Old cuisine from UAdelaide or how do you say VEGAN in Hebrew, Yiddish, French, German, Polish, Hungarian and Romanian?

I found an excellent source of free e-books–The University of Adelaide in Australia.  http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/   (I hear that Australia will declare itself a republic as soon as Queen Elizabeth dies).


Adelaide ebooks have a copyright advantage over free ebook sites in the United States.  According to the Adelaide website, books published before 1955 are not subject to Australian copyrights.  In the United States, most books published after 1925 could be subject to copyright.  Therefore, in Australia more books are in the public domain.   The Adelaide website cautions readers that they must obey the copyright laws of their home countries, which I know that you will.

One of the gems I found through Adelaide was the The International Jewish Cookbook by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum, second edition 1919.  The Adelaide listing is a linked to gutenberg.org.  http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/12350/pg12350.html   The ebook is available in html, mobi, and epub formats.

The book is subtitled 1600 Recipes According to the Jewish Dietary Laws with the Rules for Kashering; The Favorite Recipes of America, Austria, Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Roumania, Etc., Etc.

The recipes are a time warp.  They represent how poor people survived, using every part of the animal they could.

Here are a few recipes.  How times have changed.



Save every scrap of fat each day; try out all that has accumulated; however small the quantity. This is done by placing the scraps in a frying-pan on the back of the range. If the heat is low, and the grease is not allowed to get hot enough to smoke or burn, there will be no odor from it. Turn the melted grease into tin pails and keep them covered. When six pounds of fat have been obtained, turn it into a dish-pan; add a generous amount of hot water, and stand it on the range until the grease is entirely melted. Stir it well together; then stand it aside to cool. This is clarifying the grease. The clean grease will rise to the top, and when it has cooled can be taken off in a cake, and such impurities as have not settled in the water can be scraped off the bottom of the cake of fat.

Put the clean grease into the dish-pan and melt it. Put a can of Babbitt’s lye in a tin pail; add to it a quart of cold water, and stir it with a stick or wooden spoon until it is dissolved. It will get hot when the water is added; let it stand until it cools. Remove the melted grease from the fire, and pour in the lye slowly, stirring all the time. Add two tablespoons of ammonia. Stir the mixture constantly for twenty minutes or half an hour, or until the soap begins to set.

Let it stand until perfectly hard; then cut it into square cakes. This makes a very good, white hard soap which will float on water.



Clean as described in calf’s brains cooked sour; wipe dry, roll in rolled cracker flour, season with salt and pepper and fry as you would cutlets.


Clean as described above. Lay in ice-cold salted water for an hour. Cut up an onion, a few slices of celery root, a few whole peppers, a little salt and a crust of rye bread. Lay the brains upon this bed of herbs and barely cover with vinegar and water. Boil about fifteen minutes, then lift out the brains, with a perforated skimmer, and lay upon a platter to cool. Take a “lebkuchen,” some brown sugar, a tablespoon of molasses, one-half teaspoon of cinnamon, a few seedless raisins and a few pounded almonds. Moisten this with vinegar and add the boiling sauce. Boil the sauce ten minutes longer and pour scalding over the brains. Eat cold and decorate with slices of lemon.


Put one tablespoon of fat in skillet, and when hot add two tablespoons of flour, rub until smooth, and brown lightly, then add one-half can of tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, finely-chopped parsley, and a dash of cayenne pepper, and the brains which have previously been cleaned, scalded with boiling water, and cut in small pieces. Cook a few minutes, and then fill the shells with the mixture. Over each shell sprinkle bread crumbs, and a little chicken-fat. Put shells in pan and brown nicely. Serve with green peas.


Wash brains well, skin, boil fifteen minutes in salt water; slice in stew-pan some onions, salt, pepper, ginger and a cup of stock. Put in the brains with a little marjoram; let it cook gently for one-half hour. Mix yolks of two eggs, juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of flour, a little chopped parsley; when it is rubbed smooth, stir it into saucepan; stir well to prevent curdling.



Take one calf’s head, wash well; put on to boil with four and one-half quarts of water; add two red peppers, onions, celery, carrots, cloves, salt to taste, and a little cabbage; boil six hours; also, have ready some meat stock; the next day put fat in a skillet with two large tablespoons of flour; let it brown; then, take the calf’s head and cut all the meat from it in pieces; add the calf’s tongue, cut in dice. Slice hard-boiled eggs, one glass of sherry; and one lemon sliced; put all in the stock; allow it to come just to a boil,


Remove veins and arteries from the hearts. Stuff with a highly seasoned bread dressing and sew. Dredge in flour, brown in hot fat, cover with hot water, and place on the back of the stove or in a hot oven. Cook slowly for two or three hours. Thicken the liquor with flour and serve with the hearts.


