I have to confess that while I love to collect cookbooks, I don’t really read them. I prefer to browse through the pictures, take a mental note of the good-looking recipes, and return them to the bookshelf amid my growing collection. Rarely do I come upon a cookbook that I want to read front to back. Where the food photography doesn’t matter, and the story is what grabs me.
I read Food, Family and Tradition cover to cover. The new book by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro celebrates the resilience and courage of holocaust survivors through food and stories. As the daughter of holocaust survivors, Lynn sought to bring to light the beauty and richness of traditional Jewish life in Czechoslovakia and Hungary before the Holocaust. In the preface to the recipe portion of the cookbook, she paints a vivid picture of her parents’ family life in Eastern Europe. With period photographs, biographies, a family tree and original vignettes, Lynn draws you in to her family history and story of survival. She details their emigration from Europe to the U.S. and how they went on to weave new family traditions while founding Hungarian Kosher Foods, the first all-kosher supermarket in the midwest.
In the second part of the cookbook, Lynn shares 150 family recipes, many of which were prepared for sale in the family’s supermarket. Many of the dishes are highlighted by family stories and remembrances.
There’s nothing fresh and modern about the recipes in Food, Family and Tradition. On the contrary, the book seeks to keep century-old traditions alive through sharing family recipes that celebrate the spirit of Eastern European culture. Some of the heimishe recipes you’ll find include chopped herring, mandel bread, rakott krumpli (potato-egg casserole), blintzes, gefilte fish, brisket, schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, tzimmes, honey cake and so much more.
Growing up in an ashkenazi family with Eastern European roots, so many of the Hungarian dishes in Food, Family and Tradition hit close to home. My bubby would prepare many of the above-mentioned recipes as well as borscht, cheese kugel, chop suey, chicken paprikas, stuffed peppers, sweet and sour tongue, cabbage and noodles and others. Since my bubby is not the measuring type, it’s nice to be able to see these recipes written out in a clear and concise manner. Some of the recipes are accompanied by photos, but most of them are not. I usually find that bothersome, but in this book, it seems to make no difference. Maybe it’s because it’s the story that matters, or because I recognize so many of the dishes from my upbringing, that I don’t need to see them to know what they look like.
All in all, Food, Family and Tradition is about more than just family recipes. It’s about continuing the legacy of Jewish life before the holocaust through food and culture.
I’m giving away a free copy of the Food, Family and Tradition cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below about a traditional family dish that means a lot to you. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 10th, 2014.
Esrog Preserves and Candy
Parve, Makes 1 cup
Reprinted with permission from Food, Family and Tradition by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro
The esrog, a beautifully aromatic citrus fruit, is grown primarily in Israel for use on the Jewish holiday of Succos, the holiday of the harvest, taking place in the fall. After Succos the question always arises: what to do with the esrog? Many people stud it all over with whole cloves to use it for Besamim, the blessing on spices during Havdalah at the end of Shabbos. The esrog fruit, a variety of citron, is yellow, small to medium in size, ellipsoid or lemon shaped, with a long neck, and a rough and bumpy surface. Unlike a lemon, an esrog is quite seedy, not juicy, and inedible when raw. However, cooking transforms it into wonderful preserves, candy or compote.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
For the candy:
Slice the esrog thinly and place in bowl covered with water. Cover and set aside for 1
day. The next day drain the water, and refill, cover and repeat soaking and draining for a total of 7 days. On the final day drain the esrog.
Seed the esrog, reserving seeds. Tie the seeds in cheesecloth.
In a 2-quart pot, add the esrog and the cheesecloth-wrapped seeds, the sugar and water. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Decrease heat and simmer, covered, stirring for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the esrog is cooked through. The consistency should be very thick and syrupy so, if needed, cook uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Remove the esrog slice by slice with tongs and transfer to a platter. Pour the cooking syrup over the esrog slices. Let cool. When the slices are hardened and somewhat dry, transfer to an airtight container. It is similar to candied orange peel.
For the preserves:
Cut the esrog into small pieces before cooking. Follow recipe directions. Immediately after cooking transfer esrog with syrup to a jar, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.
