Such Dairy Good Memories
Judi Permut lives in Israel and I live in Toronto, we share many common memories
despite the fact that we’ve never met. We’re both originally from Winnipeg
and we both love to cook. Apparently, our mothers knew each other before
Judi’s family made aliya to Israel over 30 years ago. Even our grandparents
knew each other.
Judi and I began corresponding by email this past winter, my mother told me an
amazing story which surprisingly, I’d never heard before. Apparently, my zaida
(grandfather) had wanted to marry Judi’s baba (grandmother), but she refused
him and married someone she had known since childhood! Such curious twists of
fate – her zaida could have been mine if things had turned out differently,
but then I wouldn’t be me and she wouldn’t be her!
and I “met” several months ago in cyberspace. She emailed me asking for
advice on writing a cookbook using her late mother’s recipes and memoirs.
Judi’s mother, Ruby Permut z”l, was a food maven par excellence, which was
validated by my mother, who declared, "Ruby Permut was always an excellent
cook and baker!"
taught international cooking classes and also wrote articles for several
Winnipeg Jewish newspapers right up until the time she passed away. A year or so
before she died, Ruby had started to collect her articles, papers and clippings,
wanting to publish them in a cookbook of her 25 years as a food writer. Sadly,
she never fulfilled her wish. Encouraged by close friends and family, her
daughter Judi has decided to publish it in her mother’s memory.
wrote, “The book won’t be just a cookbook, because when mom wrote her
columns, there were always small stories that went along with each recipe,
giving it its special character. Some of these stories are from the north end of
old Winnipeg and bring back a lot of nostalgia. Some stories are from my
mother’s roots in Russia and her family or from people she met along her way.
Mom always gave credit if a recipe wasn’t hers and at times even had a story
how and why that person gave her the recipe.”
are Judi Permut’s special memories of Shavuot, along with some wonderful
recipes from her late mother’s collection that she plans on including in the
book. Enjoy the flavor of nostalgia!
for us was a double celebration. Erev was Baba Dvora’s z”l birthday, so we
used the holiday to celebrate her birthday. Mom made things that she liked and
her birthday cake was actually cheesecake with a different topping each year. (A
family argument ensued each year of whose cheesecake recipe was better, my
mom’s, Betty Wohl’s or Betty Muttner’s). For those who didn’t like
cheesecake, like me, there was always my mom’s famous apple pie.
story that Baba used to tell us about her life as a child in Kopatkevichi is
that even though she was the second eldest, this was the only holiday that she
didn’t have to work hard or wash the “mud” floor of their house because it
was her birthday! And then she would go into explaining how to wash a mud floor!
decorated the living room/dining room with greens and flowers because of it
being the holiday of the first harvest. Mom would make blintzes with different
kinds of fillings: cheese, rice and cheese, and fruit-filled (cherries,
blueberries and apple).
always started the meal off with two different kinds of cold borscht, depending
on what you liked. Always available was beet borscht served with sour cream and
cucumbers slices and also a sorrel one which was a bit bitter, but great.
made a point of serving fish in some way – usually baking fish in vegetables.
There were also different kinds of kugels. Actually, one noodle kugel had apples
and cheese in it. The recipe came from a relative of dad’s in the States.
There was a “foileh” (lazy) knische recipe which belonged to a relative of
mom’s (Minnie Shurvel Libin), who had moved to Calgary. It was wonderful.
going through papers I have discovered things that I never knew she wrote and a
lot that has brought back heavy memories for me… almost to the point of
bringing tears to my eyes. This has definitely been a walk down nostalgia
CHEESE LOAF (Mom)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package dry cottage cheese (about 1 lb.)
1 tbsp. butter
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. sugar
Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, milk, sifted flour, salt and baking
powder. Mix well. Pour 3/4 of the loaf batter into pan. (It’s not marked on
the card, but from memory, Mom used a 9×13 inch pan, I think.)
ingredients for filling. Place filling on top. Pour balance of batter on top.
Bake at 350°F for approximately 1 hour.
KNISHES (Minnie Libin z”l (Shurvel) of Calgary )
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup crisco shortening
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
butter and shortening together with flour and salt, using a pastry blender. Add
sour cream, baking powder and sugar. Work with your hands to make a soft dough.
Wrap in wax paper and keep it in fridge overnight.
2 lbs. dry cottage cheese
salt and sugar, to taste
ingredients for filling and mix well.
dough into 6 portions. Roll out thinly. Fill dough and form into long rolls.
Place on a greased baking sheet and cut into individual knishes, but don’t cut
right through. Bake at 350°F for 3/4 hour, until golden brown.
1/2 cup melted butter
3 tbsp. sugar
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. baking powder
12 oz. pkg. cottage cheese
eggs, butter, sugar together. Add flour, salt and 2 tsp. baking powder. Add
cottage cheese and mix well. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350°F to
375°F for 15 to 20 minutes.