Although I have been able to re-create some of my mother’s recipes, recently it occurred to me that there are many more that I won’t ever be able to replicate. Never having owned a cookbook, my mother cooked and baked by taste and by feel. Here is a list of things she prepared that I wish I had paid attention to: raspberry cordial, butter cookies (that were hard as rocks but perfect for dipping into a cup of hot coffee), a yeast based cake that she called a pitah (butter) babka, potato dumplings made with raw grated potatoes squeezed dry in a dish towel and boiled, and all of those delicious homemade noodles of every size and shape.
Mollie, my girlfriend’s mother, recently commented on a post, “I wish I had the recipes for all the wonderful foods my Mom made, she never wrote anything down and I married young and was not interested at that time of cooking Jewish foods -my very bad.” So, here is my suggestion to each of you. Call your mom or your grandmother, ask her for your favorite recipes (don’t forget to get the stories behind them) and write them down. To the grandmas, bubbies, nanas, savtas and savties, why not do the same. And if anyone has a recipe for raspberry cordial, please share!
Bean and Barley Soup
1 large brown onion, diced
2 stalks celery including leaves, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Bay leaves
8 cups beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup assorted beans, soaked overnight and drained
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion in olive oil till soft. Add garlic, celery (including leaves) and parsley, sautéing for several minutes after adding each ingredient. Add stock, beans and barley and two bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover. After two hours of cooking, season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaves. Check to see if beans are tender before serving. Soup should be thick and peppery!
October 8, 2010 at 7:32 AM
I made a version of my mom’s soup yesterday. She always started with the bones of a whole turkey. I added lentils, leeks, parsnip, and cauliflower. I blended so that my kids would no realize there were veggies in the soup.
Best regards, Estelle
October 7, 2010 at 11:01 PM
You’re so right about getting the recipes. I have a notebook where I’ve entered my mother’s recipes for chicken soup, beet borscht, noodle kugel (Tarheel version with dark corn syrup), and a Kosher modification of her famous fried chicken. I have refused to record the gefilte fish recipe, however!
We’re gearing up to try your ptcha recipe in a few weeks…
October 8, 2010 at 7:23 AM
You need to share her kosher fried chicken recipe!!! I have Southerners joining the family.
Not sure how your family will react to p’tcha but so nice that you are making. I think it is an aquired taste.
October 7, 2010 at 9:58 PM
Such a nice story and all the memories of food you have with your mother. I am so glad that you are writing on your recipes here so that David and I will have them in the future.
October 8, 2010 at 7:27 AM
Thank you! That’s one of my big motivations for this blog, I wanted to share stories and make sure the recipes are preserved. I know that you and David will have so much fun cooking together. I can’t wait to be invited over!
All my love,