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Food for Thought

Ruth Madoff's Cookbook

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While Bernie Madoff spends the rest of his life in prison, his wife Ruth will have plenty of time to work on a second cookbook. Yes, a second cookbook. Ruth Madoff edited a cookbook in 1996 called The Great Chefs of America Cook Kosher, which has garnered its own bit of controversy. Ruth, along with her friend Idee Schoenheimer, is credited as an executive editor of this spiral-bound work, although according to an article in the New York Times a few months ago, the book is really the work of food writer Karen MacNeil. In the article, MacNeil (who is credited as editor of the book) claims she was paid to write the entire book...and did. Ruth Madoff may have had her own author blurb, but according to MacNeil, Madoff didn't write a word. Rather, she simply wanted to be part of something "fun." The book features recipes from top chefs around the country who have adapted their dishes to fit the requirements of a kosher kitchen. Many of the recipes are simply reprinted from the chef's own cookbooks and hardly require any culinary creativity to make them kosher. For example, Lidia Bastianich shares her recipe of pappardelle with fresh porcini sauce -- taken from her book La Cucina di Lidia -- while Al Forno owners Johanne Killeen and George Germon include their recipe for roasted asparagus. In other words, simple recipes already fit for a kosher kitchen. It's also questionable whether the Madoff's even keep kosher. The Times article refers to a London Daily Mail article which claimed that Bernie was a big fan of pork sausages, "taboo under any definition of kosher cooking." Rest assured, the New York Public Library has the book in its holdings, and unlike Mr. Madoff's Ponzi scheme, it won't cost you a dime.

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