Wednesday, November 4, 2020


   An integral part of Jewish life in America involves the preparation of foods that are eaten by the family together in an atmosphere of love and respect for one another, and for the Jewish community as a whole, including all the communities of the past whose people have helped to form what our community has become today. Judaism is a religion that provides nourishment for both body and soul. As the body is being nourished by the delicious dishes of the past, the soul is enriched by the symbolism of these dishes that reaches into the millennia to provide a link with our ancestors and that also teaches us lessons about our history and humanity in general. 

    While Judaism can be appreciated on a purely intellectual level, the true spirit, the Yiddishkeit, emanates from the nourishment and satisfaction of being in the midst of a loving family and community that supports us when we stumble and teaches us to attain our potential in society. This wonderful and ancient support group is being eroded in many ways in American society. Today, it is most likely that both father and mother work, leaving little time for moments of family togetherness. Very often, what little time the family has together is spent recuperating from the stresses of the day in front of a television screen. Fast food eaten by various family members, at whatever time is available between hectic schedules, has become a regular part of our culture. While this lifestyle may be economically enriching, it leaves a lot to be desired in the area of spiritual nourishment, not to mention physical nourishment.

    Traditional family get-togethers involving the preparation, serving and eating of a ceremonial meal can provide an antidote to the depersonalizing effects of American society. Judaism, in all the richness of its customs, rituals, laws, and history surrounding these preparations can provide the foundation for an equally rich moral, social, and spiritual relationship among family members.


1. The student will demonstrate his awareness of the relationship between the food he is preparing and the customs, rituals, laws and history of Judaism by responding correctly to questions regarding this relationship.

2. The student will demonstrate his knowledge of kitchen technique by performing tasks in the kitchen in the proper manner.

3. The student will show familiarity with the dishes prepared by responding correctly to questions regarding the preparation and some of the ingredients in these dishes.


    The curriculum is intended to be a three-year course of study with classes being convened at one week intervals. There are six courses of study, each consisting of 15–20 lessons. Each lesson is designed to fill a time slot of from 40 to 60 minutes. In order to tailor the recipes to fit this time slot, it is often necessary for the teacher to perform preparations which take as much time as the class itself. This is in addition to the time devoted to gathering materials and ingredients. Every attempt has been made to minimize this preparation time by providing lists for the teacher giving guidelines, and previewing the order in which the class will proceed. Good organization on the part of the teacher is essential to the smooth flow of activity in the kitchen.

The six courses of study are as follows:

  1. Bubbie's Kitchen—Traditional Jewish dishes for the holidays
  2. Jewish Foods and Traditions From Around The World—International recipes from both Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions
  3. Passover Feasts—A wealth of ideas for feasting in observance of Pesach kashrut
  4. Israeli Food— A look at the lifestyle in Israel and the distinctly Middle Eastern food that is a part of it
  5. Mishloach Manot for Purim—A treasury of goodies and ideas for presenting food gifts on Purim
  6. Jewish Life Cycle Cuisine—Food and traditions for special occasions that mark the milestones and simchas in the life of a Jewish family, i.e.: births, marriages, bar and bat mitzvot, namings, brit milot, etc.

Another consideration in designing this curriculum is the cost and difficulty of preparing fleishig recipes in a synagogue’s kosher kitchen. For this reason, most of the recipes included in this curriculum are dairy or pareve so that, if desired, only dairy or pareve equipment needs to be purchased. However, in order to give a well-rounded and representative sampling of our cuisine, some fleishig recipes have been included.


I. KITCHEN SKILLS - Teachers must have the following skills, as they are intended to teach them to the students:


    Students who have never cooked or followed a recipe before have a tendency to begin with the ingredient list, dump everything together in a bowl, and then say, “What do I do now?” At the very beginning, it is a wise idea to read over a recipe with your group and show them that to begin cooking, they must read over the recipe from start to finish once or twice to get a general idea of what is going on. The second reading is necessary when they are at home to make sure all the ingredients are assembled. Action begins with the first step of the directions, not the ingredients! As they are performing each step, the ingredient list is referred to for the quantities.

