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Teen launches cookbook to honour late mother

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People pose for a group photo at a cookbook launch in Toronto on June 19. (Rabbi Tzvi Sytner photo)

Some 150 enthusiastic teenagers and members of the community filled The Village Shul in Toronto on June 19, to support the launch of a new cookbook, DoDo’s Delights: Joanne Godel-Blatt’s Recipes for Cooking and Living with Soul.

Seventeen-year-old Georgia Blatt lost her mother, Joanne (Dodo) Godel-Blatt, to cancer last July. Godel-Blatt was married to Warren Blatt and they had two children, Oliver and Georgia. Writing a cookbook provided Georgia Blatt with a way to navigate the grief caused by losing her beloved mother.

“It was helpful and a distraction from my sadness. Even though sadness was still there, I was channelling it into a positive attitude and positive atmosphere and that really helped me heal and grieve and feel better. It also brought me closer to my mom. I feel like I’m doing something really positive that she would be over the moon about,” said Blatt.

Godel-Blatt believed that nothing nourishes the soul like food that’s prepared with love and care, and enjoyed with good company. It was a belief that she embodied and applied to everything she did in the kitchen, as well as the rest of her life.

READ: PICTURE-PERFECT FOOD!

“My mom was a remarkable woman and we had a very special relationship. She was known by everyone for her amazing cooking skills. She really had a special talent in the kitchen and took pride in cooking for us as a family. Since she did so many wonderful things for my dad, my brother and me, I wanted to do something in her honour, to express my sincere gratitude and love. I wanted to continue her legacy and create a special initiative that will allow me to cherish our memories together for the rest of my life. I found the answer in this cookbook project,” said Blatt.

“I have been cooking with her since I was a little girl. I would help out with the meal preparation. She never actually followed the recipe. She would always go by taste. That’s something I learned from her.”

Where does the nickname Dodo come from?

“My mom’s younger brother couldn’t pronounce the ‘J’ of ‘Joanne,’ so somehow he got ‘do,’ so he would say ‘Doanne.’ Over the years, it was shortened to Dodo,” said Blatt with a laugh.

The cover of DoDo’s Delights.

The cookbook was a labour of love between friends.

“Every Tuesday evening for the past six months, 20 of my friends joined me in the kitchen to cook, bake and taste test. We prepared dishes that my mom and I used to make from her giant recipe binder that contained all of her famous recipes. She would write little notes and cut and paste, making a scrapbook of all her recipes,” said Blatt.

The recipes run the gamut from appetizers, to pasta, poultry, meat, fish and desserts.

“The recipes are simple and can be used by everyone from the elderly, to university students and kids,” said Blatt.

The girls documented their experiences and asked friends and family to share memories and stories about Dodo that they include throughout the cookbook.

“The Joanne Recipe for Success came from me, my dad and my brother. We sat down to think about what her values and morals were in life and shared them in the cookbook,” said Blatt.

All proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will go to Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) and other community groups.

“My mother was a working mom. She was passionate about women in the workforce. JIAS works with all women in the community and helps them start a life in Canada,” said Blatt.

To purchase the cookbook, email dodosdelightscookbook@gmail.com.


Dodo Famous Tuna Pasta

  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, cut in eighths
  • 350 ml (1½ cups) strained tomatoes, pureed
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) red chili flakes
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) whole olives, preferably kalamata, with pit
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) good olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) capers
  • salt and pepper to taste

Over medium-low heat, sauté sliced onion in olive oil. Once soft, add minced garlic. Sauté 3 minutes until soft.

Add tuna, break apart but don’t mash (there should still be some chunks). Add cut tomatoes, pureed strained tomatoes, capers, olives, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Stir so nothing sticks to the bottom, but don’t over mix.

Simmer covered on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the box. Add sauce to pasta, mix and serve.