In August of 2001, my 88 year-old mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and died six weeks later. She was a strong, sensitive, beautiful woman as well as a phenomenal cook and baker. Just before she died, she gave me two tattered notebooks filled with family recipes. These recipes were beautifully handwritten in fountain pen and in her native language, Viennese German. Unfortunately, my mother and I did not have much time to talk about the specifics of the recipes or their origin, and frankly, even if we did, I am not sure I would have known what questions to ask. It is only now, that I am writing a book about family recipes and traditions, that I realize the true significance of the recipe collections.
My mother and grandmothers lived in Vienna, Austria before immigrating to the United States in 1939. They, along with these special cookbooks, survived the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis during the holocaust. My book, which will be titled: Around the Table: Culinary Adventures Rooted in Family Tradition was originally conceived as an honor to my mother’s memory. But as I began to compile, translate and test some of her recipes, it occurred to me that families, in addition to my own, also had memories and recipes to share. The common theme became readily apparent: food is so much more than the culinary experience of preparing and eating it. Food is about families; about friendships; about the conversations that take place around the table; and perhaps most importantly, about the traditions which are passed on through the generations. Regardless of the nationality or ethnic background of the family, the goal is the same: to provide a nourishing environment for our loved ones every time we are together around the table. Then, our children and our grandchildren will not only remember us, but they will treasure our traditions and continue them for the future.
This blog is intended to be a forum for people to share recipes, stories and traditions. By opening your kitchens and your hearts and souls, we will be able to share in your precious memories. I know that your stories will provide the reader with joy, heal their spirit, bring comfort to their soul and help to rekindle memories of their own family’s traditions.