    All the recipes in this curriculum have been put forth in the same format. The relevant historical, religious, and traditional background is provided first. This is followed by a list of ingredients with quantities. The quantities are usually abbreviated; therefore, “c.” is cup, “t.” is teaspoon, “T.” is tablespoon, etc. Please make sure that the students are aware of the differences in these measurements or you might wind up when you are not looking with a cup of salt in a recipe instead of a teaspoon of salt. The ingredient list is followed by numbered directions which are intended to be performed in the order in which they are given. Sometimes, these numbered directions are divided by group numbers so that several operations can be going on simultaneously. This often facilitates the smooth flow of activity given the time restrictions involved. When a recipe is divided by group, each group begins with the first step of the directions for its group.


    Teachers must be familiar with the basic ingredients which are used in many recipes, such as: eggs, flour, sugar, butter, salt, common vegetables, etc. They must possess a knowledge of the basic language of cooking which includes words such as: braising, creaming, sautéing, boiling, baking, steaming, dicing, mincing, etc. An understanding of these two facets of cooking confers a knowledge of the practical chemistry involved as well. All basic cookbooks contain information of this type and are suggested for reference if there is any doubt.

    In addition, the teacher must be familiar with the tenets involved in keeping kosher. Utensils must be washed and stored separately for meat and dairy recipes and it is important within a synagogue or Jewish community center setting to be aware of which closets and drawers are meat and dairy and which sinks and counters are meat and dairy. Ingredients used should be checked in the usual way when purchased to ensure that the criteria for kashrut have been met.

    If an ingredient or preparation technique is unusual in some way, every effort will be made in the lesson for both the teacher and student to understand what they will be encountering.

    While the law-by-law rules of kashrut have not been stressed in each lesson, it is expected that the teacher will inject any pertinent observations regarding kashrut during the course of the lesson if it is thought to be appropriate. Other than the separation of meat and dairy ingredients, the one procedure that must be stressed in every lesson is the procedure for adding eggs to a recipe.

    Every time an egg is opened, it must be separated from the other ingredients to make sure it is kosher—then it can be added. Aside from a spoiled egg ruining all the other ingredients, there is the fact that if it contains even a speck of blood, it is not kosher. This is because a blood speck indicates that the egg has been fertilized, and so in Judaism, we consider it a life. Even as in an animal which has been slaughtered in a kosher manner, we are prohibited from eating blood, so in an egg the same rules apply.


    There is an entire course within this curriculum entitled “Passover Feasts” which observes the whole gamut of dietary laws which are special to Passover. During this facet of the curriculum there will be a special emphasis on these laws and the reasoning and traditions behind them.


    A comprehensive listing of equipment is provided elsewhere in this curriculum with suggestions regarding types and brands. Along with this list are suggestions for securing and maintaining equipment and supplies in the kitchen/classroom. This curriculum is designed to maximize the hands-on participation of the students. To this end, it is suggested that as necessary to the job, the student be familiarized with the practical workings of each piece of equipment along with common sense advice regarding safety. If a particular procedure is perceived as being tricky or dangerous in any way, the lesson will provide notation for both the teacher in the lesson outline, and the student in the lesson itself.


A. BUBBIE'S KITCHEN—This course is designed to introduce and familiarize the student with the Ashkenazic dishes that most American Jews associate with the Jewish holidays while, at the same time, to give a background of the religious, moral, and historical reasons why these dishes have come to be a part of a specific holiday. 

1. The student will be able to write a brief description of each holiday that includes the season when it is celebrated, the religious significance, and some of the dishes that are associated with its symbolism.

2. The student will demonstrate his understanding of the cooking techniques involved in the preparation of these dishes by helping to prepare them.

B. JEWISH FOOD AND TRADITIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD—The purpose of this course is to introduce a potpourri of unusual dishes with interesting symbolism or historical tradition—to show how diverse a people we are in culinary matters, while the ancient rules and laws are a common thread that ties us together.

1. The student will be able to identify the origin of each dish presented and its religious, symbolic, or traditional background.

2. The student will demonstrate his understanding of the cooking techniques involved in the preparation of these dishes by helping to prepare them.

C. PASSOVER FEASTS—This course is designed to familiarize the student with the special dietary laws and regulations governing the preparation of food for observance of this special holiday and to enable them to prepare all the foods that would be appropriate for the seders, including a family dinner.

