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(JUDAICA.) Levy, Esther. Jewish Cookery Book. 200 pages plus 10 pages of ads for Philadelphia businesses at end. Small 8vo, publisher's cloth, worn and lacking backstrip; hinges split, minor wear to contents; early owner's inscriptions on front pastedown. In English, with additional title and a few other words in Hebrew. Philadelphia, 1871
first edition of the first jewish cookbook published in the united states. The introductory sections provide an overview of kosher dining, household economy, and table-setting. Later sections include household tips ("to cement broken china," "to revive the color of black silk"), lists of seasonable foods by month, and a two-page summary of the Jewish calendar. A longer section titled "Hints for Housekeepers" suggests a weekly routine in detail. Most of the book consists of recipes, as expected, including some classics from Jewish cuisine. Macaroons, matzo cleis soup, German kouglauff (kugel), grimslechs (chremslachs), and "potato souffle, for Passover." Some recipes have apparently been adapted from American neighbors, such as macaroni, hominy fritters, and "ochre soup, or gumbo," which is reported to be "much used in the South." Throughout, Levy's recipes are more impressionistic than scientific (pepper pot soup: "in a pint and a half of water, put such vegetables as you wish . . . cut them very small and stew them with a couple of pounds of mutton and a piece of nice beef"), and the requirements of kashrut are strongly emphasized.
While Levy's work did not have a second edition in its time, it has been frequently reprinted in recent years, and some of the recipes have found their way into modern cookbooks. Bitting, Gastronomic Bibliography page 286; Brown, Culinary Americana 3992. Only one copy listed in OCLC.
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