The ProsenPeople

Rising to the Top

Friday, June 15, 2012 | Permalink
Earlier this week, Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler wrote about the aging Jewish community, the Australian Jewish community, and about their decision to self-publish their cookbook One Egg Is A Fortune. They have been blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.
 

Food has always been central to Jewish life – it holds both biblical and historical significance and often reflects our Jewish heritage. One Egg Is A Fortune shows that food is a great equaliser and, while considered a "Jewish" cookbook, appeals to the broader community all over. That being said, with thousands of books published annually, it's sometimes difficult to rise to the top. Wikipedia quotes that in 2009 the U.S. alone published 288,355 new titles and editions. There are also a prolific number of cookbooks published with the popularity of cooking TV shows. 

Book competitions are a way to promote awareness and sales. As self-publishers we entered some international competitions to increase the potential for a successful product. And it worked! One Egg Is A Fortune has been recognised on the world stage. It has won 3 awards:

  • Winner at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the Australia/Pacific fundraising category (Paris, March 2012)
  • A silver medal in the cookbook category in the "World’s Largest Book Awards Contest” for independent authors and publishers in the United States (May 2012)
  • An Indie Excellence Award also in the United States (May 2012)


To be among the multi-award Jewish cookbook winners, including Gil Marks, Claudia Roden, Joan Nathan, Ruth Reichl, Marlena Spieler and Faye Levy, is humbling.

Equally humbling: being acknowledged by our non-Jewish community. Irina Dunn, who runs the Australian Writers Network, wrote: “this is without doubt the most beautiful and original recipe book I have ever laid my eyes on...remarkable in its conception, perfect in its production, beautiful in its execution."

Zechariah Mehler, a widely published food writer who specializes in kosher cuisine wrote: “A buffet of stories and recipes benefit elder care ... one of the most innovative cookbooks to be released in the kosher world."

We'll leave you now with a summer recipe: 

Watermelon Salad

(Serves 8–10)

1 medium seedless watermelon
1 small white onion, very finely sliced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

Remove the skin and any seeds from the watermelon and cut into 2cm cubes.

Toss watermelon and onion lightly together in a large bowl and chill well. Sprinkle with fresh mint before serving.


Why Self-Publish?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Permalink
Earlier this week, Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler wrote the aging Jewish community and the Australian Jewish community. In today's post, they discuss their decision to self-publish their cookbook One Egg Is A Fortune. They will be blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

Why self-publish? The mainstream publishing industry continues to be in a state of flux and when we began our cookbook many publishers were not taking on first-time, high-risk authors. There were small publishing houses willing to take us on, but the return was so minimal that the raison d’être, to raise funds for Jewish elder care, would not eventuate. Self-publishing was the best option to achieve our goal.

After all information gathering was complete, we changed our business plan and became publishers. To ensure credibility and success, and to produce the envisaged high-quality coffee-table cookbook, we employed professionals: a well-known editor, food photographer, food stylist, award-winning graphic designer, indexer, colour correction expert and lawyer. The next step was to produce the physical book. After printing in China, the books were shipped towarehouses in Sydney and Chicago. No easy feat for two women without sponsorship nor experience in the industry.

Our self-publishing route was an enormous task with a mixture of surprise, disappointment, joy and fun. We had our fair share of laughs, from dropping the angel cake onto the floor, with no spare, just before the final photograph to the insisting by one potential contributor on a recipe for lobster thermidor that we could, of course, not use.

After eleven years of determination, One Egg Is A Fortune is available worldwide. Even more importantly, we've already been able to make our first donation: to the Centre of Ageing in Sydney, Australia, a community group created to help Jewish seniors to stay in their own homes for as long as practicable.

Blazing Hot Wing Sauce with Beer

A recipe from my friend John Schlimm, author of The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook

Serves 6

SAUCE

1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing (powder) 
 ½ cup margarine
2 cups Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
6 tablespoons beer
12–24 chicken wings or drumettes

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Make sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl, mix well and set aside (makes 2¼ cups).
Make chicken wings: Boil wings in a large pot until they rise to the surface. Drain, place the wings into a baking dish and pour over sauce. Bake for 45 minutes or until crispy.
Note: This sauce can also be used as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders.

Aussie-style Blazing Hot Wing Sauce with Beer

Serves 6

SAUCE 

2 tablespoons McCormick Italian Seasoning Blend (dry)
½ cup margarine
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dried cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco)
6 tablespoons beer
12–24 chicken wings or drumettes

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Make sauce: Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well and set aside.
Make chicken wings: Prepare chicken wings as above.

One Egg Is A Fortune

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | Permalink

Judy Kempler and Pnina Jacobson's cookbook One Egg Is A Fortune is now available. They will be blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

One Egg Is A Fortune is a collection of recipes and stories from fifty prominent Jewish people from around the world. It was compiled by two Australian Jewish women.

