Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson: Book Review-Storied Dishes, Reading & Signing, Feb. 6

Image by stu_spivack via Flickr

Every picture tells a story. The same can be said about a recipe.

In the book, Storied Dishes, Linda Murray Berzok, compiles and edits the stories of women and their relationships to food, recipes, and memories.

Every story is rich in detail with a sense of time and place and with a little vivid imagination, the scent of bread baking.

It’s no surprise that many of the stories are about baking bread, certainly a lost art in today’s kitchen what with the mass availability of artisan breads and bread makers. I can’t help but wonder in today’s world of processed food and microwave ovens, what traditions mothers and daughters or nieces and aunts or grandmothers are creating?

The women contributors come from all walks of life and write about offal sandwiches, Christmas carp, Cuban ensalada fria, Chinese dumplings, end-of-the-month spaghetti, Jonny’s shrimp (a family recipe lost during Hurricane Katrina), hot milk cake, postmodern chicken soup, and more, and much mouth-watering more.

Some of these women write not only of family recipes but of family secrets revealed while uncovering family recipes.

As for Berzok, she starts out with, “What woman doesn’t treasure a family recipe? Even with the proliferation of online recipe sites, the Food Network, and glossy chef cookbooks, we return time and again to those tattered index cards. Is there some umbilical force pulling us back?”

Apparently so, and that’s a good thing.

Meet the editor and some local Tucson contributors as they read their stories and talk about kitchen memories.

Tucson: Storied Dishes Book Reading & Signing – Sunday, February 6

Presentation of new book Storied Dishes:  What Our Family Recipes Tell Us About Who We Are and Where We’ve Been, (Praeger, November 2010)
Books available for purchase
$5 charge for rugelach and coffee

Jashio Pei, Tucson, “Chinese Dumplings”

Making dumplings together is an important Chinese family tradition even as members of this family migrate from one country to another and one part of the U.S. to another.

Janie Goldenberg, Albuquerque,”My Little Black Box”

A young divorced mother finds that her recipe box holds many Jewish holiday favorites from her mother, grandmother and friends, helping her recall the back stories, both happy and sad.

Katherine Hagstrum, Bisbee, reader of “Zemel” by Carol Durst

Making Aunt Tillie’s 1950 pastry that she served at her boarding house restores an entire era of Eastern European Jewish life in New York’s Catksill Mountains.

Patricia E. Artiles, Tucson, “Cuban Bread Pudding”

A young Cuban immigrant attempts to replicate her great-grandmother’s recipe to create a sense of home in her new adopted country.

Andy Shatken, Tucson, reader of “Edith, Gussie and Linzertorte” by Gillian Polack

The recipe was bestowed along with the story of its author, the Austrian Governor’s wife in Vienna during World War I, a kind woman who preventied Gillian’s great uncle from having to serve on the Russian front.  The author decides the memories surrounding making this Linzertorte are the perfect antidote to hate in the world.

Linda Murray Berzok, reader of “Grandma Sadie’s Rugelach” by Anita Gallers

An overbearing grandmother vows to take her pastry recipe to her grave rather than share it with her son’s third wife, but her caring granddaughter opts to pass it on.

WHEN:  Sunday, February 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Cultural Heritage Room, Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road, Tucson

CONTACT:  Linda Murray Berzok, lmberzok@hotmail.com, 520-743-8160

“A beautiful work.  When you Google a recipe, you never get the rich tapestry of life and story that lie behind it.  Storied Dishes generously reveals the tales that link women not only to recipes, but to their families and pasts.”
–Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and What to Eat When We Eat Alone

“Linda Berzok takes readers on a fascinating journey through the multicultural world of family recipes.  I can’t think of another book that takes family recipes more seriously or is more welcome.”
—Marion Nestle, New York Times bestselling author of What to Eat

  1. The garden club I belong to, Redbud Garden Club, (www.redbudgardenclub.org) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. One of the things we are doing is creating a cookbook – the first time ever. Our theme is similar to the book you reviewed – we are emphasizing the stories behind a fewer number of recipes more than going for quantity. We are not going to sell it as a fund raiser — too much work. It is just a way to chronicle our existence so we’ll have more fond memories of our times together. It should be fun.

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