Friday, July 01, 2011

Book Review: From the Jewish Heartland

Steinberg, Ellen F. and Prost, Jack H. From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2011.

Authors Ellen F. Steinberg and Jack H. Prost have done a marvelous job combining social history with cookbooks and recipes to create an outstanding book on Jewish foodways in the Midwestern United States over the last two centuries. The authors have examined extensive published and unpublished sources, and their research is evident. As a genealogist, my favorite portions of the book were those which talked about Jewish culture and shared recipes from eras long ago, especially when the sources of such recipes were handwritten cookbooks or other manuscripts. I loved that they had researched in newspapers and manuscript collections to find the materials to adequately document their research. They did not overlook the many resources which can be found on the Internet. Carefully chosen photographs and facsimiles illustrate the text. This book will be treasured by persons interested in Jewish history, those interested in foodways of various ethnic groups, and by genealogists and other historians. This review is based on an advance reader's e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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