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  • Stella Hanan Cohen

For His Bar Mitzvah, a Grandson Is Learning His Ancestors’ Recipes From Spain and Beyond

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cookbook author Stella Hanan Cohen hasn’t been able to travel the nearly 8,000 miles between her home in Zimbabwe and her grandchildren in the U.S. But, recipes have offered a connection, particularly for her bar mitzvah-aged grandson Nico. One day, without giving many details, he asked his mother to purchase the ingredients for his grandmother’s stuffed grape leaves and made them entirely on his own. “He’s got this yearning,” says Stella, for his family’s recipes and history.

The grape leaves, like all the recipes in Stella’s book “Stella's Sephardic Table,” reveal a story about the Jewish cooks of Rhodes island, in present day Greece. During the Spanish Inquisition, Stella’s ancestors and their community fled across the Mediterranean and built a new home here where they kept traditions and customs from Spain alive.

Once again I am so delighted and honored to be featured by the #jewishfoodsociety and hope you will enjoy this beautifully presented article by Devra Ferst and the accomplished styling team.

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