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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Community cookbook hopes to become a culinary legacy

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The Bathurst Street Kitchen Cookbook co-chairs, from left, Brenlee Gales, Karine Krieger, Lissie Sanders, Elisa Morton-Palter and Naomi Oelbaum

Is your bubbie from Brazil? Is your aunt from Iraq? Or maybe your mother is from Morocco?

United Jewish Appeal’s Kitchen Cabinet team wants to hear from you.

UJA Women’s Philanthropy Division hopes to empower Toronto’s diverse Jewish community one recipe at a time in its community-wide recipe search.

Its looking for contributions to its Bathurst Street Kitchen Cookbook, scheduled to be published next January, which it hopes will be a repository of go-to recipes, a modern-day culinary resource of Jewish Toronto’s favourite dishes.

Kitchen Cabinet co-chairs Elisa Morton-Palter and Karine Krieger have gathered a group of volunteers that includes Lissie Sanders, Naomi Oelbaum and Brenlee Gales. Chairs of the recipe review committee are Carolyn Tanner-Cohen and Bonny Reichert. Chair of the recipe hunters and gatherers committee is Daniella Kuhl.

“The Bathurst Street Kitchen aspires to become a culinary legacy by and for Toronto’s Jewish community. This will be a cookbook and resource that is used for cooking and not just for looking,” Morton-Palter said.

The committee has reached out to every segment and ethnicity in the community in every part of the city and offered them the opportunity to participate.

“We have reached out to all of the Jewish communities – Peruvian, Moroccan, Israeli, Indian, Russian, Latin, Ethiopian and Orthodox – in our great city,” said Kuhl.

“This will be the first-ever Toronto Jewish community cookbook,” Morton-Palter said with pride. “The goal of the cookbook is for Jewish Toronto to feel there is a place for them.”

It will include favourite recipes – old and new, healthy and not so healthy – such as the best appetizers, soups, salads, sauces, sides, mains and desserts, from the traditional to the contemporary and everything in between.

Aside from culinary guidance, the cookbook will provide clues about the various sub-communities themselves.

“We have enlisted two women who were former chairs of the Toronto Jewish Archives to help us tell the story of the community through archival photography,” Sanders said.

“There will be a story that goes along the bottom of the cookbook that will show the community by illustrations and will talk about how the community has evolved.”

The committee expects to receive some 1,000 recipes and will include 250 to 300 recipes in the final product.

“We won’t be able to publish every recipe, but we will publish the name of everyone who contributed, whether their recipe was used or not,” Morton-Palter said.

“If we have five chicken soup recipes submitted, we might do a taste test to decide which goes in. We are asking to have a family member or friend taste test the recipe themselves to make sure it comes out as beautifully as when you make it yourself.”

Committee members expect the new cookbook to become a kitchen favourite.

“The best cookbooks are the really stained ones, because those are the ones that have been used and loved the most,” said Sanders.

Adds Oelbaum, jokingly: “We predict this will be your messiest cookbook yet.”

Proceeds from the cookbook will support UJA programs that help women and children. “We would love it for the cookbook to go into the homes of every new immigrant, newly married couples, and to be part of a welcome wagon for UJA Women’s Philanthropy,” said Sanders.

“The more people who contribute, the more successful the cookbook will be. From home cooks and professional chefs to the young and old, whether male or female, all are encouraged to submit their recipes,” Morton-Palter said.

“An online sub-website of UJA Federation [of Greater Toronto] will be added to include the recipes that didn’t make the book, with online suggestions, such as what to serve for your Shabbat dinner,” said Sanders.

Deadline for submissions is April 7.  To contribute your best recipe, visit www.jewishtoronto.com/recipe.

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