All goose meat tastes better if it is well rubbed with salt, ginger and a little garlic a day previous to using.

Stuff goose with bread dressing, or chestnut dressing, a dressing of apples is also very good. (See “Stuffings for Meat and Poultry”.) Sew up the goose, then line a sheet-iron roasting-pan with a few slices of onion and celery and place the goose upon these, cover closely, roast three hours or more, according to weight. If the goose browns too quickly, cover with greased paper or lower the heat of the oven. Baste every fifteen minutes.


Take a very fat goose for this purpose. After cleaning and singeing, cut off neck, wings and feet. Lay the goose on a table, back up, take a sharp knife, make a cut from the neck down to the tai. Begin again at the top near the neck, take off the skin, holding it in your left hand, your knife in your right hand, after all the skin is removed, place it in cold water; separate the breast from back and cut off joints. Have ready in a plate a mixture of salt, ginger and a little garlic or onion, cut up fine. Rub the joints and small pieces with this, and make a small incision in each leg and four in the breast. Put in each incision a small piece of garlic or onion, and rub also with a prepared mixture of salt and ginger. Put away in stone jar overnight or until you wish to use.



Rub wings, neck, gizzard, heart and back of goose with salt, ginger, pepper and garlic and set on the fire in a stew-pan with cold water. Cover tightly and stew slowly but steadily for four hours. When done skim off all the fat. Now put a spider over the fire, put into it about two or three tablespoons of the fat that you have just skimmed off and then add the fat to the meat again. Cut up fine a very small piece of garlic and add a heaping teaspoon of flour (brown). Add the hot gravy and pour all over the goose. Cover up tightly and set on back of stove till you wish to serve. You may cook the whole goose in this way after it is cut up.


Remove skin from neck of goose, duck or chicken in one piece. Wash and clean well and stuff with same mixture as for Kischtke. Sew at both ends and roast in hot oven until well browned.



Remove the fat skin from the neck of a fat goose, being careful not to put any holes in it. Clean carefully and sew up the smaller end and stuff through larger end with the following:

Grind fine some pieces of raw goose meat (taken from the breast or legs), grind also some soft or “linda fat” a thin piece of garlic, a small piece of onion, when fine add one egg and a little soaked bread, season with salt, pepper, and ginger. When neck is stuffed, sew up larger end, lay it in a pudding-pan, pour a little cold water over it, set in stove and baste from time to time. Let brown until crisp. Eat hot.


Cut the thick fat of a fat goose in pieces as big as the palm of your hand, roll together and run a toothpick through each one to fasten. Put a large preserve kettle on top of hot stove, lay in the cracklings, sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over them and pour in a cup or two of cold water; cover closely and let cook not too fast, until water is cooked out. Then add the soft or “linda” fat, keep top off and let all brown nicely. About one to two hours is required to cook them. If you do not wish the scraps of “Greben” brittle, take them out of the fat before they are browned. Place strainer over your fat crock, to catch the clear fat and let greben drain. If greben are too greasy place in baking-pan in oven a few minutes to try out a little more. Serve at lunch with rye bread.


The best way to roast a goose breast is to remove the skin from the neck and sew it over the breast and fasten it with a few stitches under the breast, making an incision with a pointed knife in the breast and joints of the goose, so as to be able to insert a little garlic (or onion) in each incision, also a little salt and ginger. Keep closely covered all the time, so as not to get too brown. They cut up nicely cold for sandwiches.



If too fat to roast, render the fat of goose, remove and cut the skin into small pieces. The scraps, when brown, shriveled and crisp, are then “Greben,” and are served hot or cold. When fat is nearly done or clear, add the breast and legs of goose, previously salted, and boil in the fat until tender and browned. Place meat in crock and pour the clear, hot fat over it to cover. Cool. Cover crock with plate and stone and keep in a cool, dry place. Will keep for months. When ready to serve, take out meat, heat, and drain off fat.


Dried or smoked goose breast must be prepared in the following manner: Take the breast of a fat goose; leave the skin on; rub well with salt, pepper and saltpetre; pack in a stone jar and let it remain pickled thus four or five days. Dry well, cover with gauze and send away to be smoked.


Remove skin. Place legs, neck and skin of neck of geschundene goose (fat goose) to one side. Scrape the meat carefully from the bones, neck, back, etc., of the goose, remove all tendons and tissues and chop very fine. Fill this in the skin of the neck and sew up with coarse thread on both ends. Rub the filled neck, the legs and the breast with plenty of garlic (sprinkle with three-eighths pound of salt and one tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of saltpetre), and enough water to form a brine. Place the neck, legs and breast in a stone jar, cover with a cloth and put weights on top. Put aside for seven days, turn once in a while. Take out of the brine, cover with gauze and send to the butcher to smoke. When done, serve cold, sliced thin.



