Authors: Andrea Marks Carneiro
Tags: #Cookbooks; Food & Wine, #Entertaining & Holidays, #Special Diet, #Kosher, #Special Occasions, #Religion & Spirituality, #Judaism
L'or v d'or
One of the most vivid and cherished childhood memories I hold centers around our visits
with Grandma Rose in Rockaway Beach, New York. Several times a year my dad, mom, sister, and I would drive from our home in Bethesda, Maryland, to Grandma Rose and Grandpa
Lou's place on Long Island. Their walkup was small and cluttered, but the central room for
me was the tiny kitchen. I will always remember the distinct smells, familiar tastes, gregarious chatter, and simple joy of sitting, for hours it seemed, at their crowded kitchen table while
Grandma Rose showered us with an overabundance of delicious, homemade Jewish foods.
From her perspective, she could never make enough for us nor could we consume enough of
what she made. From my perspective, I felt her steady love and adoration for my dad, extended
now to his family, expressed through her caring preparation and presentation of Jewish foods
for us. As I look back, I think the consistency, generosity, and pleasure of her creating family
memories through food has deeply shaped me.
Today, I spend less and less time in my own kitchen as I work on issues of social justice
and gender equity that often take me far from home. Yet, I regularly return to my kitchen for
grounding. For it is at our kitchen and dining tables, often imbued with food prepared with my
Grandma Rose's recipes (captured by the diligent measuring and surveillance of my Aunt Bea
who shadowed my grandma years ago), that I too seek to transmit the message of my relentless love for our growing family and my deep craving to nurture and gather my family to create memories that will sustain us now and inspire the next generations.
Grandma Rose taught me how to actualize the fundamental Jewish value of l'or v d'or-
passing values, traditions, and dreams from generation to generation. I try to do it in many
ways, perhaps the most delicious of which is through food.
Nancy is a lawyer and a social justice activist. She is currently the national president of the National Council
of Jewish Women and a national leader who works to ensure powerful grassroots engagement in progressive
social issues. Her husband, Kenneth, and their blended family of three daughters, three sons, two daughtersin-law, and four grandchildren enjoy the gathering of family, always marked by wonderful food.
Thank you to all the friends and family who gave us support and encouragement as we
worked to make Jewish Cooking Boot Camp a reality.
To Ellen Cohen and Jill Kaplan, the original Boot Campers and unofficial Marks family
members. Their love of latkes sparked 200 pages.
To Adina Kahn for believing in our concept and to Jane Dystel for being our advocate
To our wonderful editor Heather Carriero for bringing our vision to life and to Julie
Marsh and the rest of the team at GPP for their hard work.
To everyone who donated their family recipes and traditions to make this book so
And most of all to David, Sarah, Jacob, Gil, Edie, and Allan for their love, their ideas,
and most of all ... their appetites.
The idea for Jewish Cooking Boot Camp started a long, long, long time ago. You see, when
you live in New York but your parents live in Miami ... well, they end up with a lot of houseguests. In my case those guests were a small group of my friends who spent every winter
holiday (and some others) flying down to bask in the sun and fun of Miami. We would take
over my parents' house with our suitcases and winter coats, spend all night running around
South Beach, and finally end up gathered in the kitchen the next morning to share our stories from New York City with my parents as we picked over the seemingly unlimited food
my mom, Roz, would have waiting.
As the years passed I eventually left New York, but my friends kept up their commute
to Miami. We got new jobs and new apartments and new boyfriends, but our jet-set visits
never changed. The annual Marks family Chanukah party raged on, and Roz's latkes continued their steady climb to legend status. One holiday, as we sat around the kitchen, my
friend Ellen suddenly had a realization. "What happens," she asked, "when we all have our
own families and we have to start cooking for ourselves?" We were silent. And an idea was
At first it was a joke. We envisioned a long weekend, a syllabus, a holiday-by-holiday
game plan designed to teach us everything from brisket to kasha and varnishkas, cabbage
soup to nut cake. We laughed and moved on. But soon I realized that a Jewish Cooking Boot
Camp was, in fact, an amazing idea. I thought of the millions of young people out there who
were looking for guidance but were too intimidated to pick up a traditional cookbook, or who
had grandmothers and mothers (like mine) who cooked without recipes, or who simply didn't
have the time to learn in a traditional setting. I thought of my mom and how she defied the
stereotype of a traditional Jewish cook. She was young and cool and had a career. She could
just as easily navigate her way around a good Neiman's sale as she could a noodle kugel. She
made Jewish cooking less intimidating.
The truth is this: It's incredibly difficult to become a great chef, but it's very simple to
cook dinner for your family. My mom always says that if you have good recipes, you're twothirds of the way there. And that's what we're giving you.
What we have put together is a compilation of recipes gathered over centuries. From the
cardboard box stowed on top of my mom's fridge, we have sifted through scraps of paper,
scribbled notes, and old e-mails and letters. Some of the recipes come from my aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother; some come from great-aunts, cousins, and distant relatives;
some come from friends or friends-of-friends; and some ... well, some we have no idea where
they came from. But they're good.