Food, Family and Tradition Review & Giveaway

Written by chanie on October 30th, 2014

I have to confess that while I love to collect cookbooks, I don’t really read them. I prefer to browse through the pictures, take a mental note of the good-looking recipes, and return them to the bookshelf amid my growing collection. Rarely do I come upon a cookbook that I want to read front to back. Where the food photography doesn’t matter, and the story is what grabs me.

I read Food, Family and Tradition cover to cover. The new book by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro celebrates the resilience and courage of holocaust survivors through food and stories. As the daughter of holocaust survivors, Lynn sought to bring to light the beauty and richness of traditional Jewish life in Czechoslovakia and Hungary before the Holocaust. In the preface to the recipe portion of the cookbook, she paints a vivid picture of her parents’ family life in Eastern Europe. With period photographs, biographies, a family tree and original vignettes, Lynn draws you in to her family history and story of survival. She details their emigration from Europe to the U.S. and how they went on to weave new family traditions while founding Hungarian Kosher Foods, the first all-kosher supermarket in the midwest.

In the second part of the cookbook, Lynn shares 150 family recipes, many of which were prepared for sale in the family’s supermarket. Many of the dishes are highlighted by family stories and remembrances.

There’s nothing fresh and modern about the recipes in Food, Family and Tradition. On the contrary, the book seeks to keep century-old traditions alive through sharing family recipes that celebrate the spirit of Eastern European culture. Some of the heimishe recipes you’ll find include chopped herring, mandel bread, rakott krumpli (potato-egg casserole), blintzes, gefilte fish, brisket, schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, tzimmes, honey cake and so much more.

Growing up in an ashkenazi family with Eastern European roots, so many of the Hungarian dishes in Food, Family and Tradition hit close to home. My bubby would prepare many of the above-mentioned recipes as well as borscht, cheese kugel, chop suey, chicken paprikas, stuffed peppers, sweet and sour tongue, cabbage and noodles and others. Since my bubby is not the measuring type, it’s nice to be able to see these recipes written out in a clear and concise manner. Some of the recipes are accompanied by photos, but most of them are not. I usually find that bothersome, but in this book, it seems to make no difference. Maybe it’s because it’s the story that matters, or because I recognize so many of the dishes from my upbringing, that I don’t need to see them to know what they look like.

All in all, Food, Family and Tradition is about more than just family recipes. It’s about continuing the legacy of Jewish life before the holocaust through food and culture.

I’m giving away a free copy of the Food, Family and Tradition cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below about a traditional family dish that means a lot to you. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.


Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 10th, 2014.

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90 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bryna Flaum says:

    I just love my Grandmother/Mother’s Stuffed breast of veal with a pocket. They used to make the dish together as a team for my pesach seder my mother would make all the stuffing and gravy and my grandmother was a seamstress and would sew it up for her perfectly. My mother still continues to make it for my seder every year, its absolutely incredible but not the same without my grandmother. I follow you on FB and instagram! Really enjoying your Blog!!

  2. Shayndy Abrahamson says:

    My mother’s potato latkes. Always a hit!

  3. gwen says:

    I make my Mother’s chicken soup, who made her Mother’s chicken soup, and my daughter makes my chicken soup. So the same delicious soup and erev shabbos smell has permeated our homes for 4 generations.

  4. Dassy says:

    fried cheese balls

  5. Sam says:

    My girlfriend and I have been rediscovering our Jewish roots – it may come as no surprise that it actually started through food. The challah recipe changes every week, but the technique is what she remembers most from growing up. That and her great-grandmothers Hungarian Goulash, but that’s only for special occasions. :) Following you on FB!

  6. I remember fondly making rolled cabbage, “gevigel dekraut”, and vegetable soup with my mother – they were her mother’s recipes. The stories she would tell about her! I have continued to make the recipes and shared the memories with my daughter and granddaughter. I follow you on instagram and facebook.

  7. Goldy says:

    Definitely Rakott Krumpli!!
    Follow On Instagram and Pinterest

  8. Naomi says:

    chicken soup with knaidlach is a big favorite, and also applesause in the fall with apples from the farmers market. yum.

  9. Naomi says:

    I follow you on facebook

  10. Tziporah says:

    I always remember by grandmothers banana cake and chocolate cake with such find memories. Every family used to get a block of the cakes which are delicious.

  11. Gilly says:

    My mother’s family is also Hungarian. Mom makes a number of my grandmother’s dishes, including oogakashalata (cucumber salad). It’s as much fun to say as to eat! (Also, I follow you on facebook.)

  12. shani schultz says:

    every year for sukkos i made morroccan meat my children got older they helped roll them . one year i was pregnant and not feeling up to it so my daughter got permission from her principal to stay home from school to help me roll them !

  13. Betty says:

    I get our posts by e-mail, and now I follow you on pinterest. I also love to read cookbooks. My family thinks I’m addicted!

  14. Faleen F. says:

    As a side dish, my mother used to make baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar, whole cranberry sauce, etc. I always looked forward to it at Rosh Hashanah and Pesach.
    I still love it and it brings back such wonderful memories of sharing the meals with my immediate family along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Thank you for this opportunity.

