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Hadassah cookbook filled to brim with tried-and-true recipes

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Updated: June 17, 2012 8:01AM

Some cookbooks aren’t easy to find. They’re not carried by bookstores or big-box stores or your local grocer. But when you finally track one down, it turns out the hunt was well worth it.

We’re talking about cookbooks produced by community organizations, church groups and other religious groups, oftentimes to raise funds for a cause. They give a glimpse of what dishes other everyday people make for their families, friends and guests. These recipes range from family dishes passed down through generations to to newer concoctions.

I recently got my hands on B’te Avon III, a cookbook produced by the North Boundary Hadassah, part of the Hadassah Chicago Chapter. B’te Avon, which means “hearty appetite,” contains nearly 400 pages of kosher recipes from appetizers, side dishes, main entrees and desserts to microwave and slow cooker recipes to holiday dishes and more.

The group printed its first cookbook in 1975, and their two subesequent editions have only gotten thicker and better, said Esther Manewith, a North Boundary Hadassah member.

“This is a labor of love for them,” Manewith said as she held her first-edition copy, its pages worn and paperback cover was missing after years of use.

I think it shows.

The newest edition of “B’te Avon” is contained within a yellow three-ring binder with colorful separators marking each section. Each recipe is marked as being dairy, meat or pareve and is searchable in the index by type and by contributor.

I have to admit, the first recipe I tried — the chocolate mug cake — was out of convenience because I usually have all of those ingredients in my kitchen. And that could be a problem. The recipe took minutes to assemble and three minutes to nuke in the microwave. I think I waited longer for it to cool before I could dig in. It definitely satisfied a rare sweet tooth, and could be every chocoholic’s dream. Best of all, it doesn’t make a big mess. It’s so easy that it could be a fun and quick cooking project to make with the kids. Easy to make, bake and clean up plus it’s a tasty treat — now that’s a dangerous dessert for any age.

From there, I tried a number of other recipes from the book and found them to be easy to make, but more important, they were very good. I’m still working my way through the pages I’ve marked for other dishes I want to try.

Interested in your own copy? Call the North Boundary Hadassah at (847) 675-6790 or send a check or money order to North Boundary Hadassah — B’te Avon III, 4711 Golf Road, Suite 600, Skokie 60076. The book costs $25, plus $7 for shipping and handling.

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