Once a book is authored, published, and printed, there’s the added joy of sharing the finished product. At a recent outdoor music and cultural festival, I did just that. With the goal that A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way reach those who could benefit, the festival was wonderful in so many ways.
Because the festival was in Syracuse, NY, my hometown, my family who live in the area gathered in a show of support. My brothers Larry and Richard delivered and set up a long table with chairs to display my books. My young grandniece Kara set out the tablecloth, arranged books and business cards, filled the candy jar, and displayed a plaque with the words, “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” My nephews Jacob and David and others stood watch. Our table looked very inviting!
The first person to stop by bought A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. She noted that the $18 price tag was a very good sign, since 18 is the number for Chai, which is Hebrew for life. Passers-by perused the book, delighted to find recipes for food they love, contributed by, in some cases, people they knew. I discovered that foodies love to cook, bake, eat—and talk!
I was happy to meet Kara’s friend Sophie. It turned out that her mom is the second cousin of one of my oldest and dearest Syracuse friends who has some recipes in the book. It was my pleasure to give Sophie’s mom my book as a thank-you for her kindness to Kara.
A childhood friend Myra and her adult daughter Lisa stopped by. I had not seen them in 25 years and pointed out that Rose, who was Myra’s mom and Lisa’s grandmother, gave my mom (my much loved Ma) a wonderful recipe for strudel, which is included in the Cookies and Pastries section of my book.
When I recognized a passerby as a member of the clergy who, faithfully and compassionately, visited my dear Ma daily during her final days, I greeted him but could not speak for several long moments, viscerally feeling again those difficult days. In gratitude for his support, I gave him A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way where he will get to know my Ma at her best as well as the many loved ones she nourished.
My cousin Maxine greeted visitors to our table, sharing her enthusiasm for the recipes and snippets of family lore that season the book’s pages. My sister Sandy stopped by just in time to hear a gentleman named Harold describe a recipe that his mother brought with her from Europe many years ago.
At home, from her collection of treasured recipes, Sandy retrieved a recipe for plum kuchen that looked very close to the recipe Harold described. She wrote, “Mrs. M always brought it for holiday meals or a Sunday pizza night. She was a terrific cook. I’m sure this recipe came with her from Germany.” May this plum kuchen—provided here for Harold and for you—sweeten your days.
- Sift into a bowl: 1 1/2 cups flour; 2 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt; and 1/2 cup sugar
- Add to the bowl and cut the mixture until it is crumbly: 1/2 cup oil
- Add to the bowl and stir until moist: 1 egg, beaten; and 1/2 cup milk
- Spread the dough onto a greased 9 x 9 in. square pan
- On top of the dough, add: 12 large plums, halved, pitted, and sliced; and a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Drizzle with: 3 tbsp melted butter
- Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
P.S. Harold said his mother’s recipe also included prunes and apples. If you like, just include those with the plums. Her topping also had walnuts, which you can easily mix with the sugar and cinnamon. Sound delicious? Give it a try, and enjoy.