Jewish Cooking – eggs, sugar, and oil

After reading through my mother’s memoirs last night, I noticed commonality in many of the recipes included within the booklet.  All recipes, for the most part contained all or one of the following ingredients; more than 4 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, brown and/or white, and oil, anywhere from 1 Tablespoon to 1 Cup (in fact one recipe said, “add 1 Cup Wesson oil”, all I could say to that is “oy vey”). 

I am challenging myself to take these recipes, handed down from her mother or her sisters, which means they originated somewhere in the 1930’s or before the 1930’s, and creating healthy alternatives to the egg, sugar, and oil combination.   

Some of the ingredients included evaporated milk, cream cheese, and other highly fattening, artery hardening ingredients, with no nutritional value.  The recipe “My Favorite Chocolate Cake” contained reference to adding a carbonated beverage, possibly ‘Coke”.   At any rate, over the next several weeks I will try and replicate these recipes best I can. 

An interesting note from the memoirs to keep in mind; these recipes were invented at a time where people used ice boxes instead of refrigerators, did not drive and took the bus or their feet to the grocery store, and definitely did not have high functioning stoves and ovens.  Yes, they did have electricity, but they did not have blenders, food processors, or dishwashers.

Recipes I will TRY, and I say TRY in all capital letters because some of the recipes, no matter how hard I will try to change them, just won’t turn out, like cheesecake for example.  My mother makes the absolute best cheesecake, and I don’t think there is anyway to get around those ingredients, but I’ll try to make chicken soup (my version will just be the vegetables), that chocolate cake my mother likes so much (without the Coke), and stuffed pratkahs without the meat. 

I’ll be publishing all of the original recipes, along with my updated recipe, and photo’s throughout the process.  Should be a great learning opportunity for all of us, stay tuned.

You’ll see the photo of my mother as a little girl at the top of this post.  She does not have very many photos of her childhood.

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