The six women of the Monday Morning Cooking Club tell the story of the Jewish Diaspora just in their backgrounds: Hungary. England. Poland. South Africa. Shanghai. Russia. And that was before they all got to Sydney, Australia. It’s there that the women began meeting once a week in 2006 to cook and share recipes garnered from the community, ultimately producing a best-selling cookbook that just had its first American publishing in September.
“Monday Morning Cooking Club: The Food, The Stories, The Sisterhood” has earned praise, not just for its recipes, but for the stories from community members discussing everything from surviving the Holocaust to jealousy over Vegemite sandwiches.
Club leader Lisa Goldberg told Tablet, “it’s not exclusively a book of Jewish food… but rather representative of the part of the world where the cook (or cook’s family) has come from.”
Goldberg adds that the book does have some “essential Jewish recipes” like chicken soup, chopped liver and challah. But an apple cake recipe has become a star attraction, after food celebrity (and MMCC fan) Nigella Lawson posted a version to her website, crediting the ladies with the original.
The club and cookbook gained further popularity when their website was launched in 2011, creating a virtual meeting place for fans and food enthusiasts. One of the club members has even visited cooks and cookbook authors in North Carolina (including some Southern Jewish specialists) to swap recipes.
All profits from the book go to charities, both Jewish and secular, like OzHarvest, the Women’s International Zionist Organization, and the Sydney Story Factory. US shoppers can buy the book on Amazon.
A follow-up book is reportedly already in the works.