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Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman + Sonya Gropman, mother/daughter, are writing THE GERMAN JEWISH COOKBOOK w/ 100 recipes and cultural history.
Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman + Sonya Gropman, mother/daughter, are writing THE GERMAN JEWISH COOKBOOK w/ 100 recipes and cultural history.
84 backers pledged $8,156 to help bring this project to life.

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✶ ✶ UPDATE ✶ ✶                                                                                    May 19, 2016: Thanks to our incredible community of supporters, we  reached our initial goal after only 5 days! We increased our goal to $7,850 (a "stretch goal"), which we are well on our way to meeting. Please read the update from May 2nd for details (click on "update" button above). Thank you!!!   ✶   ✶   ✶   ✶   ✶   ✶   ✶   ✶   

Our book!

We are a mother (Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman) and daughter (Sonya Gropman) team, and have been researching German-Jewish cuisine for the past six years. We are now writing a cookbook about it! The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine, which will be published in 2017 by Brandeis University Press, the HBI Series on Jewish Women (part of University Press of New England).  

Sonya (left) and Gabrielle (right)
Sonya (left) and Gabrielle (right)
Fresh Spring Pea Soup
Fresh Spring Pea Soup

The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine will include:

  • -- RECIPES over 100 recipes (including: weekday and holiday meals; dairy, meat, and parve; soups, salads, vegetables, meats and poultry, fish, and desserts and cakes
  • -- ILLUSTRATIONS black & white hand-drawn illustrations by New York City based illustrator Megan Piontowski http://meganpiontkowski-illustration.com
  • -- PHOTOGRAPHS both colour and black & white photographs by Sonya Gropman. Sonya’s blog: www.eatartword.wordpress.com 
  • -- CULTURAL HISTORY Including: 
  •     -- history of Jews in Germany 
  •     -- interviews we have conducted with German-Jews about their food memories 
  •    -- Gabrielle's memories of growing up in Washington Heights, NYC.
Apple Pudding
Apple Pudding

Our history 

Gabrielle was born in Germany and she emigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a baby in 1939, just in time to survive the Holocaust. The Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan where she grew up was home to about 20,000 other Jewish refugees from Germany (and Austria). This concentrated German-Jewish community made it possible for families to continue their everyday traditions, including cooking and eating German-Jewish food. Thus, Gabrielle grew up eating the traditional foods that her family had eaten in Germany.

Matzoh Fritters (Grimsele), a Passover dessert
Matzoh Fritters (Grimsele), a Passover dessert

Sonya grew up in Boston, eating a wide and eclectic variety of foods that  included traditional German-Jewish dishes and the foods of her Eastern European Jewish family on her father’s side, as well as French, Asian, Italian, vegetarian, and many other types of dishes that the Gropman family cooked during her childhood.

German-Jewish cuisine is quite different from that of Eastern Europe and is filled with many surprising and delicious recipes. Sonya’s realization of the distinction between the two Jewish food traditions she grew up eating at her two sets of grandparents’ homes - her mother’s German-Jewish parents and her father’s east European parents - is what inspired this project. It was the catalyst for our trip down a path of exploration, which has come to include several research trips to Germany; locating and interviewing elderly informants (in English and/or German); translating historic German-Jewish cookbooks; poring over historic documents at the Leo Baeck Institute and our own trove of family documents; launching a blog; writing a book proposal (no easy task!); and now, finally, writing The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine.

Chicken Soup with Soup Dumplings
Chicken Soup with Soup Dumplings

 History of a Cuisine

We have come to realize that German-Jewish cuisine - one that we’ve both eaten our entire lives and taken for granted - is unfamiliar to most people. When people speak of Jewish food and Jewish culture they are generally referring to East European food and culture (and less frequently to the Sephardic food tradition). However, while not very far geographically from the lands of Polish-Ukrainian-Russian Jewish food, German-Jewish food and culture were, and are, very different. German-Jewish culture was a significant and consistent presence in Germany for over 1,000 years, until it was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. Surviving German-Jews scattered across the globe, taking their cuisine with them. While many 2nd and 3rd generation German-Jews continue to cook traditional dishes for their families, it remains unfamiliar to most people outside the community and is at risk of becoming a vanishing tradition. It is time to bring this tradition to a wider audience who can partake of this wonderful food. Thus, our primary reason for writing this book is to preserve the food of a culture.

