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The Jewish Manual

First English Language Jewish Cook Book

Lady Montefiore wrote “The Jewish Manual” because of the increasing enthusiasm amongst the Jews in their ancient roots, traditions, and cook. It outlined the procedures necessary to adhere to the individual conduct expressed in the Bible, in Leviticus (in Hebrew Vayikra).
Although many cookbooks published prior to The Jewish Manual were full of information, they were worthless to the Jewish servant. None of them consisted of distinctively Jewish recipes nor considered the scripturally forbidden items and food combinations deemed essential elements of a dish in the Hebrew kitchen.
Lady Montefiore sought to make the art of cooking as effortless as possible by making her recipes straightforward, simple, and succinct. She was attentive to the details concerning the exactness and cost of the portions allotted. Her meals could be depended on, because she’d had them prepared and analyzed in her own kitchen. She deliberately disregarded all laborious and costly methods of cooking as opposite to the aim of her cookbook; which was to instruct the Jewish housemaid in the extravagance and frugality of the table, on which most of the gratification of social interaction hinges.

Preliminary Remarks by the Author

We avail ourselves of the opportunity our editorial capacity affords, to express our hope, that with all its faults and deficiencies “The Jewish Manual” may prove to the homemaker a useful assistant, and be fortunate enough to meet with their lenient, kind, and favorable consideration.

“Our collection will be found to contain all the best recipes, hitherto bequeathed only by memory or manuscript, from one generation to another of the Jewish nation, and those which come under the denomination of plain English dishes; and also, such French ones as are now used at all refined modern tables”.

About the book

Published in London in 1846, “The Jewish Cookbook” is the first Jewish cookbook on personal hygiene and social deportment written in English, and it reflects the social and economic status of English Jews.
The focus of the book is on the East European and Russian Jews whose descendants represent the majority of the English speaking’ Jews. Because historical documents were rare, not much was known about the English Jewish community. This book is evidence of Lady Montefiore’s faithfulness to Judaism; and her position of affluence in English society.

Judith Montefiore

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