The purpose in publishing this cookbook is to raise funds for Jewish elder care all over the world. It’s hard to imagine a time when our parents and friends grow old, but many of us will find we are called on to assist in their care. It’s then when you may see the perception of the Jewish community that the elderly don’t need assistance and but can support them. This perception is not true. They need help–our help. The aging community continues to grow and with this comes the need to identify physical, emotional and financial help and extra resources.

Judy Kempler was a carer for her late mother-in-law and found just this. Together with Pnina Jacobson, she resolved to make a difference, whether by providing home help, equipment, meals or other things to help people remain independent in their own home and perhaps in some way make life a little better. By inviting prominent people to contribute, all with a diverse range of backgrounds and professions from around the world, we are not only providing for interesting reading, but also reaching a much larger audience.

After centuries of unrest and persecution, the Jewish people have wandered and established themselves across all corners of the globe. Changes have been constant in Australia and with waves of migration, the foods of the new homes were adopted and fused with traditional Jewish cuisine. Australia is a relatively new country, just over 200 years old. Although the first Jewish settlers were convicts, larger numbers arrived in waves, from the gold rush days in search of a fortune to escaping persecution in Russia, the Nazis, to recently leaving South Africa because of apartheid. It is fascinating to see that each wave of Jewish people prepare the same traditional fare, centuries later, but with perhaps some subtle differences. However, it is the non-traditional foods adopted from other local cultures combined with the availability of a variety of fresh produce all year round as part of the move to eat a “healthier” diet that may in fact over time change these traditional signature dishes. Will chopped liver and egg salad disappear?

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2009 the Jewish population was 13,421,000 worldwide – 5,275,000 in the United States; 107,500 in Australia. In the U.S. there are 157 Jewish Federations and over 300 communities with social, volunteer and educational programs and which raise large amounts to provide assistance of all kinds. In Australia, the Jewish population is concentrated in the major cities with less and organisations.

The officially elected organisation representing the Australian Jewish community is the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, affiliated with the World Jewish Congress. The ECAJ deals with a wide range of issues including human rights, interfaith relations, refugees, education, Holocaust remembrance, anti-Semitism, Israel and the international community. In addition to ECAJ, each Australian state has many active synagogues, charitable, social and sporting groups.

We are fortunate to be living in better times and our communities have much longer and fuller lives. But with this come other implications about elder care requirements and these statistics highlight this. To entice you, we’d like to share a recipe from the book – from Australia comes a beautiful recipe for slip pancakes from artist Judy Cassab.

Csusztatott Palacsinta: Slip Pancake

Serves 8–10

vanilla sugar
vanilla bean
1 cup icing sugar or caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
50g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour
1 cup milk
extra butter or oil spray, for frying

Make vanilla sugar: Break vanilla pod into pieces, crush in a blender, stir through the sugar
and set aside.

Make slip pancake: Beat egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in egg yolks and add in flour and milk. Gently fold in egg whites. Heat a 20cm crepe pan until moderately hot and melt butter or spray with oil. Place a large soup ladle of pancake mixture into the pan and fry it only on one side. When set, slip it onto a 20cm ovenproof round plate. Sprinkle some vanilla sugar on top. Make the next pancake. Stack this over the first one and repeat the process until five thick pancakes have been cooked. Cut into slices like a torte. This can be served at once or prepared ahead of time and reheated for about 15 minutes in a hot oven.

Savoury alternative: To make as an entree, sprinkle each slip pancake layer with grated cheese and finely sliced mushrooms.

Check back all week for more posts and recipes from Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler.

Book Cover of the Week: One Egg is a Fortune

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Miri Pomerantz Dauber and I had a wonderful meeting yesterday with the creators of the cookbook One Egg is a Fortune (Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler). Not only is the book simply gorgeous, but part of the proceeds will be donated to support Jewish aged care. 

‘One Egg Is A Fortune’ is a cookbook full of heart! It is a book for today from times past.

Fifty well-known Jewish figures from around the world have contributed recipes, biographies and anecdotes, showcasing the diversity of Jewish life. And while each person tells a unique story, their anecdotes reveal that the enjoyment of food is the common thread that binds us together. The title of our book was inspired by one of these beautiful stories.

This timeless book presents over 100 delicious recipes with clear, easy-to-follow instructions with stunning food photography by Craig Cranko, sophisticated food styling by Michele Cranston from Marie Claire, The New York Times and other publications, and elegant book design by award winner Melanie Feddersen from i2i Design pty ltd.

The genesis of this book began over ten years ago. Pnina and Judy met when their children were young. Standing at the bus stop seeing their children off to school, they would often talk about doing something worthwhile for the community and yet still be stay-at-home mothers, caring for their families.

As they got talking, their shared interest in food emerged, not just the meals but the memories associated with them. And so the concept of the book developed into a mingling of recipes with the warmth of nostalgia and sociological record.

At this time, Judy was a carer for her late mother-in-law Viola, and realised that so much more was needed to help our ageing community. They decided then that part of the proceeds from this book would support Jewish aged care.