Tom Bernardin, a former tour guide at Ellis Island, compiled hundreds of recipes from the children and grandchildren of immigrants who settled in New York. The cuisines featured in The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook span the globe, from Norway to Lebanon to Jamaica. The recipes are organized by country of origin and come with family stories. Bernardin considers the recipes "historical documents," so he tweaked them as little as possible. Here are some samples (you can buy the book at the museum shop):
Mrs. Semder's Very Own German String Bean Soup (A Complete Meal)
1/2 lb bones
2 3/4 cups water
1 lb beef (neck, shin, tail)
2 lbs stringbeans
4 medium potatoes
salt, to taste
2 small carrots 1 piece celery
oregano, hearty pinch
Wash the bones, cover with cold water and bring quickly to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hours. Put in the meat and a little salt, bring to a boil again, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Clean carrot, celery, leek and onion (leave whole). Add to stock last hour of cooking. When broth is done, strain through a fine sieve.
Cut meat into bit-size pieces. Add to broth. Add stringbeans that have been cleaned and cut into 1" pieces. Add potatoes that have been peeled and cut into quarters. Add a pinch of oregano. Simmer till potatoes and string beans are tender. Salt to taste.
Grandma's Chocolate Cookies
1/2 lb semi-sweet chocolate, grated
1/2 lb walnuts, ground
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
a little bread crumbs or wheat germ
red cinnamon candy (hearts or dots)
Combine first five ingredients. Add enough bread crumbs or wheat germ to make mixture firm enough to handle. Roll into small balls. Flatten them on a greased cookie sheet. Press red cinnamon candy in center. Bake in slow oven (about 300 degrees) for 20 minutes or until tops look baked. Let cool before removing.
Yam and Cornmeal Pone
2 large yams
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground alspice
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beatn
2 cups medium coarse cornmeal
4 cups coconut milk
2 cups milk
1 cup raisins
Peel and grate the yams on the medium side of a grater (or use a food processor). The texture should be fine. When using the blender add the concount milk as you process the yams.
Place yam mixture in a large mixing bowl, add any cocunut milk you haven't used, mix with wooden spoon. Add sugar, mix and add spices, vanilla and salt to mixture and stir again.
Mix cornmeal with two cups of milk in a separate bowl, make sure there are no lumps. Add this to the yam mixture. Add beaten eggs and mix. Add raisins and mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into a baking pan, about 9" x 15 "which has a bit of canola oil applied on the inside. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for one hour or until an inserted knife blade comes out clean. Cool. Cut into 3" by 3" squares.