Thursday, September 01, 2016

A Cookbook from 80 years ago

"An Early Taste of Zionism: Published 80 years ago, Palestine’s first Jewish cookbook brought politics into the kitchen, along with new ideas about Jewish food and vegetarian cuisine" -- I'm intrigued by this review by Dana Kessler in Tablet Magazine.

From Martinelli's article in Forward:
the cover of Meyer's book.
I had never heard of this classic and would love to obtain a copy. A search of online sellers isn't productive at the moment, but perhaps I'll persist!

From the article:
“'What shall I cook? This problem, the concern of housewives the world over, is particularly acute in our country. The differences in climate and the necessary adjustments arising out of these differences compel the European housewife to make many drastic changes, particularly in her cooking.' 
"With these words, Dr. Erna Meyer introduced her cookbook, How to Cook in Palestine, which was published in Palestine in the mid-1930s in Hebrew, English, and German. 'We housewives must take an attempt to free our kitchens from European customs which are not applicable to Palestine. We should wholeheartedly stand in favor of healthy Palestine cooking,' writes Meyer, urging new Jewish immigrants to Palestine to shed their European identity and reinvent themselves according to the Zionist ideology. 'We should foster these ideas not merely because we are compelled to do so, but because we realize that this will help us more than anything else in becoming acclimatized to our old-new homeland.' 
"Meyer’s book is widely considered the first Jewish cookbook printed in Palestine during the British Mandate."
A more complete review appeared in Forward a few years ago: "Lessons From the First Israeli Cookbook" by Katherine Martinelli. From this review:
"Meyer repeatedly recommends making vegetables more central to every meal and offers meat substitutes for a variety of dishes from 'liver' made out of eggplant to 'meatballs' made out of soaked bread. Although her suggestions came from a place of economy rather than sustainability, they’d fit right in with Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan’s contemporary cries to consume less meat."
One can only hope that a facsimile edition will become available!

I have already posted this on my other blog,

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

It probably might not be the official book with the cover and all but check with -- they have all sorts of stuff you'd never expect to find.