is worthy of almost any zombie movie. Another irony is the candle on the cover … someone obviously took this to heart because the cover is stained by a fair amount of candle wax. I never mind stains too much, as that is a good indication that the book was actually used.
This cookbook was locally printed and unlike the other one it has a a good table of contents and a very good index. There are some personal stories included and like the other one quite a few Jewish specialties.
Granted, neither cookbook is spectacular, but both have a good mix of common recipes along with cultural specialties. Just your buck basic Church, er, uh, Synagogue Cookbooks.
Shalom, Y’all (It’s both hello and goodbye)