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!