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Thursday, December 08, 2022
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On August 9, the Young Israel of Scarsdale debuted its new cookbook, “Scarsdale Delicious!” at Seasons of Scarsdale, hosted by General Manager David Gellman. The well-attended event included a cooking demonstration with locally acclaimed cook and pastry chef Arlene Smith, who prepared two dishes from the book: Garden of Roses and Malabi. She also demonstrated knife skills and offered kitchen tips, including preheating your oven for more even cooking and spraying your pans with Pam in the dishwasher to make sure the excess spray doesn’t get all over your kitchen.

The cookbook committee was made up of Ruth Steinberg, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, Robin Eiseman, Sandra Greenstein, Linda Apple and Hinda Farber.

Sheinfeld explained: “We had a shul cookbook in the past that consisted of recipes presented exactly as submitted by community members. This book was highly successful and beloved by the community. It was released over 20 years ago and had all the classics. When I was Sisterhood Co-President together with Ruth Steinberg, we had a dream to produce a new cookbook that would showcase the extraordinary talents of our community, reflect the very sophisticated and eclectic taste levels of our membership, and reflect our spirit and passion for culinary arts.”

Heisler reflected that as co-president with Steinberg, and later when Robin Eiseman joined the presidium, they organized many community-building events, “and came to appreciate the extraordinary women and men in our midst who are so talented, passionate and highly accomplished. We set out to create something professional.”

Heisler continued: “We created a process to solicit recipes from the community. We put recipe submissions through a disciplined process of testing where we tasted, analyzed, adapted, combined and improved. Everyone who submitted something to the cookbook has had an imprint in it. There was no recipe that came out exactly the way it was submitted; through the process, we perfected the recipes. It was a labor of love where the whole community was involved. There were people who were responsible for sourcing and curating, and they got amazing recipes

“With dynamic testing, tasting, and proofreading, we made certain that everything was unique. There are a lot of cookbooks out there. We wanted something that was fresh and distinctive. We are very proud.”

The cookbook reflects the diversity of the community. Ashkenazic and Sephardic recipes are joined by recipes with international flair, from South Africa and Liberia. “In the cookbook are recipes for every cook. Some are easy and some are difficult,” said Greenstein.

Heisler explained, “We tested everything extensively, to ensure that anyone who picks up this book can make all those recipes with consistently great results. They’re all well laid out, accessible to all.”

The team credits the dozens of talented people who contributed recipes as well as proofing, testing and preparing for the photo shoot. “The community support and participation was phenomenal and afforded us the opportunity to draw closer as a community,” said Steinberg.

“After the committee completed finalizing and perfecting the recipes, the next step was the photo shoot,” Steinberg continued. “We benefited from the professional skills of member Shawna Kalish Masry, who was the artistic director. The team retained their cookbook’s publisher, Albert Hakim, to shoot the photographs. They had to select which recipes would be photographed.”

Greenstein said: “The first day of the photo shoot was at the height of the pandemic, in March 2020. We said we are not going to let that stop us; we are just going to forge ahead, and we persevered!”

As for the cover picture of Mediterranean chicken cutlets, Heisler said: “We felt it was like it jumped off the page. There were a lot of really beautiful photographs, and this one struck as gorgeous, reflecting our rustic yet elegant aesthetic beautifully. You just want to pick it up off the page and eat it.” Added Greenstein: “There were other contenders for the cover. But, we thought if we chose a dessert, it would look like this was a dessert cookbook. We wanted to send the message that the cookbook is for creating stunning and delicious meals.”

In the cookbook, the committee wrote: “Recipes are love. Recipes are memory. Recipes connect us to community, family, friends, history and holidays. In sharing these recipes, we connect and deepen interwoven relationships and honor memories we hold dear.”

Cookbooks may be purchased at Seasons of Scarsdale or at www.yisny.org/delicious. The Committee invites anyone who makes something from this cookbook to send photographs to [email protected] and they will post them on Facebook and Instagram (@ScarsdaleDelicious).

Will there be a second book? “Stay tuned,” said Heisler. “With this creative and ambitious community, anything is possible.”

By Judy Berger

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