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The Family Cookbook, "Cooking Our Way" by Jane and Lynn Rutenberg

The family table was big for us. Our nuclear family ate together every night, at least until my Dad started working nights when I was a teenager. Everything good and juicy happened around the dinner table, especially at big family gatherings (there were all of 15 of us at the maximum, and I am the baby). Truly, it's where we kids learned about EVERYTHING. My parents used to say, "Everything good starts in the kitchen," and snicker. I was so lucky to have parents who showed their affection.

Long before people talked about food; took pictures and posted about their food; traveled for food; our family prized the food at our tables. I suppose partly because the men in the family (my father and his two brothers) had been accustomed to good food, even when they didn't have as much. Their parents set the expectation of appreciation. This same appreciation translated to all facets of their lives, including how they conducted business (they were revered by many.) And let's face a group, Jews love to celebrate with food.

I'm not sure how the idea of the family cookbook came about (my mother, the non-cook, was not involved), but I assume it was because my Aunts Jane and Lynn wanted their kids to have a record of it all. I am so glad they did.

My well-used copy of the "Cooking Our Way."

I think every favorite recipe is in this book (and there are some crazy ones, too). I remember it took so long for them to finish it, and "Cooking Our Way" was a fabulous's almost 300 pages long. Still, they ultimately had to send out a full page of corrections after it was published. Of course, that has gone missing for me, so it is essential to read all recipes thoroughly for a fail-safe outcome.

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