A compelling storyteller, Ferris turns history into riveting reading.Jewish Telegraphic Agency
With recipes like Sabbath Marble Cake and Mimah's Cheesecake, this book is sure to be a hit with anyone interested in cookery, Jewish history, or Southern history.Library Journal
It may sound trivial, but no doubt the invention of Crisco was the answer to the prayers of some Jewish women in the South. . . . The miracle of Crisco is just one of the fascinating facts presented in Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South. . . . Ferris . . . tell[s] the history of the Jewish South from a cook's perspective.Raleigh News & Observer
A Jewish native of Arkansas and anthropological historian examines the compromises, adaptations and challenges of a people adrift in a land where such forbidden foods as pork and shellfish were staples.Black Issues Book Review
A fascinating story of immigration, acculturation, and assimilation. . . . Matzoh Ball Gumbo is a book to savor and to share.Austin Chronicle
A fascinating look at the differences of the kosher kitchen.Charleston Post & Courier
Goes far beyond the kitchen . . . documents Southern Jewish domestic, social, racial, religious, and business life over three centuries. Rich in anecdote and based on extensive interviews, Matzoh Ball Gumbo records an important aspect of the American Jewish experience.Jewish Book World
Many traditional Southern foods-pulled-pork barbecue, crab cakes, fried oyster po' boys, to name a few-violate traditional Jewish dietary laws, which forbid the consumption of pork and shellfish. What's a Southern Jew to do? Anthropological historian Ferris (UNC-Chapel Hill) answers that question in a gustatory tour of the Jewish South. She uncovers many dishes that blend Jewish and Southern foodways (recipes included for such tasties as Temple Israel Brisket and Cornmeal-Fried Fish Fillets with Sephardic Vinagre Sauce). Ferris sees food as a symbol that encompasses the problem of how Jews live in a region dominated by Christians: "The most tangible way to understand Jewish history and culture in the South is at the dinner table." Cynics will wonder if a Jewish kugel (noodle casserole) prepared in the South is really any different from kugel in Chicago. Ferris's answer is an emphatic yes-because Jews in the South face different challenges than those in Chicago. Southern Jews must be more intentional about cooking that kugel and passing the recipe down from generation to generation. If this book were a restaurant, Michelin would award it two out of three stars: not absolutely first-rate, but "excellent cooking, worth a detour." (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This new work from Ferris (associate director, Carolina Ctr. for Jewish Studies) successfully merges humor, Southern Jewish history, and-best of all-recipes. Crispy Baked Chicken and Simmered Black-Eyed Peas with Tomatoes share space with family photographs and chapter discussions of various regions: Arkansas, where Ferris grew up; Savannah and Charleston; New Orleans and Natchez; Atlanta; the Mississippi Delta; and Memphis. Throughout, Ferris includes amusing childhood anecdotes like eating at the Dixie Pig and how her mother refused to allow ham in the house. Many of the recipes that she features (more than 30 in all) belonged to her grandmothers, whom she credits with inspiring her to study the Jewish South. With recipes like Sabbath Marble Cake and Mimah's Cheesecake, this book is sure to be a hit with anyone interested in cookery, Jewish history, or Southern history. Recommended for all libraries.-Nicole Mitchell, Birmingham, AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.