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Bitter Sweet: A Wartime Journal and Heirloom Recipes from Occupied France

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by Kitty Morse
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For a limited time we have copies signed by Kitty Morse.

After discovering a pair of notebooks written in 1940 by her great-grandparents, French Jews, Kitty Morse presents them here, offering on the one hand an account of daily life in the occupied city of Nancy, and on the other a collection of her great-grandmother's recipes set down at the same time.

Morse provides a moving account of her family's history and her discovery of details that had been hidden from her by her grandmother and mother. She transcribes her great-grandfather's "Recollections of an invasion," as he called it, and wonders whether his lugubrious account was darkened by his approaching dementia.

A veteran cookbook author, Morse also offers adapted versions of her great-grandmother's recipes, which favor desserts and sweets, perhaps in an effort to recall happier, more bountiful days. (Morse supplements these with some savory recipes passed down within the family). "My great-grandparents lived secular lives," she notes. "They did not keep a kosher kitchen."

Among the recipes are a red and green cabbage strudel, leek and potato soup with sorrel, pork chops with roasted vegetables and sauteed apples, oat flour and almond cookies, cheesecake tartelettes, and an Alsatian brioche.

The book includes family photographs, as well as images of the original notebooks, along with pictures of the prepared recipes.

This is an extraordinary record, and Morse's efforts to provide context provide an extended portrait of a family whose identity was shaped by being caught up in historical events far beyond their control.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

Published: February 1, 2023

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