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The Brooklyn Cookbook

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​This is one of the real gems of my cookbook collection, and I'm not just saying that because I'm from Brooklyn. Alright, maybe I am just saying that because I'm from Brooklyn, but how can you not be impressed with a selection of recipes that includes Mrs. Stahl's Knishes; Dee Dee Daily's Pigeon Peas and Rice; The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Herb Bread; Cheesecake from Junior's; Danny Kaye's Szechwan Beef wrapped in "Chinese tortillas"; Kibbee Bissaneeyeh (Lebanese lamb with wheat); Blackout Cake from Ebinger's Bakery (!); Jamaican Beef Patties; Herring, German Deli Style; Kottbullar (Swedish Meatballs); Phil Rizzuto's Sausage Rolls; Puerto Rican Sofrito; and Henny Youngman's Cheese Blintzes?

The book was published in 1991, and contains 250 recipes divided into the borough's nationalities. There are also chapters on comestibles made, sold, and served in Brooklyn, and a look at early Brooklyn and the various neighborhoods. In between recipes are stories about Brooklyn history -- from The Brooklyn Dodgers to The Lubavitcher Hasidim to the story behind Fox's U-Bet Syrup (AKA The Brooklyn Elixir). The black & white photos throughout the book are old and intriguing.

This is a community cookbook in the real sense -- and boy, what a community (if separated from NYC, Brooklyn would be the fourth largest city in America; it is estimated that one out of every seven United States citizens has roots here). Because of the borough's diversity, this is also an international cookbook. It cost me $23 in 1991, but apparently this has become a classic: Amazon has it new starting at $63.98, and used for $17.98.

Tomorrow: A recipe for Kasha Varnishkas!

The Brooklyn Cookbook
Authors: Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy, Jr.
Alfred Knopf Publishers

Amazon ranking: #266,660

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