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Cookbooks from different cultures are always fascinating, but often the ingredients are difficult to obtain or even to pronounce. Not so for the newly released Eat and Be Satisfied from the Sisterhood of Congregation Children of Israel, which is full of unique, traditional Jewish recipes made with easily accessible ingredients as well as traditional Southern and American traditional recipes.

Before Covid, I had the opportunity to sample some wonderful dishes from the Sisterhood’s previous cookbook published over 25 years ago. When they announced a new cookbook in the works, I could not wait to buy it.

I purchased the cookbook within 24 hours of its arrival this spring, and was preparing delicious meals of traditional dishes often passed down through several generations of local Jewish families. Many are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine—like shakshuka made with fresh tomatoes, eggs and feta; chicken with apricots and almonds; or Millie Gabriel’s Fatoosh. Others are clearly derived from Eastern European and Russian recipes, like vegetable borscht or potato kugel. An unexpected feature are some popular recipes from Trumps Catering and Mama’s Boy restaurant.

The cookbook is divided into typical sections from appetizers to desserts, but it also includes special sections with recipes for Passover and other Jewish holidays. The Preface has information on keeping Kosher and includes Blessings for food and beverages. The spiral-bound cookbook is easy to use and enhanced with hand-drawn illustrations, original poetry and charming quotes.

My favorite section, Bread, finally helped me fulfill my dream of making Challah—a braided, egg-rich bread, which is enjoyed on the Sabbath and special holidays—and homemade bagels. Both take some time and skill, but the final products are well worth the effort and fun to prepare.

This cookbook makes an excellent gift for the holidays and will keep you, your family and friends happily cooking and eating for months. It’s available for sale at Avid Bookshop in Five Points.

Related stories: Ner Tamid: Passing the Torch, My Jewish Musical Legacy

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