Rakott Krumpli, Potato-Egg Casserole
Makes 1 8×8” casserole, 8 main dish servings
Reprinted with permission from Food, Family and Tradition by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro
This potato casserole is traditionally Hungarian, and the non-kosher version is made with both sour cream and sausage. The sauteed onions add a rich, moist flavor. Rakott Krumpli was traditionally served as a main course at the main meal of the day. Today you can serve it for breakfast, brunch or a light meal. Add a salad and you have a complete meal. Use russet potatoes, not red or waxy potatoes.
Water as needed with 2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ pounds peel-on russet potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cups sour cream
½ cup cream or half-and-half
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
4 tablespoons butter melted
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
salt, as needed
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika, plus as needed for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley, as needed, for garnish
Fill a 6-quart pot halfway with water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add whole potatoes. Add water as necessary to cover completely. Bring to a boil. Decrease heat to medium and cook, with lid ajar, until the potatoes are just cooked, but not overcooked, about 20 to 30 minutes. Test with a fork for doneness. Gently remove the potatoes and rinse in cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes, the skins slip off easily. Slice the potatoes into ¼” thick rounds.
Meanwhile in a large saute pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and saute until golden, stirring, about 15 minutes. Reserve.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream and the half and half until smooth and creamy. Reserve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8×8” or 2 quart casserole with butter. Place half the potatoes on the bottom. Layer half the onions. Next layer half the eggs and half the melted butter. Sprinkle with half the pepper, salt and paprika. Pour half of the sour cream mixture on top.
Repeat the layers, ending with the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle the top lightly with additional paprika. Bake, covered with aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, until casserole is golden and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Cut 2×4 for 8 servings.
Before baking and topping with last half of the paprika, you can mix ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter, sprinkle on top, add paprika and bake. Do not garnish with parsley.
A modern variation is to top the casserole with 2-4 oz.. shredded cheddar cheese. Then sprinkle top with paprika and bake.
90 thoughts on “Food, Family and Tradition Review & Giveaway”
I just love my Grandmother/Mother’s Stuffed breast of veal with a pocket. They used to make the dish together as a team for my pesach seder my mother would make all the stuffing and gravy and my grandmother was a seamstress and would sew it up for her perfectly. My mother still continues to make it for my seder every year, its absolutely incredible but not the same without my grandmother. I follow you on FB and instagram! Really enjoying your Blog!!
I love that!
My mother’s potato latkes. Always a hit!
I make my Mother’s chicken soup, who made her Mother’s chicken soup, and my daughter makes my chicken soup. So the same delicious soup and erev shabbos smell has permeated our homes for 4 generations.
fried cheese balls
Hi Dassy, what are fried cheese balls? They sound delicious!
My girlfriend and I have been rediscovering our Jewish roots – it may come as no surprise that it actually started through food. The challah recipe changes every week, but the technique is what she remembers most from growing up. That and her great-grandmothers Hungarian Goulash, but that’s only for special occasions. :) Following you on FB!
That is awesome! You must check out The Nosher. Shannon Sarna makes all these incredible challah flavors. She posts lots of her recipes there! http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/food/
I remember fondly making rolled cabbage, “gevigel dekraut”, and vegetable soup with my mother – they were her mother’s recipes. The stories she would tell about her! I have continued to make the recipes and shared the memories with my daughter and granddaughter. I follow you on instagram and facebook.
Definitely Rakott Krumpli!!
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chicken soup with knaidlach is a big favorite, and also applesause in the fall with apples from the farmers market. yum.
I follow you on facebook
I always remember by grandmothers banana cake and chocolate cake with such find memories. Every family used to get a block of the cakes which are delicious.
My mother’s family is also Hungarian. Mom makes a number of my grandmother’s dishes, including oogakashalata (cucumber salad). It’s as much fun to say as to eat! (Also, I follow you on facebook.)
every year for sukkos i made morroccan meat cigars.as my children got older they helped roll them . one year i was pregnant and not feeling up to it so my daughter got permission from her principal to stay home from school to help me roll them !
i follow you on facebook and instagram
I get our posts by e-mail, and now I follow you on pinterest. I also love to read cookbooks. My family thinks I’m addicted!
As a side dish, my mother used to make baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar, whole cranberry sauce, etc. I always looked forward to it at Rosh Hashanah and Pesach.
I still love it and it brings back such wonderful memories of sharing the meals with my immediate family along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Thank you for this opportunity.
SORRY, I FORGOT to include the fact that i follow on Facebook. I had initially misunderstood the directions as to where to post this.