    • Faleen F. says:

      SORRY, I FORGOT to include the fact that i follow on Facebook. I had initially misunderstood the directions as to where to post this.

  15. AILUY says:

    This is an awesome giveaway. The dish that means a lot to me is Pot-Chicken, like a Pot Roast but with a chicken. My grandmother made it all the time when I was little. I miss it so much, because nobody makes it lake she did.
    I love your website and I also follow on Facebook.

  16. AILUY says:

    I love your website and I also follow on Twitter.

  17. AILUY says:

    I love your website and I also follow on Instagram.

  18. AILUY says:

    I love your website and I also follow on Pinterest.

  19. Miriam says:

    Rukkod krumpli! My mother always makes it and it’s still a favorite in my home too! I also love kindel although I never made it myself…. I follow you on facebook!

  20. geet engel says:

    My mom made a pastry called yagida kichel which was made with blueberry and yeast dough. I do not have the recipe but wish I did. She made it every Shavout. They were delicious especially straight out of the oven.

  21. Lisa says:

    I have fond memories of my grandmother’s potato latkes. She used to shred the potatoes in advance, and keep them in the refrigerator overnight, so the latkes were always greenish. I didn’t figure out why until I got older and did the same thing. And I follow you on facebook.

  22. Alison says:

    I love making my grandmother’s homemade meaty spaghetti sauce…delicious!

  23. Alison says:

    I follow you on twitter @sockmonkeydiva

  24. Mel says:

    I always make my grandmothers gefilta fish. There’s nothing like it. I follow you on pinterest and fb.

  25. Caroline says:

    My families tamale recipe Yumm

  26. Chana Rivka Hersh says:

    Would love to win a new cookbook; thanks for the review.

  27. Hedy says:

    This book sounds like my family background. Chech-Hungarian (depending on the border). Rakott-Crumply I know well…a great Shavuot and break-the-fast dish.Just had it for Sukkot for a Milchig meal.There are so many more favorites from chicken soup (with dill) to apple strudel for dessert. I follow you on facebook and email.

  28. shoshana says:

    stuffed cabbage

  29. My favorite winter dish is my Mom’s cabbage soup with flanken. So glad I wrote down the recipe so that I can still make it for me and my Dad.

  30. Esther stein says:

    Love to win cookbook and explore recipes of the past

  31. Marnie says:

    Probably my Dad’s Matzoh Brei. It’s the only thing he cooked and it was always sweet. When I was in college we had a huge argument about the different ways it was made and I was shocked. I miss my dad and when I make Matzoh Brei I think of him.

  32. Marnie says:

    Oops. I follow via email.

  33. Erika says:

    I did not grow up with a grandmother. I made sure my kids spent time with my mother. My mom is a great baker,and my children, now grown up, will always remember the time they spent baking with her in her kitchen. My son’s favorite cake is her black forest and he still requests it for his birthdays.

  34. Dana S says:

    my moms kugel!

  35. Melissa says:

    My favorite family tradition food is my grandma’s pumpkin roll. She knows how to bake well, and that roll is simply amazing!

  36. Rena says:

    rakkot crumply is a huge one for me! we love our hungarian dishes!!

  37. Rena says:

    I like your page on facebook

  38. Rena says:

    Im following on instagram too

  39. Rena says:

    And on pinterest :)

  40. I love traditional Jewish food! This book looks amazing, and its recipes would definitely impress my Ashkenazi friends!

  41. Ronnie Fein says:

    What a lovely review! Brought back memories of my grandma too, who made so many special dishes, but my favorite has to be stuffed grape leaves, which later transformed into stuffed cabbage.

  42. Princess Lea says:

    I’m of Hungarian heritage, and have probably eaten chicken paprikas once a week my entire life, and it never, ever gets old.

    All hail káposztás tészta!

  43. Rhonda Yusem says:

    Our tried and true family recipe is Chopped Liver. When my son was only 6 months old, he “helped” my mom make some for the holidays….May all family traditions keep on, for many generations!!!!!

  44. Pamela Rosenfelder says:

    One of the recipes that deeply connects me to my maternal Grandmother, Selma z’l, is her Blintz Souffle. She served it several times through out the year but most notably on Shavuot and for break the fast.

    I can see Grandma in her “full” (as opposed to “half”) apron over a dress; she did not wear “slacks” until I was older. She often had more than one dish going at a time.

    For the Blintz Souffle, butter or margarine is melted in a Pyrex dish in the oven; blintzes are placed seam down in the dish. A creamy and bright tasting mixture of sour cream, eggs and orange juice gets whipped together and poured over the top.

    As the casserole bakes, the sour cream mixture puffs up and rises like a souffle. She served it with a sauce made from sweetened frozen strawberries mashed into sour cream.

    As the oldest grand child, I had my Grandma all to myself for several years. I was blessed to be able to stand on a chair next to her at the counter top to watch her measure, mix, our, slice and dice.