1. The student will show familiarity with the special dietary laws governing the preparation of food during Passover by correctly responding to a True/False test about which foods are or are not acceptable during this holiday.

2. The student will demonstrate his knowledge of the religious significance of this holiday by participating in a seder.

D. ISRAELI FOOD—The purpose of this course is to present a glimpse of the lifestyle in Israel, the way the holidays are celebrated there, and the unique foods that are a part of the Middle Eastern culture.

1. The student will be able to identify the dishes in English when given the Hebrew names of these dishes, including the major ingredients. 

2. The student will be able to give some facts regarding the unique observance of Jewish holidays in Israel.

3. The student will demonstrate his understanding of the cooking techniques involved in the preparation of these dishes by helping to prepare them.

E. MISHLOACH MANOT FOR PURIM—This course is designed to teach the students to prepare foods which are easily stored and lend themselves to attractive presentation for gift-giving. The recipes are chosen for this purpose rather than for tradition. As in every country, the traditional foods are those which are best-liked and most familiar in that particular country.

1. The student will be able to explain the reasoning behind the giving of mishloach manot and its relationship to the holiday of Purim.

2. The student will prepare and give mishloach manot to friends or to charity.

F. JEWISH LIFE CYCLE CUISINE—This course introduces foods and traditions which relate to the milestones and simchas in the life a Jewish family, i.e.: births, marriages, bar and bat mitzvot, brit milah, etc.

1. The student will be able to describe at least one tradition that is uniquely Jewish associated with each of the life cycle celebrations and describe a dish that would be appropriate for this celebration.

2. The student will demonstrate his understanding of the cooking techniques involved in the preparation of these dishes by helping to prepare them.



    The “lesson objectives” for each lesson provide the teacher with a preview of what skills are necessary for the students to be able to prepare the recipe. Although this is designed to be a “hands on” curriculum for the students, it is often necessary for the teacher to demonstrate these skills for the students to perform. It is suggested that when previewing the lesson, the teacher be aware of which skills are necessary so as to be prepared to demonstrate them. Other objectives regarding the absorption of information regarding these dishes are included as well, and pertinent facts can be found in the section entitled “Food For Thought.”


    This section deals with the practical organization of the lesson including timing suggestions to keep the class running smoothly, what steps should be performed ahead of time by the teacher, and any specific knowledge of cooking techniques the teacher might find useful for this particular lesson.


    In this section, the teacher will find information regarding the significance, symbolism, religious law, or history regarding the particular recipe that is presented so as to be able to pass this information on to the students, as well as questions that might lead to relevant discussion about related aspects of Judaism.


    Each lesson includes a list of ingredients, equipment, and tools which are needed to implement the lesson, as well as suggested costs. These lists are meant to be used as checklists for the teacher in preparing for the lesson so that gathering together the necessary items in the classroom/kitchen is facilitated.

    The teacher is usually required to submit an itemized list of materials and ingredients used in order to be reimbursed by the school. Each list can be modified to represent the actual costs and submitted for reimbursement.


    A test will be provided at the end of each course with pertinent information regarding all facets of the course included. The use of these tests is optional for measuring the success of the students as they have already demonstrated a knowledge of the recipes, techniques and purpose by participating in the preparation of these recipes.


    The following lists assume a kosher kitchen is available with the standard amenities of kitchens, such as stove, sink, oven and counter space for working. Keeping equipment and supplies in closets in synagogue kitchens can be a very great source of frustration unless the closets lock and only the teacher has a key. Usually, many organizations within the synagogue use the kitchen and are not adverse to borrowing equipment and “leftover” food items, if they are easily accessible, with the result that the baking powder you left last week and were counting on for this week’s lesson has mysteriously disappeared. One solution to this problem is to obtain access to a locking cabinet within the kitchen, or find a closet that can be protected somewhere in the synagogue, and store the equipment in cardboard cartons on the shelves. Most synagogues have rolling carts on wheels and it is relatively easy to load the cartons onto these carts and wheel them into the kitchen as needed. To make your life as a cooking teacher possible, it cannot be overemphasized that you must have a secure place to store your equipment and supplies!

