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South African Jewish Cullinary History

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

The South African Jewish Cookbook Project is a digital collection of Jewish cookbooks published in South Africa from the 1940s to the present. This site aims to preserve the rich culinary heritage of South African Jewry, and to shed new light on the social and cultural history of South African Jewish women.

Hi everyone,

I'm really excited to share with you all that the South African Jewish Cookbook Project is now online! You can find it here: http://sajewishcookbooks.org.za.

I am so grateful to Geraldine for championing this project, and I am indebted to Geraldine, Joan, Laura, Gwynne and other members of this group for generously sharing or offering to share their cookbooks with us.

I am also hugely grateful to Prof. Adam Mendelsohn, Katie Garrun, Ben Vigne, Alex Abrahams, and the whole team at the Kaplan Centre, for partnering with me on this, and to Veronica Belling for her support.

I hope you enjoy using it, and please feel free to share your thoughts with me in a private message. And please share the site with anyone who might be interested!

All the best,

Gavin

Some more information about the project:

The South African Jewish Cookbook Project is a digital collection of Jewish cookbooks published in South Africa from the 1940s to the present. This site aims to preserve the rich culinary heritage of South African Jewry, and to shed new light on the social and cultural history of South African Jewish women. On this site, you will find Jewish cookbooks from all over South Africa. You will encounter recipes for Ashkenazi and Litvak (Lithuanian Jewish) classics like gefilte fish and teiglach, as well as the trendy recipes of the last eighty years, which South African Jewish women collected from around the world. We invite you to delve into the cookbooks, discover the dishes that your grandparents and great-grandparents cooked, and try your hand at recreating them! The cookbooks also tell the stories of the women who wrote them. Through the fascinating lens of food and cooking, you will learn about the history of Jewish immigration to South Africa, the role of Jewish women in charity and social work, everyday life during the apartheid era, and much more. The South African Jewish Cookbook Project is a community history initiative, and we encourage community participation. We invite South African Jews from around the world to share their cookbooks with us, and their memories of creating, contributing to, and using these cookbooks. The project is curated by Gavin Beinart-Smollan, a public historian and PhD candidate at New York University, alongside an international team of contributors. We are proud to be supported by the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town, and the NYU Center for the Humanities.

Gavin Beinart-Smollan

PhD Candidate

Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies/Department of History

New York University


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