Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! It’s been Holocaust Remembrance Week, followed by Remembrance Day which takes place each year on November 11th. It’s truly a special time, a time when we remember those who came before us, a time when we remember those who perished in the Holocaust, especially since so many Holocaust victims have no one to remember them.
I’ve written several Holocaust cookbook articles over the years:
The Holocaust Survivor’s Cookbook:
Miracles & Meals: http://www.cjnews.com/food/cookbook-speaks-volumes-miracles-meals
For this week’s blog, I’ve chosen some special recipes and memories from A Ta’am to Remember: Recipes and Recollections from the Terraces of Baycrest. When you make any of these recipes, please remember someone who perished in the Holocaust. One of the recipes I’ve chosen to include is Shula Robbins’ Poppy Seed Dressing, because the poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day – Lest We Forget.
For information on ordering copies of A Ta’am to Remember (Lorraine & David “Sonny” Langer Edition), please contact Elaine Kaplan at 416-970-4292.
POPPY SEED DRESSING (Pareve)
Shula was born in Poland in 1920. Her parents and 5 brothers, along with 95 other members of her extended family, perished in the Holocaust. Shula and her sister were the only ones who survived because they spent the war years in Palestine. Shula recounted her family’s history in a film for the Shoah Foundation Institute and received a letter from Steven Spielberg thanking her for her contribution. Shula’s testimonial can be seen at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
Shula worked as a professional interpreter for Immigration Canada and the court system. She was also a published author and poet. “My life experiences as a teacher, wife, mother, and grandma hopefully add a rainbow of threads to my writing.” Her short story titled ‘I Know Who I Am’ was published in 1996. Shula subsequently renamed it ‘German Tourist’s Daughter.’ She contributed it to a collection of poetry, short stories and art published in 2001, that was titled ‘Bittersweet Legacy: Creative Responses to the Holocaust.’
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp water
1 clove garlic
1/2–1 tsp salt
- Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, onion, water, garlic and salt in a blender. Mix well.
- Cover and chill before serving
Yield: about 2 cups. Keeps about 10 days in the refrigerator.
- Shula sometimes added 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or mandarin oranges before serving. She liked to serve this dressing over a mixed green salad.
- Store poppy seeds in the freezer so they will stay fresher for longer.
KREPLACH (MEAT DUMPLINGS) (Meat)
Chana survived World War II by fleeing to Siberia from Poland in 1939 with her husband and child. “It was freezing cold. We had nothing — no boots, no warm clothes, no place to stay!” After the war, they returned to Poland very briefly. Chana gave birth to her second child in Germany. The family stayed in a DP camp in Vienna and then settled in Israel for 11 years. Chana’s husband worked in a flour mill and brought home 10 pounds of flour every month. She worked as a baker and cake decorator, charging $1 per cake, even though her customers provided the eggs, flour and sugar. This kreplach recipe comes from Chana’s recipe book from over 45 years ago. “I used to be a balabusta,” she lamented, “but now I am kaput!”
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup ground cooked meat or chicken
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp matzah meal
- Dough: In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks with oil and water until blended. Add to flour mixture and mix together, forming a soft dough. Knead well. Cover and set aside.
- Filling: Fry onion in hot oil in a large skillet on medium heat until golden. Add ground meat and brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add salt, pepper, egg and matzah meal. Mix well.
- On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough 1/8-inch thick. Using a glass, cut dough into 2 1/2–3-inch circles. Place 1 tsp filling in center of each circle.
- Moisten the edges of the dough with water. Fold in half to form a crescent. Pinch the edges together to seal tightly. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Drop kreplach into boiling water. Once they float to the top, reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Serve in soup.
Yield: 24–30 kreplach. Reheats and/or freezes well.
COFFEE CAKE (Pareve)
Mania, a Holocaust survivor, was born in Poland. She remembered her parents as very hospitable people. “Our door was open for visitors and there was always coffee cake and tea. My mother was always in an apron. She prepared her breads and cakes and then took them to the baker so he could bake them in his oven. There were no ovens or refrigerators so everything had to be made fresh.” Mania said her life during the war years in Poland was “indescribably difficult and I was hungry all the time. My entire family was killed, but I see them, talk to them and keep them in my memory — along with this coffee cake, which I used to make often.”
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 apples, peeled, grated and mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
OR 2 Tbsp cocoa mixed with 2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp margarine
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.
- Batter: In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar until light. Add eggs, vanilla and orange juice. Mix well.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
- Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pan.
- Filling: Spread apple or cocoa filling over batter. Pour remaining batter over filling. If using cocoa filling, swirl batter with a knife to create a marbled effect.
- Topping: Combine ingredients. Mix with your fingers to form a crumb-like mixture. If too soft, gradually add a little flour for desired consistency.
- Sprinkle streusel topping over batter.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Yield: 12–15 servings. Freezes well.
TRADITIONAL MANDELBROIT (Pareve)
Sara’s daughter, Masza Szechter-Bay, traces the origin of this cookie recipe to a friendship that was forged during World War II. “My mother, Sara Ajzner de Szechter, was at the lowest point in her life when she met Ada Ziegel. Ada was known by her false identity papers as Ala Tarnovska. Ada was a teenager alone in a terrifying world, working as a Polish slave labourer in a German factory. My mother discovered that Ada was also a secret Jew and they formed a friendship that lasted a lifetime. When my mother was taken away by the Gestapo under suspicion that she was Jewish, she never thought she would see Ada again. They both survived the Shoah and joyously reunited in Hamburg immediately after the war. Ada eventually settled in the USA and my family went to Argentina. They had little opportunity to see each other over the years, but when they did, it was joyous. My mother was with her ‘sister’ and felt young and alive again. Our family got Ada’s recipe at one of those rare reunions. It is our favourite cookie and our friends often plead for me to make them. Every time I do, it takes me back to this story.”
5 oz (150 g) unsalted stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream margarine and sugar together until blended.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Combine flour and baking powder and add to batter to make a soft dough. Stir in almonds and vanilla.
- Divide dough in to 3 log-shaped rolls. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each roll. Flatten tops so rolls are about 1-inch high.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are slightly brown and feel firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees F.
- While still warm, carefully slice rolls into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place cut-side up on baking sheets.
- Bake for 30 minutes until light brown. Turn slices over. Bake for 15 minutes until dry and crisp.
Yield: 4–5 dozen. Freezes well.
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is, “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website www.gourmania.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.