When we had to clean out my parents’ home after my father passed away in 1973, one of the many things I took was my mother’s cookbook.  Not only did I want her recipes, but seeing her handwriting in the margins of various pages, was always comforting and gave me a sense of peace.

My mother's writing in her cookbook

My mother, May Wosnitzer Blieden, passed away in 1961.  She had been a wonderful cook, although we ate very plainly.  (My father, in his entire life, had never tried tuna fish, peanut butter, or spaghetti!) My mother definitely spoiled us.  Each morning she would ask each one of us what we wanted for dinner, and she would cook a variety of foods to please her fussy four children and her husband.

The cookbook she used so often was “The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook” by Anne London and Bertha Kahn Bishov and others Cleveland : World Publishing Company, [1952] ©1952.

The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook

For dinners, we usually had broiled steak, chicken, or lamb chops.  They would be seasoned with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika. On Friday nights, she would make either pot roast, or chicken soup with boiled chicken, a more traditional Shabbat meal.  Her one rule was that at least one night a week we had to have a dairy meal.  We kept a kosher home so you could not mix meat with dairy on the other nights.

What my mother liked to cook
What my mother liked to cook
What my mother liked to cook

She would often make me meatball sandwiches for my school lunch.  She had to pack me 2 of them since my friends always wanted to eat them, too.  They were so delicious!

What my mother liked to cook

One recipe of hers that I still follow is for Stuffed Cabbage.  This recipe actually highlights how my mother was ahead of her time about nutrition.  She always cut out, or cut down, the amount of sugar in a recipe and tried to cook what would be considered “healthy” by today’s standards.

What my mother liked to cook
I added the tomato sauce to her recipe
What my mother liked to cook

An absolute family favorite was matzah meal pancakes.  We would eat them with cottage cheese and never syrup, sugar, or cinnamon as the recipe suggests.  They were so good, that we would often race to see who could eat the most.  One time, when my cousins, Harvey and Alice Rich, visited us in Alley Pond Park in Queens, NY, we had one such lunchtime race.  My mother could hardly keep up with our demand.  As a matter of fact, she had to pause mixing ingredients and flipping pancakes so we could run to the store to get more cottage cheese.  The store was just a few blocks away, and us kids, literally ran over there to buy some! In case you are wondering, I beat Harvey, 4 years older than me, and won the race by eating 30 of the little pancakes!

Matzo Meal Pancakes from the Complete American-Jewish Cookbook

To me, these will always be my comfort foods, and I can still picture her standing in our Teaneck, NJ, kitchen with her apron on preparing our meals.

Post Author: trothman

One Reply to “My Mother’s Cookbook”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I remember my mom making stuffed cabbage, but she put crushed ginger snaps in hers. The cookbook sounds familiar, but not sure if I saw it at mom’s house or somewhere else. My dad’s mom was a good cook and I have some of her recipes.

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