Modest and surprisingly unorganized, my mothers cookbook is a collection of the best loved recipes that our family enjoys to this day. Mary Leib is a beautiful 94 year old grandmother, who as a student of women’s creative arts, sketched wonderful pictures, designed and sewed fashionable ready wear and evening wear , knitted and crocheted intricate and adorable sweaters, baked praiseworthy holiday and celebration cakes and cookies, and made guest worthy family dinners every night.
For me, the special charm of this cookbook is that Mary gathered recipes from many women in our family who represented Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Austrian old country heritages and incorporated the American homemaking and techniques that she learned as a first generation American. She was always asking for and improving on recipes from her friends, but seemed to always give them credit.
Recipes have titles like Olga’s Stuffed Cabbage, Florence’s Pirogues, and Gertrude’s Meat Loaf. There are instructions from her own mother as to how to cook and stuff a turkey, and a winning recipe for stuffed cabbage. One of my favorite recipes is a Passover sponge cake that she used to have to make not only for us, but to share with other friends and family. Growing up, Mom was a wonderful and generous cook and baker, and also a patient teacher of her craft to her three children. The recipe book is worn and falling apart, but the memories of her wonderful kitchen are strong.
– Donna Leib Divon