As a girl, Elizabeth Ehrlich loved to visit her grandmother's kitchens. These were busy, onion-scented, Yiddish-accented places. Within their steamy plaster walls, the grandmothers -- remarkable women of insight, strength, and grace -- preserved and handed on history, tradition, community connection, humor, and wry lessons of life. As an adult, Ehrlich followed the path of her assimilating clan, forgetting the kitchen lessons. Her memory was awakened by her mother-in-law, Miriam. A Holocaust survivor who had suffered unspeakable losses, Miriam cooked the flavorsome dishes and carried on the customs of her childhood. Certain that her work mattered, she rebuilt a life of dignity and meaning. Under Miriam's spell, Ehrlich began to reclaim family memories and explore tradition in her own home. Reciting a prayer, grating a potato, lighting a candle, she found a way to build bridges from her grandparents to her children, and to give her children a timeless legacy. Miriam's Kitchen is Elizabeth Ehrlich's preservation of recipes, immigrant stories, childhood memories, droll musings over ritual, and sincere habits of the heart. It is a wise exploration of the need to connect with the past and with tradition, and of our hunger for meaning in a chaotic world.
In this wonderful book, Ehrlich describes a growing commitment, not just to a set of laws but to the women who came before her.