"Bagels & Barbecue: The Jewish Experience in Tennessee" 

When: Feb. 6-April 11 2010

What: 

What could be more Jewish than bagels? And what could be more Southern than barbecue? Combine the two, and you get “Bagels & Barbecue,” an exhibit opening Saturday, February 6th, at the Pink Palace Museum — an exhibit on the history and heritage of Tennessee’s Jews, who began arriving in the 1770s. It’s a joint project of the Tennessee State Museum and groups throughout the state, including the Memphis Jewish Federation, so look for donations and loans on display of local significance (including the original delivery truck from Seessels grocery).

And on the subject of groceries: Simply Southern with a Dash of Kosher Soul (brought to you by Memphis’ own Wimmer publishing company) is the name of a new cookbook, which comes with its own stories about Mid-South Jewish communities. Proceeds from sales of the book go to Memphis’ Margolin Hebrew Academy, and those sales have topped 1,900 copies. (Yes, that’s one thousand nine hundred.)

It’s a cookbook of traditional Southern recipes designed for any kosher kitchen — any kitchen, for that matter — and the folks who put it together have been busy since the book appeared late last year: busy shipping copies to all corners of the country and beyond; busy with local booksignings, the latest of which is at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Thursday, February 4th.

That signing also will include a tasting of dishes drawn from the cookbook, and according to Dena Wruble (co-editor along with Tracy Rapp), cooks are already turning in more dishes for a possible future volume.

Not so fast, says Wruble, who admits she wasn’t quite sure what she was getting into here: “I knew the cookbook was going to be fabulous, but we’re taking this one step at a time. We’re going to enjoy this one book right now. For a few months at least, we’re thinking we’ll just celebrate Simply Southern.” — Leonard Gill

— Leonard Gill

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