More than a cookbook, this collection of heirloom recipes conveys Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors’ stories through the mnemonic lens of cooking and food. Collected and edited during the pandemic, this book — in the words of Ronald S. Lauder, Chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation — “is a story of hope and triumph of the human spirit.” Over 110 recipes accompanied by survivors’ pre-war recollections and post-liberation memories weave a unique tapestry of sensory experiences of flavors and aromas from the old world, accounts of loss and trauma, as well as heartwarming and poignant tales of new beginnings and healing. All of the recipes have been tested and retested to make sure they can be replicated in your kitchen while keeping the original character and voice of the survivors who contributed to the volume. Delicious recipes include Blintzes, Kugel, Matzo Ball Soup, Cholent, Goulash, Kasha Varnishkes, Rugelach, and more. Plus, there is a special chapter devoted to classic dishes for the Jewish holidays (Latkes, Charoset, Gefilte Fish, Knishes, Tzimmes, Challah, and others) that you can use to prepare, host, or bring food to a gathering. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation.
Honey Cake & Latkes: Recipes from the Old World by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Survivors
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation’s cookbook Honey Cake and Latkes: Recipes from the Old World by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Survivors is a life-affirming collection of recipes, stories, biographies, and photos that manages to revel in the joy of eating and cooking while admirably honoring the tragedy of the Holocaust. The recipes and the biographies of each survivor stand as testaments to the triumph of survival and the endurance of Jewish life. Each recipe reveals a new glimpse into survivors’ family histories, as well as their lives after the war when many incorporated family food traditions into their new lives or adopted new traditions along the way. While it may seem unusual for a casual reference to years spent in a death camp to start off the description and story for Plum Cake, it speaks to the lived experience of survivors who continued to process the traumas of that period of their lives in everyday moments, small and large. The fact that a cookbook can capture those nuances is what sets the book apart. Some simple recipes, such as chocolate on toast, speak to the small pleasures of life that survivors can truly appreciate. Other recipes featured in the book are classics of the Yiddish kitchen, such as gefilte fish, cold cherry soup, and Hungarian shlishkes. Despite the grandness of the mission of this book, the recipes are incredibly appetizing and beautifully photographed. The book stands on its own as a cookbook, and yet it offers so much more.
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