Cookbook Profile

Program Descriptions

Episodes #101 thru #113

Jewish Cooking In America with Joan Nathan
26-Part Cooking Series
by Maryland Public Television,
Frappe Inc. And Joan Nathan
Begins September 1998 on PBS

Episode #101: Sabbath: Friday Night Dinner and a Day of Rest
Joan criss-crosses the country sharing festive Friday night meals with families of many different backgrounds. Stops include an ultra-orthodox home in Brooklyn and a Yemenite-Israeli dinner in Manhattan with Elliot Gould. Joan discovers the secrets to a great challah, the traditional Sabbath bread.

Recipes: Retired Baker Fred Loeb's Challah (Silver Spring, Maryland); Cookbook Author Edda Servi Machim's Savory Italian Crusty Kugel (Croton-on-Hudson, New York)


Episode #102: The Borscht Belt
Many of the jokes surrounding Jewish food grew up with the Catskills. Joan visits with Elaine Grossinger Etess, daughter of the founders of the most famous Borscht Belt resort. While enjoying a meal at Woolfie's in Miami, they also share a sentimental journey back to the time when generations of summer vacationers escaped New York City for fresh air, fun and food just two hours north.

Recipe: Cookbook author Barbara Kafka's Winter Borscht (New York, New York); Chef Ed Brown's updated Striped Bass with Borscht Sauce (New York, New York)


Episode #103: Brisket: The Jewish Pot Roast
Joan traces the brisket's journey from immigrant baggage at Ellis Island to fine food in fancy restaurants across America. Meet Cleveland's "Mr. Brisket," Sanford Herskovitz, who gives all the details of how to properly select, cook and slice brisket.

Recipes: Chef Jim Cohen's Sephardic Brisket with apricots and prunes (Phoenix, Arizona)


Episode #104: Sukkot: The Fall Harvest Festival
Joan heads to Chicago for harvest holiday preparations including home wine-making and time-lapse building of a sukkah, the temporary outdoor structure dating back to the Bible. Mso, a stop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York to look at a unique Sukkot tapestry smuggled out of war-torn Hungary and the search in Brooklyn for the four biblical species of crops that symbolize the holiday.

Recipes: Miriam Steinberg's Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage and Mort Steinberg's Sweet Holiday Wine (Highland Park, Illinois)


Episode # 105: The Dairy Meal: Hold the Pastrami, Please
A slice of cheesecake after a good pastrami sandwich? No way! Kosher laws requiring the separation of milk and meat led to the development of special dairy restaurants like Ratner's in New York. Joan visits with Leah Adler, Steven Spielberg's mother and owner of the popular Milky Way Restaurant in Los Angeles where every delicious meal is completely meatless.

Recipes: Cookbook author Mollie Katzen's Summer Borscht (Berkley, California); Holocaust Survivor Agnes Stern's Hungarian Palachinta Torte (Coral Gables, Florida)


Episode #106: Everybody Doesn't Like Something. But Everybody Likes Cheesecake
From Plato to Shakespeare, Lindy's to Sara Lee.. cheesecake has been written about, made and enjoyed for thousands of years. Joan explores this delicious history—including how cheesecake came to be thought of as a "Jewish" dessert - with food historian Jan Longone in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the real Sara Lee Schupf in New York. She fights the calories on her trek to the Disneyworld of cheesecake, Eli's Cheesecake Factory in Chicago.

Recipe: Cookbook Author Alice Medrich's Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake (Berkeley, California)


Episode #107: Jewish Roots in Early America
Joan traces the fascinating early history and food of Jews in America from the arrival of the first 23 Sephardic Jews in New Amsterdam in 1654 to kosher food at a picnic in Philadelphia celebrating the signing of the Constitution. Visits with such American chroniclers as Eli Evans and Calvin Trillin reveal the very varied regional influences on Jewish cuisine as Americans began to spread out across the continent. Stops include the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Manhattan and Jewish cooking over the open hearth at the 1714 Gomez Mill House in New York's Hudson Valley.

Recipes: Chef Anne Rosenzweig's Salmon Cakes with wild mushrooms (New York, New York); Mary Powell's Dampfnudel, a Bavarian steamed dumpling (San Francisco, California)


Episode #108: What Is Kosher?
A Kosher cop? Julia Child joins Joan for a trip to a New York supermarket to find out what's kosher, what's not and what's the difference. In Brooklyn, a trip to a fish market with a lively, if fishy, guest. Also, a visit with a kosher butcher and a rabbi in Rockville, Maryland, to further demystify~ what kosher means.

Recipes: Chef Jean Louis Palladin's Faux Ham Glazed Corned Beef (New York, New York); Chef Marty Freed's Pastrami Lox (Brooklyn, New York)


Episode #109: The Nosh: Jewish Fast Food
Always on the move, Joan samples falafel from Moshe's, the best stretch pushcart in New York City, plus pickles from Guss' on the Lower East Side and lots of street-corner hot dogs. Egg cream maven Isaiah Sheffer shares his secrets of this often-debated bubbly treat during a visit to Sammy's Roumanian Restaurant in New York.

Recipes: Psychiatrist Justin Frank's Salami and Eggs with Matzah Meal Pancakes (Washington, DC)


Episode #110: Hanukkah: Olive Oil and Freedom
Foods fried in oil—particularly potatoes—commemorate the ancient miracle at the heart of this celebration. Joan explores the foods and traditions of this once-minor holiday of religious freedom that today in America has become today a major celebration because of its proximity to Christmas.

Recipes: Chef Allen Susser's Potato and Boniato Pancakes (Miami, Florida); Lily Serviansky's Once-A-Year Cheese Latkes (Coral Gables, Florida)


Episode #111: The Smoked and Pickled Appetizing Store
Once upon a time, there were little "appetizing" stores that sold more kinds of pickled and smoked fish than one believed existed. Joan heads to New York to visit two of the last surviving relics of these uniquely Jewish markets, Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side and Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side, to find out what was so deliciously memorable about these stores.

Recipes: Mark Federman's Pickled Salmon and Herring with Potatoes and Onions (New York, New York)


Episode #112: Goodbye, Columbus: Food for the Jewish Celebration
What's a wedding or bar mitzvah without finger food? A big part of Jewish cooking are foods that can be picked up and eaten while socializing. Joan samples several of these with savory influences from Russia to the Middle East.

Recipes: Elise Akouka's Egyptian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Coral Gables, Florida); Gary Danko's Potato Knish (San Francisco, California)


Episode #113: What Am I Chopped Liver?
Joan tastes her way across America as she samples everyone's favorite chopped liver. Because of the kosher separation of meat and milk, there's even some vegetarian versions originally made popular at dairy restaurants on New York's Lower East Side.

Recipes: Hyman Bookbinder's Classic Chopped Liver (Bethesda, Maryland); Mandy Patinkin's Mother's Vegetarian Chopped Liver (San Diego, California)


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This page created September 1998