Zabar’s: A Family Story, with Recipes

Schocken. May 2022. 240p. ISBN 9780805243390. $28. COOKING
The history of Zabar’s, the famous New York City “appetizing” store, mirrors the history of the 20th century for many immigrant Jews in the city. Written by the oldest granddaughter of Zabar’s founder, this combination business history/memoir begins with the birth of Louis Zabarka in 1901 (in what is now Ukraine) and his surviving a pogrom against Jewish people. He eventually emigrated to the U.S. by way of Canada. Undeterred by a lack of legal status (and the English language), he opened his first store in 1934, at the height of the Depression. When he died 16 years later, he and his wife Lilly owned five grocery stores, a deli, and a wholesale business. Lilly, her two sons and later her grandchildren (including the author) carried on the business in a similar unstoppable fashion. They continued to grow it into the landmark and foodie destination that it is today. Well-illustrated with vintage photographs and filled with stories of growing up in this celebrated institution, each chapter ends with a beloved recipe.
VERDICT A deep dive into family lore and history, perfect for Zabar’s regulars or those who wish they could be.
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