    After she passed, one of my cousins and I took all of the 3 x 5 recipe cards Grandma had in a tin box, self-publishing the recipes in a spiral bound book for family and friends, “From the Kitchen of Selma Hauptman.” I refer to it almost every day and each recipe I prepare brings many, many warm and loving memories.

  45. rochel rottenstin says:

    I am also child of Hungarian survivors and my mother did not write down all these recipes and would love to see them

  46. Deborah says:

    My grandma’s sweetbreads

  47. Cyndi R says:

    Food is what evokes earliest memories for us,, the smells, sights and sounds of our Bubbe’s kitchen. It’s the sweetness of life on your tongue, in your mouth and in your mind. We keep traditions and customs alive via the foods of our memories and youth. kasha varnishkes and apple strudel,.. while these may not win a “Blue Ribbon” at the 4H contest, they surely will the prize for bringing a smile to my lips.

  48. a zimmerman says:

    stuffed cabbages remind me of my Grandmother a’h.

  49. chaya says:

    My great grandmother’s super moist chocolate cake (made with mayonnaise) is still an all time favorite! Another grandmother still prepares stuffed cabbage for all the kids and grandkids each simchas torah, we can’t get enough of it!

  50. helen schwartz says:

    P’tcha was a favorite for us. That and some of the amazing baked goods. Hamantashen that were all perfect and rugelach that were almost cookie cutter

  51. Jody Rubin says:

    I follow you on pintrest. We have many traditional dishes that my family enjoys regularly, such as, chicken soup with matza balls and gefilte fish. We also love krepluck and babke. And of course, challah! We also enjoy kugels and kishke and blintzes. The list goes on and on…

  52. Yekkishe Bekishe says:

    Gruenkern Zuppe with Rauchfleisch, that is a real Ouneg Shabbos!

  53. sarah says:

    I have so many memories associated withwith Bubbie’s Mandelbroit. I would love to win this cookbook!

  54. janet lowtiz says:

    thank you for these yummy recipes always lkg for what to do with the esrog.

  55. I love the idea of this book, it’s nice to have traditional recipes like grandma used to make. My grandmother never measure either.

  56. shaina says:

    i follow you on Facebook

  57. Eileen Lapides says:

    I love blintzes

  58. Tamar says:

    Cheese blintzes!! I follow on facebook. I love reading cookbooks cover to cover.

  59. Aliza says:

    chicken soup! my father’s specialty :)

  60. YD Gordon says:

    My grandmother’s honey cake is a special family tradition. It is being passed from one generation to the next and all of my sisters and I know that this is what means Rosh Hashana is around the corner. This recipe is better than any other honey cake that we and any of our guests have had – and we gladly boast that it’s OUR Grandma’s

  61. hannah says:

    My grandmothers potato kugel. I follow you on Facebook :)

  62. Tamar Sturm says:

    my favorite dish is the stuffed cabbage that my bubbie A”H used to make. You could actually taste the love she poured into it after so many years of suffering she and my grandfather withstood during the holocaust. Even though she is not around today, all the girls in the family make her famous stuffed cabbage before Pesach. Best. Dish. Ever.

  63. Gwen says:

    We make a cookie recipe called family cookies. My mom found it years ago in ago newspaper. It’s a tradition in our family. I entered it in a contest once and it won, it’s that good!

  64. Bracha says:

    My mother’s chicken soup….

  65. chanie says:

    I bake challah with my mother’s challah recipe weekly.Delicious!

  66. Rachel rosin says:

    my mother’s family is from Iraq and so we have this great soup called shorba,a tomato soup with rice,potato and carrots…etc
    I also follow you on instagram and facebook.

  67. Elisa Gurevich says:

    Facebook and instagram

  68. Suri says:

    Following your blog and on instagram. Would love to win. Thanks

  69. Suri says:

    My grandmothers marble bundt cake.

  70. Chaya Suri says:

    Fresh chicken soup, and crispy latkes that’s my all time favorite comfort food! I love your blog and amazing recipes, you have really cool ideas and flavor mix! I love to try EVERYTHING you post and I’m never disappointed! Thank you! Ps. I follow you on instagram, Facebook, and pinterest

  71. I always say I want to make rakott krumpli. One day. I too love cookbooks not to use, but to get inspired from.

  72. helene berkowitz says:

    I so want to make my mommys and grandmas chicken fricasee but i cant remember how. I would very much appreciate a recipe. Thankyou so much

  73. Julia Kamen Birnbaum says:

    When I was growing up in Brooklyn, NY, there was a bakery called Finest. It was owned by a Hungarian Jewish family. They baked the best mandel brot. It contained chocolate and fruit and was soft. I would love a recipe as this bakery went out of business years ago.

  74. Carol schumacher says:

    My father Yitzhak Irving Hauptman made his mother’s stuffed cabbage with that sweet brown sauce that there was never enough of at the bottom of the pan. He served it with this glorious smile and always a history of his mother in Budapest. The story of how his father saw her carrying an entire log down the hillside and a week later went to the house to ask for her hand in marriage!

  75. Stanley G. Weiss says:

    My mother made a soup which she called “croit mit bundlach” in Yiddish.Main ingredients were red kidney beans, sauerkraut and cream. I would love to have the recipe.

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