From the DJN Foundation Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History
My good friend and fellow historian Arnie Collens told me about a recent conversation he had with his sister, Linda Schaar, who lives in Mevaseret Zion, Israel. She asked Arnie what happened to their mother’s (Dorothy Collens) prize cookbook? It seems the cookbook in question was no ordinary work from Betty Crocker. It was Treasured Recipes, a unique product of the Temple Israel Sisterhood, published in 1947 and still in use today. So, of course, I thought, what can I find in the Davidson Digital Archive?
Treasured Recipes is quite the book. Like many community cookbooks, there are recipes from the women of Temple Israel, including from Arnie’s grandmother Besse Siden. However, there are also recipes from famous people of the era: “Kaedgere” (also known as kedgeree — a fish, rice, hard-boiled egg casserole with curry) from Eleanor Roosevelt; “Washington, D.C.,+ Pumpkin Pie” from Bessie Truman (Harry Truman’s wife); “California Potato Pancakes” from Fanny Brice; and “Ida’s Meatloaf” from Eddie Cantor.
Although I could not find an article in the Davidson Digital Archive that reported on the development and publication of Treasured Recipes, I did find some interesting pieces. First, in 1947, the JN reprinted a number of selections from the cookbook weekly. For example, you’ll see “Menu Suggestions for Holiday Meals” in the Sept. 12, 1947, issue of the JN. Another most interesting use of Treasured Recipes can be found in Annabel Cohen’s excellent article, “History of Jewish Food,” in the 75th anniversary issue of the JN from July 18, 2018.
And, by the way, Arnie assured me he has personally tested many of the Treasured Recipes. Of course, as an honorable fellow, he felt it was his duty to test and retest the results of the recipes, to make sure he was relating accurate information. Arnie reports they are indeed tasty — and to be treasured.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archive, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.