Attention, cooks! The Heimishe Cookbook is alive and well, and it’s coming to one of the most comprehensive food and cooking websites–Kosher.com.
What’s The Heimishe Cookbook? A little background: The Nitra Ladies Auxiliary published one of the first kosher cookbooks, The Heimishe Cookbook, back in the 1970s in Mount Kisco, NY. It quickly became a staple in many kosher homes. The original cookbook has generated five editions in total–volumes 1 and 2, the Pesach edition, the simcha edition, and the “Best Of” collection. Now, for the first time, the recipes are being made available online and free of charge, along with brand-new images for every recipe, only on Kosher.com.
Why bring such an old cookbook into the Internet age? “With the rise of the foodie culture, the obsession with exotic cuisine, and the abundance of glossy cookbooks, we at Kosher.com couldn’t help but notice a developing countertrend that’s steadily gaining momentum. Call it ‘back to basics,’ ‘retro,’ or even ‘traditional’–there’s a definite movement towards the simple, the genuine, perhaps even the old-fashioned. This new trend may be old, but it’s on the rise not just in our kosher-observant Jewish community, but in the broader world as well,” says Chanie Nayman, food editor in chief of Kosher.com.
Heimishe hipsters, anybody?
“This trend towards the nostalgic is so strong that we have decided to republish the original Nitra cookbooks online at Kosher.com,” says Mordy Herzog. As the CEO, he has his finger on the pulse of all trends food-related.
Herzog sees this as part of a bigger picture. “I believe that this trend encompasses more than just the Nitra cookbooks. It’s driven by a consumer who is looking for transparency. There’s a thirst out there for authenticity. It’s all about ‘real.’ People are tired of the over-engineering of food. They want to go back to basics, and there’s nothing more basic and nourishing than the good old-fashioned recipes we grew up on.”
So, the folks at Kosher.com searched through their vast collection of cookbooks and came up with The Heimishe Kitchen, compiled by the Ladies Auxiliary of Nitra, stashed away in a hidden corner. That’s where they came across the dog-eared, spiral-bound, and back-to-basics book, in all its typewritten glory. Copyright date? August 1977.
“When I first came across the cookbook, I briefly perused its pages. Included in the collection are recipes for Quick-as-a-Wink Chocolate Cake, Homemade Eggnog, Lekach Honey Cake, and Vegetable Soup with Einbren. It also features instructions on how to make basic kreplach, esrog marmalade (for Tu B’Shevat), and shalom bayis kugel. Wow. I’m overcome with a yearning for days gone by. What was I thinking by letting this sit at the bottom of my pile of cookbooks all these years?” Nayman comments.
One of Kosher.com’s employees, whose great-aunt helped create that first Nitra cookbook in order to raise money for the school in Mount Kisco, NY, where her husband was the principal, says it never really went out of style. “Back then, they gathered handwritten recipes from the local ladies. It wasn’t even typed until later.” The Nitra cookbook was among the first kosher cookbooks sold to the public. (Spice and Spirit was published almost simultaneously.) It’s been reprinted over and over again, due to popular demand.
The Nitra ladies up in Mount Kisco say that the cookbook is still a favorite choice among kosher cooks worldwide, even though there are no glossy photos or clever comments adorning its pages.
Now, Kosher.com is taking The Heimishe Cookbook to the next level. The site has recently purchased the rights to publish online all the classic Nitra recipes published in the Heimishe Cookbook series. Appearing for the first time with accompanying photos taken for Kosher.com, it will now be possible to easily search for a Nitra recipe selection, without browsing through the thousands that appear in their various printed cookbooks.
Historically, the city of Nitra was one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Slovakia. Slovak historians believe that Nitra is the location of the oldest Slovakian Jewish community. In 1940, Nitra was home to 4,358 Jews; most of them perished in the Holocaust. This cookbook represents the traditional recipes handed down through the generations from the Jewish Nitra community to their descendants, many of whom settled in Mount Kisco and still reside there today.
Fruity Glazed Chicken
Cook and Prep: 2 hours. Servings: 6. Allergens: None. Preference: Meat. Difficulty: Easy. Diet: Gluten-free
- 1 chicken, quartered
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. apricot jam
- 1 Tbsp. wine
- 2 Tbsp. water
Place sliced onion into a 10-inch frying pan. Combine honey, jam, wine, and water; pour over onions. Add chicken. Cook over low heat for 1Â½ to 2 hours.
Classic Easy Chicken Soup
Cook and Prep: 2 hours. Servings: 12. Allergens: None. Preference: Meat. Difficulty: Easy. Diet: Gluten-free, Low-fat.
Looking for the most simple, no-fail, traditional delicious chicken soup? This recipe is the one you should try. Perfect for cooks new to the kitchen or experienced cooks wanting to go back to the basics.
- 4 chicken breasts or 1 whole chicken
- 2 lb. chicken or turkey bones
- 4 carrots
- 4—5 stalks celery
- 1 large parsley root
- 1 large onion
- Â½ a small knob celery (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic
- Â½ a zucchini
- Â½ a sweet potato (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. salt
Place bones in wrap-n-boil bag. Place all ingredients into 8-quart pot; add water to fill pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook for 1Â½ to 2 hours.
Light Lemon Squares
Cook and Prep: 1 hour. Servings: 20. Preference: Pareve. Difficulty: Easy. Diet: Vegetarian, Pescetarian
- 2 cups flour
- Â½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 8 oz. margarine
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- Â¼ cup flour
- Â½ tsp. baking powder
- Â½ cup lemon juice
Dough: Mix ingredients for dough and press into a greased 9″Ã—13″ pan. Bake at 350Â°F for 20—25 minutes. Leave oven on.
Topping: Beat eggs and sugar. Slowly add flour, baking powder, and lemon juice. Pour over dough.
Bake at 350Â°F for 30 minutes. Cool, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and cut into two-inch squares.
Find over 60 recipes from the Heimishe Cookbooks at: http://www.kosher.com/search/recipes?k=nitra&nd=on (more recipes added frequently). Kosher.com: Always fresh. Always creative. Always relevant.