There is an old Jewish proverb that says, “Worries go down better with soup.” Just one of countless examples of how food is intrinsic to Jewish culture and why it is not surprising that the Ostrow Library would have an extensive collection of Jewish cookbooks.
There are close to 350 different cookbooks, of which approximately 200 were formerly part of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. On the shelves are cookbooks filled with cuisines from around the globe and those that specialize in the recipes of specific countries such as France, India, Egypt and Iraq. The titles in the collection are replete with the words “traditional,” “bubbie” and “kosher.” Also present is a wide array of cookbooks with American recipes that vary from coast to coast and celebrate the challenges and vicissitudes of Jewish cuisine: Shalom on the Range and The When You Live in Hawaii You Get Very Creative during Passover Cookbook.
What Jewish library would be complete without books on how to prepare kosher Chinese food? There are several of those. And for health conscious folks, there’s Jewish Cooking Made Slim, undoubtedly an oxymoron that only a Jewish mother could understand. Because this is Los Angeles, of course our collection must include the Celebrity Kosher Cookbook, published in 1975, which contains the favorite recipes of Jewish and non-Jewish celebrities such as Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye and Neil Diamond.
On a more somber note, you can even find cookbooks related to the Holocaust. The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook offers 129 stories and 250 recipes provided by courageous survivors, and In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy From The Women Of Terezin is comprised of recipes from those that did not survive.
The library invites community members to browse our cookbook collection and explore our other holdings, including fiction in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, and a growing Jewish themed video collection (DVD & VHS). Remember, membership is free for residents of Southern California.