Judith Montefiore's The Jewish Manual is a fascinating document of Victorian Jewish England. The bulk of the book is given over to a collection of recipes and domestic advice for the Jewish homemaker. In the recipes one finds a curious synthesis of Sephardi and Ashkenazi culinary traditions that very much reflected the reality of the London Jewish community. The Manual takes great pains to adjust non-kosher recipes for use in the kosher kitchen. After reviewing the basic recipes that a Jewish cook should know, the book provides a number of sections on beauty and physical comportment
It should be remembered that The Jewish Manual is a book written for a cultured Jewish community and assumes a relatively affluent middle class audience. Nevertheless, the values that are reflected in this advice to the Victorian Jewish woman are both timeless and prescient. The Jewish Manual is emblematic of a Jewish civilization whose Orthodox practices were fused with the values of secular modernity; a perfect confluence of the old and the new.
Provenance: Mrs. Steinhart- Her bookplate on front free endpaper.
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