    The emphasis in the majority of the recipes in this curriculum has been on dairy and pareve dishes as in that way, it is possible to minimize the amount of equipment needed, and to avoid some of the stickier problems associated with preparing meat dishes in a synagogue’s kosher kitchen. There are a few recipes that include meat so as to give a representative sampling of dishes that are very traditional to our cooking.

    Needless to say, an investment in good quality equipment is most advisable as it will take a great deal of wear and tear.

    It is also assumed that class size will be anywhere from 6 to 15 students.

Dairy Equipment:

  • 2 sets of plastic graduated measuring cups
  • 1 1-cup glass measuring cup
  • 2 2-cup glass measuring cups
  • 1 4-cup glass measuring cup
  • 3 sets of measuring spoons
  • 4 rubber spatulas of different sizes
  • 1 metal spatula
  • 2 metal pancake turners
  • 1 cake tester
  • 2 large mixing spoons
  • 1 large slotted spoon
  • 1 large ladle
  • 6 wooden spoons of various sizes and shapes
  • 2 6 to 8-inch knives
  • 1 paring knife
  • 1 12-inch straight-edge knife
  • 1 12-inch wave-edge or serrated knife
  • 3 carbon-steel vegetable peelers
  • 2 9-inch layer cake pans with removable bottoms
  • 4 large jelly roll pans (to be used also as cookie sheets)
  • 6 mini muffin pans (1-1/4 inch diameter cups)
  • 1 12-cup bundt pan
  • 1 deep-fat/candy thermometer
  • scissors
  • 4 fluted pastry wheels
  • 1 strainer with handle or sifter (after years in the catering business, I prefer stirring dry ingredients through a medium strainer, rather that exhausting my hands with the standard type of sifter where one pulls on the handle).
  • 1 dozen assorted sizes of plastic buckets with lids—These are the type used by delicatessens to send out quantities of potato salad and cole slaw. They should be of a heavy quality of plastic and can be used as canisters for storing flour, sugar, etc. and also as mixing bowls and for bringing home leftovers. They come in an assortment of sizes from 1 cup to 1 gallon.
  • 1 Electric Mixer (preferably a Kitchen-Aid) The mixer will take a great deal of wear and tear and this particular type is very durable. It also comes equipped with different types of beaters for whipping, beating, and making bread. If it is to be available for synagogue use, there are also many attachments that can be purchased for it. The grinder is particularly useful for making gefilte fish and chopped liver, among other items.
  • 1 Food Processor with attachments for grating, chopping and blending.
  • I graduated set of heavy-bottomed pots and pans with lids (including 1-qt., 2-qt., 4-qt., 6-qt., 8-qt. pots, 10-inch diameter frying pan, and strainer-type pot insert for 6-qt. pot.)
  • 4-6 rolling pins (these can be made cheaply by buying a thick dowel stick and having someone cut it into rolling pin size lengths.)
  • 1 wire whisk
  • 1 colander
  • 4 small non-stick surface frying pans (6 or 7 inches in diameter)
  • 2 small glass bowls or custard cups
  • 2 2-qt. glass serving bowls
  • disposable-type wipes to be used as dishcloths
  • dishwashing soap
  • dishtowels
  • pot holders
  • rubber gloves
  • 2 2-inch paint brushes
  • paper supplies such as: towels, napkins, plates, plastic knives, forks, spoons

Meat Equipment

  • 1 2-qt. pot
  • 1 heavy-bottomed 6-qt. pot with lid
  • 1 heavy-bottomed 8-qt. pot with lid
  • 2 large mixing spoons
  • 1 large slotted spoon
  • 1 long-pronged meat fork
  • 1 large ladle
  • 3 wooden measuring spoons, various sizes
  • 2 6- to 8-inch knives
  • 1 large strainer
  • 1 paring knife
  • 1 12-inch knife
  • 2 carbon-steel vegetable peelers
  • 1 set plastic graduated measuring cups
  • 1 4-cup glass measuring cup
  • 1 set measuring spoons
  • 1 pancake turner
  • 2 rubber spatulas
  • 1 colander 

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Welcome to Bubbie’s Kitchen

     An integral part of Jewish life in America involves the preparation of foods that are eaten by the family together in an atmosphere of ...