This is an awesome giveaway. The dish that means a lot to me is Pot-Chicken, like a Pot Roast but with a chicken. My grandmother made it all the time when I was little. I miss it so much, because nobody makes it lake she did.
I love your website and I also follow on Facebook.
I love your website and I also follow on Twitter.
I love your website and I also follow on Instagram.
I love your website and I also follow on Pinterest.
Rukkod krumpli! My mother always makes it and it’s still a favorite in my home too! I also love kindel although I never made it myself…. I follow you on facebook!
My mom made a pastry called yagida kichel which was made with blueberry and yeast dough. I do not have the recipe but wish I did. She made it every Shavout. They were delicious especially straight out of the oven.
Sounds delicious! Time to research!
I have fond memories of my grandmother’s potato latkes. She used to shred the potatoes in advance, and keep them in the refrigerator overnight, so the latkes were always greenish. I didn’t figure out why until I got older and did the same thing. And I follow you on facebook.
I love making my grandmother’s homemade meaty spaghetti sauce…delicious!
I follow you on twitter @sockmonkeydiva
I always make my grandmothers gefilta fish. There’s nothing like it. I follow you on pinterest and fb.
My families tamale recipe Yumm
Would love to win a new cookbook; thanks for the review.
This book sounds like my family background. Chech-Hungarian (depending on the border). Rakott-Crumply I know well…a great Shavuot and break-the-fast dish.Just had it for Sukkot for a Milchig meal.There are so many more favorites from chicken soup (with dill) to apple strudel for dessert. I follow you on facebook and email.
My favorite winter dish is my Mom’s cabbage soup with flanken. So glad I wrote down the recipe so that I can still make it for me and my Dad.
It’s one of my favorites too!
Love to win cookbook and explore recipes of the past
Probably my Dad’s Matzoh Brei. It’s the only thing he cooked and it was always sweet. When I was in college we had a huge argument about the different ways it was made and I was shocked. I miss my dad and when I make Matzoh Brei I think of him.
Oops. I follow via email.
I did not grow up with a grandmother. I made sure my kids spent time with my mother. My mom is a great baker,and my children, now grown up, will always remember the time they spent baking with her in her kitchen. My son’s favorite cake is her black forest and he still requests it for his birthdays.
my moms kugel!
My favorite family tradition food is my grandma’s pumpkin roll. She knows how to bake well, and that roll is simply amazing!
I follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cor2145/
rakkot crumply is a huge one for me! we love our hungarian dishes!!
I like your page on facebook
Im following on instagram too
And on pinterest :)
I love traditional Jewish food! This book looks amazing, and its recipes would definitely impress my Ashkenazi friends!
What a lovely review! Brought back memories of my grandma too, who made so many special dishes, but my favorite has to be stuffed grape leaves, which later transformed into stuffed cabbage.
I’m of Hungarian heritage, and have probably eaten chicken paprikas once a week my entire life, and it never, ever gets old.
All hail káposztás tészta!
I follow through blogger.
Our tried and true family recipe is Chopped Liver. When my son was only 6 months old, he “helped” my mom make some for the holidays….May all family traditions keep on, for many generations!!!!!
One of the recipes that deeply connects me to my maternal Grandmother, Selma z’l, is her Blintz Souffle. She served it several times through out the year but most notably on Shavuot and for break the fast.
I can see Grandma in her “full” (as opposed to “half”) apron over a dress; she did not wear “slacks” until I was older. She often had more than one dish going at a time.
For the Blintz Souffle, butter or margarine is melted in a Pyrex dish in the oven; blintzes are placed seam down in the dish. A creamy and bright tasting mixture of sour cream, eggs and orange juice gets whipped together and poured over the top.
As the casserole bakes, the sour cream mixture puffs up and rises like a souffle. She served it with a sauce made from sweetened frozen strawberries mashed into sour cream.
As the oldest grand child, I had my Grandma all to myself for several years. I was blessed to be able to stand on a chair next to her at the counter top to watch her measure, mix, our, slice and dice.
After she passed, one of my cousins and I took all of the 3 x 5 recipe cards Grandma had in a tin box, self-publishing the recipes in a spiral bound book for family and friends, “From the Kitchen of Selma Hauptman.” I refer to it almost every day and each recipe I prepare brings many, many warm and loving memories.
