The German-Jewish Cookbook

Recipes and History of a Cuisine

Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman

This cookbook features recipes for German-Jewish cuisine as it existed in Germany prior to World War II, and as refugees later adapted it in the United States and elsewhere. Because these dishes differ from more familiar Jewish food, they will be a discovery for many people. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, this indispensable collection of recipes includes numerous soups, both chilled and hot; vegetable dishes; meats, poultry, and fish; fruit desserts; cakes; and the German version of challah, Berches. These elegant and mostly easy-to-make recipes range from light summery fare to hearty winter foods. The Gropmans—a mother-daughter author pair—have honored the original recipes Gabrielle learned after arriving as a baby in Washington Heights from Germany in 1939, while updating their format to reflect contemporary standards of recipe writing. Six recipe chapters offer easy-to-follow instructions for weekday meals, Shabbos and holiday meals, sausage and cold cuts, vegetables, coffee and cake, and core recipes basic to the preparation of German-Jewish cuisine. Some of these recipes come from friends and family of the authors; others have been culled from interviews conducted by the authors, prewar German-Jewish cookbooks, nineteenth-century American cookbooks, community cookbooks, memoirs, or historical and archival material. The introduction explains the basics of Jewish diet (kosher law). The historical chapter that follows sets the stage by describing Jewish social customs in Germany and then offering a look at life in the vibrant émigré community of Washington Heights in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. Vividly illustrated with more than fifty drawings by Megan Piontkowski and photographs by Sonya Gropman that show the cooking process as well as the delicious finished dishes, this cookbook will appeal to readers curious about ethnic cooking and how it has evolved, and to anyone interested in exploring delicious new recipes.

Cloth: $35 | E-book: $34.95
ISBN-13: 9781611688733
Pages: 272 | Size: 7 in. x 10 in.
Date Published: September 5, 2017


  • The Gropmans allow us to revel in a cuisine that has been unjustly maligned for too long. The German-Jewish Cookbook provides both the cook and the interested reader with much to enjoy both for gustatory pleasure and for the historical and familial context in which these foods reside. ... This reader is eager to test out many of the recipes and also to seek out the more esoteric ingredients that have for all intents and purposes vanished from the regular retail sources to which we normally turn for our foodstuffs. ... One of the best things about this cookbook is that you don’t even need to be interested in cooking to find it fascinating. There is so much history and culture woven into the text, that it almost feels like a trip to another country. The recipes in the book are not all kosher but the authors make clear which ones are not and it is easy to adjust them to make them kosher if one desires. The book includes two indexes, a list of resources for foods, a bibliography and a list of acknowledgements. This book is highly recommended.

    Association of Jewish Libraries newsletter
  • An absolute joy to read. Written by a mother and daughter team, “The German-Jewish Cookbook” wonderfully chronicles their experiences hunting down family recipes and gathering the many enthralling stories of the foods with which they grew up. ... A book that will make a contribution in culinary iconography and that for me, personally, opened up a new glimpse into my own German-Jewish past

    Joan Nathan
    author of “King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking From Around the World”
  • A long-anticipated examination of a cuisine steeped in the rich, tragic history of a people for whom the flavor of home is a direct connection to the past. It is a deeply personal, ethnoculinary marvel, and as extraordinary to cook from as it is to read.

    Elissa Altman
    author of “Treyf and Poor Man’s Feast”
  • A full and beautiful portrait of German-Jewish cuisine, from its roots in Germany to its flourishing in New York City. The recipes and stories from mother and daughter ooze with love. This is a very special cookbook and such a valuable slice of history.

    Jeffrey Yoskowitz
    coauthor of “The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old-World Jewish Foods”
  • Spending time with Sonya and Gabrielle Gropman is like dropping in on old friends for an afternoon “kaffeeklatsch.” Welcoming hosts, they are also eloquent storytellers who know how to cook. Their book is a rich and enticing blend of recipes, history and family memoir that documents a vanishing cuisine, while expanding our grasp of what Jewish cooking can be.

    Jane Ziegelman
    author of “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement”
  • More than a cookbook ... a hybrid of memoir, family and cultural history, and ethnography. So many recipes, traditions and details of daily German-Jewish life were lost in the abyss of its 20th-century history, along with entire communities. “The German-Jewish Cookbook,” written for Jews and non-Jews alike, gives these wonderful recipes for all occasions new life and provides fascinating reading as well.

    Helen Epstein
    author of “Children of the Holocaust” and “Where She Came From: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother’s History”

About the Author

Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman

Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman is a visual artist and mediation professional, who was born in Germany in 1938 and emigrated to the United States in 1939. Her art has been exhibited throughout the United States as well as in Germany. A multimedia art installation about the history of her German-Jewish family was exhibited at the Villa Dessauer Municipal Museum in the town of her birth, Bamberg, Germany, in 1991 and again in 2013–14.

Sonya Gropman

Sonya Gropman is a painter, photographer, and writer whose work has been exhibited and published in the United States. She is involved in local sustainable agriculture in New York City. She and Gabrielle coauthor the website, where they post original material about German-Jewish food and culture.

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