Cut up, after being skinned, and stew, seasoning with salt, pepper, a few cloves and a very little lemon peel. When done heat a little goose fat in a frying-pan, brown half a tablespoon of flour, add a little vinegar and the juice of half a lemon.


Take the entire breast of a goose, chop up fine in a chopping bowl; grate in part of an onion, and season with salt, pepper and a tiny piece of garlic. Add some grated stale bread and work in a few eggs. Press this chopped meat back on to the breast bone and roast, basting very often with goose fat.

Vegan, anyone?  Bon appetit.


What’s Left? What’s Right?

Back in college, I had a professor who ruined my life.  He taught courses in the politics of Indochina and China—-the revolutionary movements, the counter-revolutionary movements, the conspiracies, the undergrounds, the spies, the double and triple dealings, the sell-outs and the crooks, and a score of three and four letter abbreviations for all kinds of political parties.  I have been hooked to this day.

With this personal perspective, I emphatically recommend What’s Left?What’s Right?:  A Political Journey via North Korea and the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Troubador Publishing) by Muriel Seltman.


Now in her 80’s, Seltman spent a lifetime in and around the Communist Party of Great Britain.  Seltman was never a leader and never a party bureaucrat.  In American terms, she and her late husband, Peter, were ward-heelers and committee people.  She attended meetings, circulated petitions, knocked on doors to sell the Daily Worker, and attended demonstrations.  She conducted study sessions in her party cell.  Through it all, she taught mathematics and her husband was in academia.

Around 1960, an ideological split occurred between the Soviet Union and China.  Seltman believed that the Chinese view of Marxism was correct and the Soviet view was revisionist.  Having sided with China, she and her husband were expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain.  

To prove their commitment to communism, they accepted jobs in China.  Upon arriving in China she was dispatched to North Korea where she taught English.  She frankly describes how the cult of personality, rather than communism as she understood it, controlled everything in North Korea.

After a few months in North Korea, Mr. and Mrs. Seltman requested to return to China, where she taught English and he worked as an editor of English language publications.  The Cultural Revolution broke out while they were in China.  Again, Seltman frankly and critically reports the betrayal of communism as she understood it.

Upon returning to Britain, Mr. and Mrs. Seltman re-evaluated their Marxism and studied the history of Maoist thought.  They remained active in leftist causes for the remainder of their lives.


Muriel Seltman demonstrates about Iran in 2009

This book should be a college text.  Seltman gives clear explanations of Marxist theory.  She uses enough movement jargon to be entertaining without being puzzling.   Marxists are great at analyzing but terrible at running things.  She gives good explanations of class conflicts, particularly for the Israeli-Arab divide.  Notwithstanding her sympathy for the oppressed and exploited, she gives a fair treatment to the Israeli side.

Seltman says upfront that the book is a political biography.  Unlike many memoirs and biographies, she keeps the story of her intimate relationships out of the book.  Though born of Jewish parents, she avoids ethnic stereotypes.  She does not attribute her communism to the anti-Semitism her family experienced in England.

What’s Left?  What’s Right? is not for every reader, but if you like ideology, travel, and radical movements it is a great read.  


Wise guys, Naples style

One of the fun things about Philadelphia is reading about the “wise guys,” the junior mobsters who are portrayed in the media as not being very good at what they do.


Italian journalist Franco Di Mare has done a masterful job of portraying the Naples version of that profession in The Paradise of the Devils (Open Road Integrated Media). 

Reading this book is like visiting the city, as Di Mare describes the low income neighborhoods, the patterns of the streets, the housing stock, the cafes, the cuisine, the stores, the businesses, the factories, the shadows, the light and the smells.  

The people in these neighborhoods have to contend with an additional layer of government.   I speak of the gangs who oversee the life on the street, peddling drugs, selling protection, and maintaining order by keeping rival gangs out of the community.

Central to The Paradise of the Devils is the life and death of the hit men, who are portrayed as young professionals able to support themselves by almost daily killings.


Franco Di Mare

Di Mare tells a good story about a journalist, a hit man with a conscience, and a life that unravels when an unwitting wife discovers some long black hairs on her couch.

The book does not credit a translator, but if there was one, he or she has done an excellent job.  My Kindle Fire HD decided that the book was translated, because the keyboard has shifted from English to Italian (.it instead of .com, spazio instead of space and cancella instead of cancel).  When I try to type an email, the spell check decides that my English words are really Italian and changes the spelling.

The Paradise of the Devils is a great read.  Get it, but convince your Kindle that it is in English.