Family recipes make for tasty fundraiser


More than 30 people watched as three well-respected cooks prepared their signature dishes one at a time at the central demonstration table.

No, this wasn’t a Food Network cooking show.

Rather, it was a homespun fundraiser organized by Marsha Schuman in honor of her mother, Gert Gold, for the cause that Gold, 85, has supported for 60 years: NA’AMAT USA. Schuman invited three cooks, her mother and two of her mother’s friends, Beverly Stuhlman and Ann Grabel, to prepare their signature family dishes. Schuman dubbed the event “Great Ladies in Their Eighties.”

Schuman said she came up with the idea after hearing her mother worry that in her advancing years, she feared she could no longer raise money for NA’AMAT.

“My mother was lamenting to me that she could not do more for her beloved Israel,” Schuman said. “She felt like she wanted to do more, but with her age, and her various ailments, she wasn’t able to do as much as she used to as a young woman. So I said, well, how about we do ‘great ladies’ because you’re a great lady, and ‘in their eighties’ because you’re in your eighties and let’s do something with your friends, and let’s do it for your favorite charity,” she said.

Schuman said she realized that many of her friends had lamented in the past that old family recipes too often were never passed on to the next generation.

“So many of my friends say, ‘I can taste my grandma’s pesadic [kosher for passover] recipe, but she never wrote it down, so I can’t recreate it,'” Schuman said.

So, Schuman organized “Great Ladies in Their Eighties” as a cooking demonstration and luncheon event at her home, and charged $36 (double chai) in order to raise money for NA’AMAT.

Thirty-two people turned out for the event, and Schuman even had friends from out of state send in a donation, even though they were unable to attend.

Attendees watched as Gold, assisted by Schuman and her granddaughter, Renee Schuman, demonstrated her Jello mold recipe. Grabel showed the audience the way to make strudel and Stuhlman showed how to make the dough for her potato knish recipe.

Afterwards, as the audience settled in for lunch, they were able to sample the dishes prepared.

So, how was the food?

“We had a lot of happy people,” Marsha Schuman said. “All of my friends have been asking me for my mother’s recipes for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Now they were able to see how they are done.”

Gold, who serves as the NA’AMAT USA St. Louis Council’s chair for foster parents, said she has been making her Jello mold for years, although she never expected it to help raise money for Israel.

“Whenever there was a simcha, a bar mitzvah for a good friend of mine, they’d always ask for my Jello mold,” Gold said.

“I feel like we do good for the children of Israel,” she said.

“This was a day of love,” Schuman said. “A day of love of family, friends, good food and good taste, and of love for Israel and the foster children of Israel.”

Gold said the fact that her daughter organized and coordinated the event, despite her busy schedule as a president of Damar Travel & Cruise was no surprise.

“My daughter is a very benevolent individual and she has always given me a lot of kavod,” Gold said. “She’s a good daughter.”