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Food for Thought
Famous Recipes for Jewish Housewives: Advertising Booklets in the Jewish Division
Manischewitz, Hebrew National, Wolff's Kasha, Empire Kosher Poultry--it's no surprise that these companies have produced Jewish cookbooks over the years. But advertising booklets have been around since the nineteenth century, and lots of (non-Jewish) companies have tried to attract Jewish customers with recipe booklets, a wide array of which can be rediscovered in NYPL's Dorot Jewish Division.
The Rumford Baking Powder Company of Rumford, R.I. issued Famous recipes for Jewish housewives in 1940. Other examples include Betty Crocker kosher desserts, Knott's Berry Farm kosher cookbook, Crisco recipes for the Jewish housewife (in English and Yiddish), and the Jewish holiday cookbook from Planters Peanut Oil.
Food companies also attracted Jewish consumers with Jewish calendars that emphasized the kashrut ("kosherness") of the product. The National Sugar Refining Company published a calendar with recipes in 1956, while Drake's Hebrew-English calendar and reference book, 1946-1947 urged us to "Get in the habit and buy all Drake's cake" because "pound cake, Yankee Doodles, sponge cake, coffee cake, cookies, donuts, and all other varieties of cakes sold in your neighborhood retail stores-- Drake's Cake is kosher."
It wasn't just food manufacturers that published recipe booklets. The Waring Company included a special section on Jewish dishes, with standards like kishke, gefilte fish, and potato pancakes, in its 1953 Modern magic in food preparation with the Waring blendor (yes, that's how the company spelled "blender" in those days).
Other kinds of companies, including public utilities, catered to their Jewish customers. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power published Holiday recipes for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkoth, and the Southern California Gas Company issued Kosher recipes for the holiday and everyday, both in the 1960s. Radiation Limited, an English stove maker, offered Some traditional Jewish recipes in the 1930s. The booklet promoted a newfangled contraption: a stove that allowed you to easily change the oven's temperature.