Our upcoming Retro Dinner this Wednesday, Jan. 22, will be a fun nostalgia trip — and so are fond childhood memories of great home cooking. For Ruth, that’s more than just retro chic. For her, cuisine “the way it used to be” means recipes based on her family’s Jewish tradition, learned at her mother’s side in the 1950s and still heartwarming and delicious today.
Ruth was only 3 when her family fled Poland to escape the Nazis and settled in the Kinsman neighborhood, at that time a magnet for European Jewish families emigrating to Cleveland. She grew up surrounded by those families and the variety of national cuisines they brought with them, a source of great comfort for people so abruptly uprooted from their homelands and everything they had known and loved. Ruth first learned how to cook from watching her mother and aunts make the Polish classics, like krupnik, a barley soup with meat and vegetables, and kreplach, the “Jewish dim sum.” Her memories of those earliest culinary experiences, and the love and care that infused each dish, still influence everything she makes.
Ruth recently shared those memories with Vivian Goodman for her “Quick Bites” show on WKSU-FM Radio. If you missed hearing her then, you can listen to and read her story here. The website also features video of Ruth making kreplach. Enjoy!