Roast Duck, Potatoes, Rote Gruetze, Green Cabbage Slaw, and Vegetables Vinaigrette
Roast Duck, Potatoes, Rote Gruetze, Green Cabbage Slaw, and Vegetables Vinaigrette

Book's schedule

We are in the midst of writing the book. It is due to be turned in to our editor this summer (August, 2016) and we are well on our way to meeting our deadline. We fully expect to be on schedule. The book is slated to be published in Fall, 2017 (it commonly takes about one year for a book to be published once the manuscript is accepted!).

Why are we crowdsourcing if we have a publisher?

University Presses often do not have the resources to grant authors an advance. Advances (an advance payment on future royalties from sales of the book) are used by authors to defray the costs of writing a book. Since we did not receive an advance, we must pay for the expenses of writing the book out of pocket -- it is for these expenses that we are asking for your support. With your help, we can achieve our goal! Cookbooks present more costs for the author than other types of books. Some of the expenses of the book which we must cover include: 

  • Transcription of Audio Tapes – many hours of interviews with German-Jews about their food memories 
  • Illustrator – paying a fee to our illustrator, Megan Piontowski, who will make black & white line drawings and how-to diagrams for the book
  • Photography - Sonya will do the food photography for the book, but will need to hire a food stylist, plus incur other expenses.
  • Recipe Testing - The cost of ingredients for over 100 recipes - each tested at least twice, some many more times - adds up! 

Creating a Beautiful Book

After working so hard and for so long on this project, we want to create a book that will be beautiful and a credit to its subject. As artists, we are very concerned with the visual design of the book. There will be delightful illustrations of dishes and how-to diagrams of complicated techniques, and excellent photographs, both black & white and color, of most of the recipes in the book.

an example of Megan Piontowski's step-by-step illustration of a recipe
an example of Megan Piontowski's step-by-step illustration of a recipe

We invite you to join the people who are already enthusiastically awaiting publication. Many of the recipes are simple to produce, and some will offer you techniques and ingredients that may be new to you. The recipes are both authentic and accessible. We promise you recipes that are not only historic, but also ones that are delicious, appeal to modern tastes, and focus on fresh ingredients. We expect that you will add some of them to your everyday cooking repertoire! We also promise that you will find interesting people who share stories of their lives. And get a glimpse into life in Washington Heights, NYC as a German-Jew in the 1940s and 1950s from Gabrielle, who grew up there.

Almond Pockets (Mandel Maultaschen)
Almond Pockets (Mandel Maultaschen)

Recognition for German-Jewish cuisine and for our book! 

Green Cabbage Slaw (Krautsalat)
Green Cabbage Slaw (Krautsalat)
  •  Chef Sean Remold created a special Passover dinner menu inspired by our recipes at Reynard, in Brooklyn, NY in April, 2015. http://reynardnyc.com      
Reynard, Brooklyn NY
Reynard, Brooklyn NY
Reynard, Brooklyn NY
Reynard, Brooklyn NY

Rewards!

We have thought through a splendid REWARDS PROGRAM for those of you who join our team. Hand-made (both painted and silk screened) tote bags and aprons, an artist print with recipe, autographed copies of the book, a cooking class, a lecture and even a home-cooked meal in your home! Check them out on the right side of the page.

Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi

Our Video Editor!

We are so appreciative of the fantastic work Siobhan Dunne did in editing our video. Thanks, Siobhan! If you're looking for an editor for your project, see more of her work and get in touch with her here: http://siobhandunne.com

Green Cabbage
Green Cabbage

Big thanks to Don Gropman! (Sonya's dad, Gabrielle's husband) For being our copy editor, camera man, and all-around mentor!

Thanks to you!

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to your participation and involvement with this project. If you know anyone who wants to share their stories or recipes with us, please let us know! And of course, we will stay in touch with updates along the way!

Poached Trout, Parsley Potatoes & Green Beans Vinaigrette
Poached Trout, Parsley Potatoes & Green Beans Vinaigrette

Risks and challenges

This book project thus far has been a combination of exciting opportunities and joys, as well as a few frustrations, and we have dealt with each with fierce determination. We are thrilled to be working with a wonderful editor at Brandeis University Press, whose support we can count on should we face any future challenges.

