The Mile End Cook­book: Redefin­ing Jew­ish Com­fort Food from Hash to Hamantaschen

  • Review
By – October 3, 2012

Since the 2010 open­ing of Mile End Deli” in Brooklyn’s Boreum Hill neigh­bor­hood, hus­band-and-wife team Noah and Rae Bernamoff have art­ful­ly remixed the kosher-style deli in New York. More recent­ly, the cou­ple has expand­ed the Mile End” brand, with a NoHo off­shoot of the deli and the pub­li­ca­tion of their new cook­book, The Mile End Cook­book: Redefin­ing Jew­ish Com­fort Food from Hash to Haman­taschen.

Mile End, his­tor­i­cal­ly one of Montréal’s immi­grant neigh­bor­hoods, was pri­mar­i­ly home to the city’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty until the 1950s. Although the eth­nic com­po­si­tion of Mile End evolved con­stant­ly dur­ing the lat­ter half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, the neigh­bor­hood retains a large Hasidic com­mu­ni­ty today. In recent years, the mul­ti­cul­tur­al dis­trict has also under­gone a cre­ative renais­sance, brim­ming with inde­pen­dent cafes and a thriv­ing gallery scene, while also serv­ing as a hub for artists and musicians.

Draw­ing on the neighborhood’s his­to­ry of diver­si­ty and artis­tic revi­tal­iza­tion, the Mile End Cook­book incor­po­rates this essence into a fresh anthol­o­gy of clas­sic Mon­tréal-style Jew­ish plates with a mod­ish twist, sea­soned with some Québé­cois and Brook­lyn favorites. The nos­tal­gic pref­ace and intro­duc­tion lay out Noah and Rae’s odyssey in estab­lish­ing the Mile End” con­cept while pay­ing trib­ute to the couple’s fam­i­ly his­to­ries. The recipes also com­bine a fresh edge while main­tain­ing a con­ven­tion­al core: favorite Mon­tréal clas­sics, such as the Smoked Meat Sand­wich and Bagelach are inter­spersed with edgi­er dish­es such as the Duck Maple Sausage and the Lemon-Chile Pick­led Aspara­gus. A sec­tion on sauces allows for a sim­ple addi­tion to any meal — from sta­ples with a slight remix (Lemon May­on­naise), to more inno­v­a­tive addi­tions (Scal­lion Sauce, with a zesty, gar­licky kick), and the eclec­tic feel is far from lost in the dessert sec­tion. The Mile End Cook­book is a guide­book for rein­vent­ing some beloved Jew­ish com­fort food, while pro­vid­ing a diverse taste of Mon­tréal, Brook­lyn, and every­thing in between. 

Read Noah and Rae Bernamof­f’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Book Trail­er

Lena Saltos is a lawyer­ing, ex-cre­ative writ­ing afi­ciona­do and a lover of all things unfamiliar.

Discussion Questions