The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook

On Monday January 10th, 2011 AACI was pleased to welcome Joanne Caras, author of “The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook,” to the Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center in Jerusalem.

Joanne Caras first set out on this labor of love in 2005 when she visited her son and daughter-in-law, olim chadashim, Sarah & Jonathan, in Jerusalem and they ate at Carmei Ha’ir. Joanne was so impressed with this soup kitchen (see below) that she devised a way to fundraise for Carmei Ha’ir while at the same time commemorating her recently-deceased mother and other Holocaust survivors.

“The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook” is a wonderful anthology by Holocaust survivors and their favorite memories associated with Jewish food.  The following is an excerpt and recipe from Holocaust survivor Sophia Machtinger of Brooklyn, New York. (p. 232-233) Sophia survived deportation to Aushwitz, Stutthof Concentration Camp, and a forced march across Czechoslovakia. She emigrated to the United States in 1949.

“Each Holocaust Survivor has a different story to tell from his tragic war. This is my life story and my legacy to my children, the Jewish People and the World, with the hope and belief that mankind might learn a lesson from the past, that this history may never be repeated, and people must try to improve the World and provide a better future for generations to come.”

Sophia Machtinger’s Chinese Cookies (parve)

1 egg

1 cup white sugar
2 3/4 cups flour

2 sticks of margarine, chilled

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 tsp almond extract

6 crushed walnuts or peeled almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, crushed nuts, and margarine in a bowl. Crumble with your hand or two knives until the texture resembles coarse oatmeal.

2. Add the egg and almond extract. Form into a ball.

3. Roll the dough into individual balls smaller than a walnut. Flatten with your palm. Glaze the cookies with beaten egg white and a piece of nut if desired.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

All proceeds from sales of “The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook” benefit Carmei Ha’ir. Carmei Ha’ir is not your average soup kitchen. Founded in 2003, the project’s guiding principle is “dignity,” turning clients from recipients of assistance to active contributors of society. Carmei Ha’ir serves 500 meals a day in a beautiful, restaurant environment where anyone can come in and eat; upon leaving, diners pay what they can. In recent years, Carmei Ha’ir–located near the Mahane Yehuda–has also expanded to include school lunches for needy students and family food baskets for Shabbat.


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