Introduction

Introduction

By
Gaye Weeden, Hayley Smorgon
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742702865
Photographer
Mark Roper

Claudia Roden in her book The Book of Jewish Food claims ‘Behind every recipe is a story of local traditions and daily life in far-off towns and villages. It is a romantic and nostalgic subject, which has to do with recalling a world that has vanished. It is about ancestral memories and looking back and holding on to old cultures, and it is about identity.’

Cooking from the Heart is the story of exile, migration and resettlement. The Jewish Diaspora in Australia has come from myriad people, from countries around the globe, that for a variety of reasons and circumstances chose to resettle here and make it their home. This book reveals the stories and recipes of twenty-seven Jewish cooks and captures the importance and celebration of food in the Jewish home as a link to their former homelands, their heritage and a way to maintain the togetherness of family.

The Jewish Sabbath, the day of rest in the weekly calendar, as well as the numerous festivals, are accompanied by many rituals and customs centred around food. We have witnessed the subtle variation from country to country, when certain dishes are cooked by a multitude of nationalities. There are differences in symbolic foods such as the European versus the Middle Eastern haroset, brisket, gefilte fish, herring salad and stuffed vegetables, with each recipe having its own particular regional flavour and interpretation.

We feel very honoured to have been invited into the cooks’ homes, who shared their life stories and of course their delicious recipes. Sometimes reluctant in the beginning, the cooks are always welcoming, making sure our stomachs are full by the time we leave. We usually source the cooks through word of mouth; there is always someone who knows someone!

Integral to the style of the book, we photograph all the food in the cooks’ homes, using their own crockery, linen, ornaments and historical documents to create beautiful, personal photographs. The images reveal the character of the cook, their country of origin and their heritage almost as much as the recipes and stories.

The variety of tastes and flavours is truly amazing. From an Indonesian nasi goreng, a Romanian cherry strudel to an Ethiopian lentil dish. It is this diversity that makes each person’s background and recipes unique and special.

This book is an important historical document to record and treasure the tapestry of Jewish lives that have adapted to the Australian way of life, yet maintained an attachment and a link to their past. It is a celebration of cultural diversity within Australia. We are proud to be able to live in this country and to practise our heritage and traditions, and are so happy to be able to share these culinary journeys.

Please be aware the recipes in this book are mainly from home cooks and are often transcribed from memory. Many recipes in the book are part of an oral tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. The book’s function is to serve as a way to preserve the cooks’ heritages by documenting it in a text format.

We have dedicated this book to our grandmother and mother, who were the motivation for the first book, Cooking from Memory. Their passion for family and tradition has infiltrated our lives on so many levels and never ceases to amaze. We thank them for the inspiration. Enjoy this second journey of Jewish food.

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again