American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution

More Pioneers

Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book

Mrs. Sarah Tyson Rorer was one of the most influential and prolific authors of her day. She was the founder of modern dietetics, principal of the Philadelphia Cooking School, domestic editor of the Ladies Home Journal for fourteen years, and the owner/editor of other early women's magazines.

This book, arguably her most important work, includes a full section of Jewish recipes. In this section, she attributes most of the recipes to a Miss Cohen of Philadelphia. This "Miss Cohen" is the daughter of Mrs. Matilda (née Samuel) Cohen, a prominent Philadelphia housewife who was a member of the Women's Centennial Committee (that put together the National Cookery Book), a manager of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, and a close personal friend of Rebecca Gratz.

The Twentieth Century Cook Book

This second printing of the Twentieth Century Cook Book was first printed a year earlier in Alabama and is possibly the first Jewish cookbook printed in the South.

Fannie Fox's Cook Book

The introduction to this cookbook was written by Edna Ferber, Fannie's sister, who was a member of the fabled Algonquin Round Table and one of America's most popular novelists of her day (Show BoatGiant, and So Big being among her most famous titles). Growing up in a Midwestern German-Jewish household, Edna recalls, in her introduction, that the family cooking bible was Aunt Babette's Cookbook.

Aunt Babette's Cookbook

First issued in 1889 by the Bloch Printing Company of Cincinnati, this book, intended for Jewish housewives, was in print for more than 25 years.

Bertha Kramer, the author, explains how she is proudly non-kosher, justifying her food choices with the argument that "Nothing is trefa that is healthy and clean." While this book is definitely not kosher, all of the recipes in the Easter dishes section are, interestingly enough, kosher for Passover.

Modern Kosher Meals

Mildred Bellin, a graduate of Smith College, taught cooking classes at the Jewish Community Center in Albany, New York. She penned this book as "First Aid" for preparing modern, ecological, palatable, and scientifically prepared kosher food.

The Jewish Cook Book

At the beginning of WWII, Bellin and the Bloch Publishing Company (now in New York) issued a revised edition of Florence Greenbaum's The Jewish Cook Book, which was first published in 1918 and introduced as the "direct successor" to Aunt Babette's Cookbook. Changing times required revisions and updates, and this new book, revised and enlarged by Bellin, went on to sell over 100,000 copies.