Wow Pamela, that is so special! And her blintz souffle sounds incredible!
I am also child of Hungarian survivors and my mother did not write down all these recipes and would love to see them
My grandma’s sweetbreads
Food is what evokes earliest memories for us,, the smells, sights and sounds of our Bubbe’s kitchen. It’s the sweetness of life on your tongue, in your mouth and in your mind. We keep traditions and customs alive via the foods of our memories and youth. kasha varnishkes and apple strudel,.. while these may not win a “Blue Ribbon” at the 4H contest, they surely will the prize for bringing a smile to my lips.
stuffed cabbages remind me of my Grandmother a’h.
My great grandmother’s super moist chocolate cake (made with mayonnaise) is still an all time favorite! Another grandmother still prepares stuffed cabbage for all the kids and grandkids each simchas torah, we can’t get enough of it!
P’tcha was a favorite for us. That and some of the amazing baked goods. Hamantashen that were all perfect and rugelach that were almost cookie cutter
I follow you on pintrest. We have many traditional dishes that my family enjoys regularly, such as, chicken soup with matza balls and gefilte fish. We also love krepluck and babke. And of course, challah! We also enjoy kugels and kishke and blintzes. The list goes on and on…
Gruenkern Zuppe with Rauchfleisch, that is a real Ouneg Shabbos!
I have so many memories associated withwith Bubbie’s Mandelbroit. I would love to win this cookbook!
thank you for these yummy recipes always lkg for what to do with the esrog.
I love the idea of this book, it’s nice to have traditional recipes like grandma used to make. My grandmother never measure either.
i follow you on Facebook
I love blintzes
Cheese blintzes!! I follow on facebook. I love reading cookbooks cover to cover.
chicken soup! my father’s specialty :)
My grandmother’s honey cake is a special family tradition. It is being passed from one generation to the next and all of my sisters and I know that this is what means Rosh Hashana is around the corner. This recipe is better than any other honey cake that we and any of our guests have had – and we gladly boast that it’s OUR Grandma’s
My grandmothers potato kugel. I follow you on Facebook :)
my favorite dish is the stuffed cabbage that my bubbie A”H used to make. You could actually taste the love she poured into it after so many years of suffering she and my grandfather withstood during the holocaust. Even though she is not around today, all the girls in the family make her famous stuffed cabbage before Pesach. Best. Dish. Ever.
We make a cookie recipe called family cookies. My mom found it years ago in ago newspaper. It’s a tradition in our family. I entered it in a contest once and it won, it’s that good!
My mother’s chicken soup….
I bake challah with my mother’s challah recipe weekly.Delicious!
my mother’s family is from Iraq and so we have this great soup called shorba,a tomato soup with rice,potato and carrots…etc
I also follow you on instagram and facebook.
Facebook and instagram
Following your blog and on instagram. Would love to win. Thanks
My grandmothers marble bundt cake.
Fresh chicken soup, and crispy latkes that’s my all time favorite comfort food! I love your blog and amazing recipes, you have really cool ideas and flavor mix! I love to try EVERYTHING you post and I’m never disappointed! Thank you! Ps. I follow you on instagram, Facebook, and pinterest
I always say I want to make rakott krumpli. One day. I too love cookbooks not to use, but to get inspired from.
I so want to make my mommys and grandmas chicken fricasee but i cant remember how. I would very much appreciate a recipe. Thankyou so much
I actually have never made it, but you can try this recipe: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/863578/jewish/Chicken-Fricassee.htm
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, NY, there was a bakery called Finest. It was owned by a Hungarian Jewish family. They baked the best mandel brot. It contained chocolate and fruit and was soft. I would love a recipe as this bakery went out of business years ago.
Hi Julia! I still get soft mandelbrot like that in Brooklyn but I’ve never seen it with fruit. I’m sorry I don’t have a recipe.
My father Yitzhak Irving Hauptman made his mother’s stuffed cabbage with that sweet brown sauce that there was never enough of at the bottom of the pan. He served it with this glorious smile and always a history of his mother in Budapest. The story of how his father saw her carrying an entire log down the hillside and a week later went to the house to ask for her hand in marriage!
What an amazing story!
My mother made a soup which she called “croit mit bundlach” in Yiddish.Main ingredients were red kidney beans, sauerkraut and cream. I would love to have the recipe.
I’ve never head of it, sounds really interesting!