The recipes in this volume have been passed down from generation to generation. However, this book is not only a collection of recipes, but rather a memorial to Holocaust victims, creating a legacy for future generations.
“We asked Holocaust Survivors to send us their favorite recipe, photos, and also the story of how they were able to survive the Holocaust. We collected 129 stories from all over the world, including Europe, South America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, and many US states. Each one is a miracle!” said Joanna Caras, editor.
Reading the testimonies accompanying the recipes gives insight as to what it was like to have to exist on starvation rations and suffer from undernourishment and malnutrition. During the Holocaust, women often became the mainstays of their families, maintaining their self-respect and applying their strength to obtaining food, whether in their former homes, the ghettos, or camps.
Food, or the lack thereof, became a very important focus of the daily life of prisoners in the camps, who fantasized about feasts as they ate their daily meager portions of bread. Sometimes women in the barracks collected and exchanged recipes and took turns to write them down on stolen scraps of paper.
Lillian Berliner, from Hungary, describes:
We were starved in Auschwitz and to alleviate our numerous hunger pangs, we invented frequent “dream meals” ranging between coffee klatches, luncheons, informal and formal dinner parties. We planned our menus carefully for hours and in great detail. Our favorite dishes and desserts took priority and were frequently repeated. The table settings, the color of dishes, tablecloths, napkins, flowers for each occasion and the seating arrangements were also discussed… This may sound delusional I know, but during these meal planning sessions, we were briefly transported to a normal world, a world that was so far from our miserable reality. We actually tasted the dishes we prepared and our hunger pangs disappeared during the hours of planning. We could hardly wait for the next planning session.
Proceeds from every cookbook sold benefit Carmei Ha’ir in Jerusalem, the Soup Kitchen where Joanne’s son and daughter-in-law volunteer, serving over 500 meals each day to poor and hungry Israelis.