Nibbles, Noshes, and More: Baking Historical Hadassah Recipes

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By Nicole Greenhouse

Hadassah chapters have a long history of fundraising
for Israeli public welfare projects and the Hadassah hospitals in at Mount
Scopus and Ein Kerem. As part of their fundraising efforts, chapters produced
cookbooks, made up of beloved recipes of chapter members. Many of these chapter
cookbooks can be found in the Hadassah Archives.  The team working on the processing of the
materials couldn’t resist the temptation to taste test chapter recipes. Over the
course of six weeks, we baked and tasted desserts from chapters in Illinois,
Florida, New Mexico, California, Ohio, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and New
York. This little bit of after-work fun gave the Hadassah processing team and
other colleagues not only an excuse for treats to break up the work on this
large collection, but it also gave us a peek into the culinary lives of
Hadassah members.

Below are some of our favorites.

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Bottom: Pearl Helfand’s Harvey Wallbanger Cake
from “Bagels, Blintzes, and Borscht” by the Illinois North Shore
Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 63, Folder 2). Top: Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs
from “Get Cookin’ with Hadassah” by Florida’s Clearwater-Safety
Harbor Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 61, Folder 3). Hadassah Archives on Long-term
Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society, I-578.

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“Get Cookin’ with Hadassah” by
Florida’s Clearwater-Safety Harbor Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 61, Folder 3).
Hadassah Archives on Long-term Deposit at the American Jewish Historical
Society, I-578.

Named after a cocktail,
the Harvey Wallbanger Cake is a bright orange cake made with Orange Supreme
Cake mix, vodka, and Galliano. It tasted like an alcoholic creamsicle. The Magic
Marshmallow Crescent Puffs were basically a sugar-covered marshmallow wrapped
in a crescent roll, covered in icing. Although the marshmallow melted during
baking, the Puffs reminded me of a mini donut.

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Left:
Milky Way Cake from “What’s
Cooking?” by New Mexico’s Los Alamos Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 66, Folder
1). Right: Cherry Dump Cobbler from “From Noodles to Strudels,” Vol.
1 by California’s Beverly Hills Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 60, Folder 1).
Hadassah Archives on Long-term Deposit at the American Jewish Historical
Society, I-578.

The Milky Way Cake was
made with FIVE Milky Way candy bars! As you can tell, the bundt cake was a
popular baking method for Hadassah bakers; besides the two bundt cakes featured
in this post, we also had a bundt shaped Jell-O mold and lemon cake. In the
Hadassah Archives Audio and Moving Image Collection (http://findingaids.cjh.org/?pID=2916671#rg25),
there is an interview with a chapter president describing the history of the
bundt pan (I-578, RG 25, Box AVC-H-29, Item # rg25_1319).

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“From Noodles to Strudels,” Vol. 1 by
California’s Beverly Hills Chapter (I-578, RG 17, Box 60, Folder 1). Hadassah
Archives on Long-term Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society, I-578.

The Cherry Dump Cobbler
was the biggest surprise; we had no idea that cherry pie filling topped with
cake mix would make such a delicious, crispy topping.

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Top: Quick Coconut Bars from “In the Beginning There was Chicken Soup” by New York’s
Dix Hills Chapter (RG 17, Box 66, Folder 5). Bottom:
Grasshopper
Mousse from “The Stuffed Bagel" by South Carolina’s Columbia Chapter (RG
17, Box 72, Folder 2). Hadassah Archives on Long-term Deposit at the American
Jewish Historical Society, I-578.

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“The Stuffed Bagel" by South Carolina’s
Columbia Chapter (RG 17, Box 72, Folder 2). Hadassah Archives on Long-term
Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society, I-578.

The
Coconut Bars were supposed to be made with orange sherbet, but raspberry
sherbet made them a shocking pink color. They were very chewy. In contrast, the
Grasshopper Mousse was bright green, minty, and chocolate-y.

Besides these colorful
treats, the Hadassah cookbook collection contains recipes from chapters from
all over the United States, from Alaska to Maine, Canada, and Israel. You can see
the full listing of cookbooks here: http://digifindingaids.cjh.org/?pID=3810590#serIII.

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“In the Beginning There was Chicken Soup” by New York’s
Dix Hills Chapter (RG 17, Box 66, Folder 5). Hadassah Archives on Long-term
Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society, I-578.

In addition to the
cookbooks, the Hadassah records also document the histories of Hadassah’s
chapters, through newsletters, photographs, meeting minutes, brochures, and
other materials. If you’re curious, perhaps because the 370,000 Hadassah
members might include you, your mother, or your grandmother, check out the
records here: http://digifindingaids.cjh.org/?pID=2916671.

From
2015-2016, Center archivists processed the Hadassah Archives on Long-Term
Deposit at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) thanks to the generous
support of the Leon Levy Foundation. The Hadassah Archives measures over 1,500
linear feet and is one of the most frequently used collections at AJHS.

Nicole
Greenhouse is an Archivist at the Center for Jewish History.

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