How It Got Started

The Roots

My memoirs, Wedding Song and Leaving Iran, chronicle my life and those of my family members in Iran. Food is an integral part of these stories.

Whenever I read from my memoirs, people from the audience approached me to say how they had stories of their own, often flavored by their favorite food. If they could write, they, too, would tell these stories of family members and friends in the kitchen or around the dining table. 

Thus the idea was born. I could write these stories for them through this blog. 

This website is a collection of food memories and recipes written by many.


Enjoy! Please share your stories with me. 

Copyright: Farideh Goldin 2020


    Food & Memory

 Remembering People and Places

Does the aroma of a food remind you of a place? Does a recipe remind you of a special person in your life? 

This blog aggregates stories, pictures and videos of these memories and the recipes connected to them.

Please contact me if you have  a story and a recipe to share. 

  • Farideh Goldin

Dava's Mandel Bread

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

The Recipe:

Mix by hand in large bowl:

*2/3 c. sugar

*2/3 c. oil

*add 4 jumbo eggs, one at a time, and mix together.

* Add: ½ t. vanilla

* ½ t. almond extract

In second bowl mix together:

*2-1/2 c. flour

*2-1/2 t. baking powder

*½ t. salt

* Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix by hand.

* Add 1 cup chopped walnuts

Place ingredients in greased (I use PAM) baking pan: you can use 3 metal ice cube trays, three mid-size aluminum loaf pans, or French bread loaf pans but they must have a closed ending.

Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour until the top is lightly browned.

Slice and place flat on cookie sheet. Sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar mixture and “toast” at 200 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Turn, sprinkle the top and “toast” again.

Be sure they do not get too dry.

Dava's very special double-container pan.

The Memory:

My name is Dava Berkman I was raised in a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. We were the only Jewish family in town, and my father owned a grocery and meat store whose customers were the coal miners. It was not a very exciting or stimulating place to be raised, but that's where my parents lived.

People often ask me "how did they get to that small town"?  My grandparents immigrated separately from Lithuania and met and married in Pittsburgh where my grandfather was a kosher butcher in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. My father's younger brother, my uncle Frank, was born with kidney disease and this was before the time of dialysis. The doctor told my grandmother that if she wanted her son to grow up, they should move away from Pittsburgh.  At that time, around 1920, Pittsburgh was a filthy city with the smokestacks from the steel mills belching smoke and soot into the air.

My grandmother had a brother-in-law who was a peddler and he recommended the small town to my grandparents. So that's how we got to Bentleyville. When my father was young, there were a handful of Jewish families in town who owned small businesses.

My grandfather predeceased me and I was name for him. My grandmother was a fabulous person who was a great influence on my life. She was a fantastic cook, but I only have one of her recipes, for mandel brot, which I am providing here. I was young when she died and, unfortunately, didn't spend time in the kitchen with her learning how she cooked.

Dava Berkman
Dava Berkman


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