In the book Eat My Words: Reading Women’s Lives Through the Cookbooks They Wrote, Janet Theophano wrote about In Memory’s Kitchen: “A group of Jewish women who were inmates in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia dreamed of home and family and a way of life that was being extinguished. The women wrote their memories of food into a cookbook that took over fifty years to reach publication in 1996.”
While starving and facing death, these women wrote their memories of food. Within an hour, I borrowed and began reading this book from the University of Iowa Library.
In Memory’s Kitchen exemplifies the power of imagination and memory on our ability to cope when suffering and confronting atrocities and the endurance of the human spirit.
Michael Berenbaum, Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute, wrote in the Foreword: “It is a flight of the imagination back to an earlier time when food was available, when women had homes and kitchens and could provide a meal for their children.” He also noted: “15,000 children were sent to the camp, by the war’s end only 100 of them were alive.”
I don’t intend to cook any of the recipes, but they were interesting to read. Some contain ingredients that I found surprising like brains and goose fat. I would like to learn what type of rolls some recipes list as an ingredient.
A short bibliography, plus a biographical sketch of the cookbook’s author, Wilhelmina (Mina) Pachter, and some poems and letters she wrote, are included.