Working as a mother-daughter team has been one of the more interesting challenges. We have been discovering more and more about our similarities and differences, and we have learned to maximize the value of those differences. Each of us has different talents, but we have one vision!

We have come a long way, and we are confident in our ability to complete our book in a fashion that will fulfill our vision.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THANK YOU + E-RECIPE!
    A heartfelt THANK YOU on our website germanjewishcuisine.com and Facebook page + an e-recipe emailed to you as appreciation for your contribution.

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    POSTCARD + E-RECIPE!
    Our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + an e-recipe emailed to you + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page.

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    HAND-DRAWN PRINT WITH RECIPE!
    Print of an original drawing by Megan Piontowski with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

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    APRON SILKSCREENED BY MEGAN PIONTOWSKI!
    Cook's apron with original silkscreen design hand-printed by Megan + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website + Facebook page

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    TOTE BAG HAND-PAINTED BY SONYA GROPMAN!
    Tote bag with original design hand-painted by Sonya + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    AUTOGRAPHED BOOK!
    Autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, which is scheduled to be Fall 2017) + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

    *NOTE: we expect to ship the print and postcard in August 2016*

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    APRON + TOTE BAG!
    Cook's apron with original silkscreen design hand-printed by Megan Piontowski + tote bag with original design hand-painted by Sonya Gropman + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    BOOK + APRON!
    Autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, schedule to be Fall 2017) + cook's apron with original silkscreen design hand-printed by Megan Piontowski + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

    *NOTE: we expect to deliver the apron, print + postcard in August 2016*

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    BOOK + TOTE BAG!
    Autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, schedule to be Fall 2017) + tote bag with original design hand-painted by Sonya Gropman + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

    *NOTE: we expect to deliver the tote bag, print + postcard in August 2016*

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    HOMEMADE BREAD + BOOK + TOTE BAG!
    A large German challah (or Berches), freshly baked by us and sent to you via next day delivery + an autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, scheduled to be Fall 2017) + tote bag with original design hand-painted by Sonya Gropman + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

    *NOTE: we expect to deliver the bread, tote bag, print and post card in August 2016*

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    PHOTOGRAPH BY SONYA GROPMAN!
    Original 8" x 10" food photograph by Sonya, professionally printed on archival paper + Megan's print with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    BOOK + PHOTOGRAPH!
    Autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, schedule to be Fall 2017) + original 8" x 10" food photograph by Sonya, professionally printed on archival paper + Megan's print with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page

    *NOTE: expected delivery of the photograph, print, and postcard is August 2016*

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    LECTURE/SLIDE SHOW ON GERMAN-JEWISH CUISINE!
    Authors will present a talk (with slide show) about German-Jewish cuisine to your organization/class/group in the Boston or New York City area.** + multiple copies of Megan's print with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page

    *NOTE: expected delivery of the lecture to be a mutually agreed date sometime after August 2016; expected delivery of print and postcard August 2016.

    **We will consider other locations if travel expenses are paid**

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    BOOK + PHOTOGRAPH + APRON!
    Autographed copy of THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: RECIPES & HISTORY OF A CUISINE (upon publication, schedule to be Fall 2017) + original 8" x 10" food photograph by Sonya, professionally printed on archival paper + cook's apron with original silkscreen design hand-printed by Megan Piontowski + Megan's print with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page

    *NOTE: expected delivery of the photograph, apron, print, and postcard is August 2016*

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    COOKING CLASS FOR SIX!
    We will conduct a cooking class for 6 people (a 3-course German-Jewish meal) in your home or other location in the Boston or New York City area.** + 6 cook's apron with original silkscreen design hand-printed by Megan Piontowski + Megan's print with recipe + our personal thanks on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt THANKS on our website and Facebook page.

    **expected delivery is a mutually agreed upon date sometime after August 2016. We will consider other locations if travel expenses are paid** (includes all food ingredients, wine not included).

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    DINNER FOR SIX!
    Authors will prepare and serve a 3-course German-Jewish meal in your home in the Boston or New York City area** + 6 tote bags with original design hand-painted by Sonya Gropman + Megan's print with recipe + our personal THANKS on a hand-printed postcard + our heartfelt thanks on our website and Facebook page.

    **expected delivery is a mutually agreed upon date sometime after August 2016. We will consider other locations if travel expenses are paid (includes all food ingredients, wine not included)**

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Funding period

- (30 days)