Stirring the pot of holiday memories

Submitted by Judy on Tue, 03/26/2013 - 3:47pm.


Sally Bower - nee Rabinowitz - has celebrated a lot of Passovers. But the one she remembers most fondly happened 70 years ago in Brooklyn. The Seder was at her boyfriend’s house, and it was the first time she would meet his family. When he opened the door, he had a bouquet for her.

During that evening, he put a ring on Bower’s finger in front of his family - even though the couple had been dating only three months.

Although this story is not in "Melting Pot Memories" by Bower’s niece Judy Bart Kancigor, many other exploits of the Rabinowitz family are. What started as a book written as a family heirloom has become popular across the nation with the book in its fifth printing and more than 3,200 copies sold.

It begins with the story of the Rabinowitz family leaving Slonim, in what is now Belarus, for the United States. It includes a history of the area, the family tree and 600 recipes gathered from 159 family members.

"It’s more of a story than a cookbook," Kancigor says by phone from her home in Fullerton, Calif.

But many of the recipes are from Bower, who was one of the tribe’s better cooks. She learned her way around the kitchen from her mother, who made a mean challah, and her mother-in-law, who had prepared meals for bar mitzvahs and weddings in the old country.

She remembers her mother soaking glasses for three days and burying the silver outside with hot coals for purification. The house was cleaned and any remaining crumbs of chometz - leaven - were searched out with a feather and burned.

Then there were the fish. The live ones kept in the bathtub so they’d be fresh when it was time to make the gefilte fish.

When Bower celebrated Passover in her own home, she’d start cooking about three days before the holiday making gefilte fish by grinding and chopping the white fish and pike. No, she didn’t keep them in the bathtub. She’d also make chicken and matzo ball soup with "noodles," cut from homemade crepes. The entree: roast chicken, sliced brisket, mashed potato kugel, matzo-stuffed skin of the chicken neck, steamed asparagus and sour pickles. Dessert was dried pears, chocolate nut cake, plain spongecake and prunes stuffed with nuts and cooked with honey and tuglach.

South Florida Sun Sentinel
Wednesday, April 04, 2001


16 1⁄2-ounce can pitted cherries, preferably dark cherries
3⁄4 cup raisins
2 large chickens, cut up
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 cups Passover Chili Sauce, recipe below, or 2 12-ounce bottles kosher chili sauce
1⁄4 cup water
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 large onions, sliced thin, about 4 cups
1⁄2 cup dry wine

Pour juice from canned cherries over raisins and let macerate to plump. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season chicken with garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika. Place oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces. This might have to be done in batches.

Place chicken, skin side up, in a single layer in a large nonreactive baking dish. Mix chili sauce, water, brown sugar, onions and raisins with cherry juice they were soaking in; pour over chicken. Roast 40 minutes, basting occasionally with chili mixture in pan. Mix cherries with wine, pour over chicken and roast 1⁄2 hour longer. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 425 calories, 30 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams fat, 89 milligrams cholesterol, 818 milligrams sodium.


3 cups ketchup
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed, diced fine

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive container including jalapeno, if using. Makes 3 cups.


9 7-by-6-inch matzo
9 eggs, separated
11⁄2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, melted, plus 3 tablespoons cut into bits for top
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1⁄2 teaspoon more for dusting top
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
3⁄4 cup golden raisins or slivered dried apricots
6 medium apples - McIntosh preferred - cored, peeled and thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble matzo and soak in cold water one minute until soft. Drain thoroughly. Beat egg yolks with 3⁄4 cup sugar. Add 2 tablespoons melted margarine, lemon rind, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and vanilla; mix. Add drained matzo and fold to combine. Fold in raisins and apples.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, use electric mixer to beat egg whites, slowly adding 3⁄4 cup sugar and beating until egg whites are stiff and glistening. Fold into matzo mixture. Pour into a well-greased 9-by-2-by-13-inch pan. Spread evenly. Dot with bits of margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake one hour. Can be frozen after baking. Makes 16 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 302 calories, 6 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat, 105 milligrams cholesterol, 107 milligrams sodium.