Ancestral cookbook a trove of iconic Jewish recipes

April 2023
Terry Bennett

My husband and I recently ventured into our basement storage room for the first time in 28 years. Among boxes full of memorabilia we found a cookbook published in 1955 by Hadassah’s Nordau chapter, dedicated to the memory of my great grandmother and lifelong Zionist, Rebecca Taylor, mother of Jack and Sam Taylor and Dorothy Shekter. The recipes in this gem of a book, all of which were provided by members of the Nordau chapter (often referred to by their husbands’ names), are a reminder of the mores and eating habits of a generation long ago who regularly used tablespoons of schmaltz (chicken fat) in their cooking. The many recipes containing tablespoons of schmaltz substantiates why our forefathers and mothers suffered from heart disease! 

Enjoy the flavours but beware of the consequences.

This Passover you might be tempted to try this sponge cake recipe submitted by a Mrs. M. Chertkoff.

Passover Sponge Cake

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
juice of ½ lemon and orange (¼ cup)
2/3 cup cake meal (sifted twice)
2 level tbsp potato flour

Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat the sugar into the whites. Beat egg yolks will and add the lemon and orange juice, beat until thick. Fold yolks into whites and gradually add the flour which has been sifted three times. Bake in a low oven half an hour then raise the temperature for another 30 minutes. Invert cake until thoroughly cooled before removing from tin.
Mrs. M. Chertkoff