Much more than a cookbook, this is an oral history with recipes that started out as a writing project for students of the senior English as a Second Language (ESL) program of the Jewish Family Service of Santa Clara-and "took on a life of its own." The contributors, Russian Jews in their seventies and eighties, are all recent immigrants. The stories they relate about their lives in the former Soviet Union are riveting and often shattering-they include the Revolution, pogroms, murdering bandits, the siege of Leningrad, and escape from Armenia-yet there are happy memories as well. With hunger and starvation almost a leitmotif, the recipes sometimes seem an ironic subsidiary, and editor Sogolow had her own doubts about combining these narratives with something "so mundane" as recipes. But she concluded that "life did go on," which is the point of this collection. The recipes are for simple fare, regional Russian dishes, and traditional Jewish ones, too, with favorite treats remembered from special occasions. Recommended for both history and cookery collections.