Joanne Caras has a plan: To sell six million copies of her Holocaust Survivor Cookbook as a tribute to the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. So far she’s sold 34,000 and has raised more than $600,000 for Jewish charities (her goal is $6 million). Volume 2 is already in production.
One of the coping strategies Holocaust prisoners used to avert starvation was to fantasize about lavish meals. Here’s an excerpt from Lillian Berliner, a Hungarian survivor:
“We were starved in Auschwitz and to alleviate our numerous hunger pangs, we invented frequent ‘dream meals’. We planned our menus carefully for hours and in great detail. Our favorite dishes and desserts took priority and were frequently repeated. The table settings, the color of dishes, tablecloths, napkins, flowers for each occasion and the seating arrangements were also discussed… This may sound delusional I know, but during these meal planning sessions, we were briefly transported to a normal world, a world that was so far from our miserable reality. We actually tasted the dishes we prepared and our hunger pangs disappeared during the hours of planning.”
Note, it’s more than a cookbook. In addition to 250 recipes from survivors around the world, it also contains their stories of survival. Buy one for yourself and all your favorite homegrown chefs. It’s the ultimate mitzvah: urging your friends and family to eat Eastern European comfort food and helping out Jewish causes.