Recipes and Recollections from the Terraces of Baycrest

Edited by Norene Gilletz

The Lorraine and David "Sonny" Langer Edition


A Ta’am to Remember marks the 40th anniversary of the Terraces of Baycrest, a supportive housing community for seniors. This book features 192 contemporary and traditional kosher recipes along with personal memories of 73 residents of the Terraces. The stories, both poignant and funny, are snapshots of Jewish life during the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war years.

The book has been edited by Canada's leading kosher cookbook author, Norene Gilletz, and generously sponsored by Lorraine and David "Sonny" Langer.

All proceeds from sales of the book will support programs and projects of the Resident Council.

Launch Date

A Ta'am to Remember will be launched:

Sunday November 29th, 2015


The Terraces of Baycrest (Health Sciences)

55 Ameer Ave., Toronto, Ontario

Please RSVP at 416-785-2500 ext. 2267

To Purchase

The cookbook costs $25.00, and can be purchased either at the launch

or by phoning: 416-785-2500 ext. 2267

Reserve your copies now


“My mother would put a live chicken in a crate and ship it by train to the shoichet in Moncton. A few days later, she’d receive a package of kosher chicken packed in ice.”

“I used to be a balabusta, but now I am kaput!”

“To feed 12 people you had to be smart.”

“I looked for a job up and down Spadina Avenue. For a few years, I worked at Betty Loo Powder Puffs, making lipsticks and face powder for $10 a week.”

“In winter, everything was closed, so there were no stores to buy food. You grew things in summer and preserved them for winter.”

Esther became a union leader. “We had to fight for benefits. There was no relief, no unemployment insurance, no social services. There were strikes, because our
 working conditions were so bad”.

Isabel had a great comeback line when she was asked her age: “It’s only a number and mine is unlisted!”


Red Lentil Soup (Pareve) - Jean Goldstein


  1. Place lentils and rice in a medium bowl and add water to cover. Soak for 20–30 minutes. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden about 5 minutes.
  3. Add hot water and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in drained lentils and rice.
  5. Simmer, covered, for 25–30 minutes until lentils and rice are tender.
  6. Add soup mix, cumin, olive oil and salt. Stir well. If soup is too thick, add water as needed. Simmer 5–10 minutes longer.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings. Reheats and/or freezes well.

Terrace Tips

Jean Goldstein

Jean Goldstein grew up in Poland. “When I was young, my mother didn’t want me in the kitchen with her, because I was too slow. I couldn’t keep up with her. It wasn’t until I was married that I learned to cook.” As Jean gained confidence, she experimented and expanded her cooking skills. She liked to try new recipes on Milton, her husband, but he didn’t necessarily appreciate her efforts. “That was very good,” he would say, “but don’t bother to make it again!” However, Jean was not discouraged because other people enjoyed her cooking creations.

Potato Chip Chicken (Meat, Passover) - Mary Spergel


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Crush potato chips in a large Ziploc bag. Add garlic powder and paprika and shake well to combine.
  3. Rinse chicken pieces. Pat dry. Dip each piece in oil to coat the skin.
  4. Add chicken pieces, a few at a time, to potato chip mixture. Seal bag and shake well so that chicken pieces are well coated.
  5. Arrange in a single layer in prepared pan.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Yield: 4 servings. Reheats and/or freezes well.

Terrace Tips

Mary Spergel

“This recipe was always a family favourite and a definite crowd pleaser. It was quick and easy and could be prepared with very little notice, except for one thing. The recipe calls for potato chips. My husband loved potato chips. I would buy them and hide them. He would find them and eat them. My daughter came up with a simple solution. “Buy 2 bags – 1 for him and one for you.’ It worked, but it was more fun the other way!” Mary’s daughter, Barbara Ross, said that her mother worked at jobs ranging from bookkeeper to salesclerk. “She channeled much of her time and energy into a variety of charitable organizations. My mother was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Volunteerism in 1982 at a ceremony at the Ontario Legislature.”

Chicken Cassoulet (Meat) - Ena Segall


  1. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with triple the amount of cold water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Place presoaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with triple the amount of fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender about 1 hour. Drain, rinse and set aside. You should have 3-4 cups cooked beans.
  3. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, paprika and sugar.
  4. In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches on all sides about 10 minutes. Remove from pot. Set aside.
  5. If needed, add a little more oil to pot. Add carrots, garlic, onions and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or until softened.
  6. Stir in tomatoes and juice, broth, seasonings and turkey.
  7. Add chicken and beans and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 45 minutes or until tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  8. If sauce is too thin, mash some of the beans to thicken it.

Yield: 8 servings. Reheats and/or freezes well.

Terrace Tips

Ena Segall

“This was a lovely dish for us to eat after a day of skiing. Ena adapted this “Best One-Dish Meals” recipe from Canadian Living years ago. It originally included bacon and was topped with buttered bread crumbs, both of which Ena omitted.

Once Upon A Ta'am

The word ta’am is a Yiddish and Hebrew word meaning taste. The title of this book, A Ta'am to Remember, is a pun intertwining two themes — the recipes and memories that were shared so graciously by residents of the Terraces.

This book was a volunteer-driven project that spanned 8 years. In the interim, many of the resident-contributors passed away and sadly they did not have the chance to see their names, recipes and anecdotes in print. We regret the many unavoidable delays, but we were determined to create a professional cookbook that would have made them proud. We hope that their families will treasure their legacy of wonderful recipes and personal stories.

Our book is launching in time for the 40th anniversary of the Terraces in 2016 and reuniting the Terraces with David (Sonny) Langer. He was a Baycrest administrator who envisioned the model for the Terraces and became its first director. David and his wife, Lorraine, have generously sponsored our cookbook.

We are grateful to the residents and their families who were so willing to share their personal stories, both poignant and funny. Some residents spoke about the varied hardships of their early years – growing up during the Great Depression, surviving the Holocaust and/or adjusting to life as immigrants. Others described how their mothers maintained kashruth (dietary laws), even in communities where there were no local shoichets and kosher food. Many residents reflected on the culinary influences of their mothers and grandmothers. Others recounted the challenges of being newlyweds or working mothers and having to feed their husbands and children without the advantages of the modern kitchen. These women were proud cooks and their identities were often defined by their cooking. Many of them did not have careers. They were the last true generation of stay-at-home moms.

A Ta'am to Remember was the vision of Rachel Orlan, a Terraces resident who wanted to publish a kosher cookbook with anecdotes from her neighbours. She believed the book could be a fundraiser and approached Terraces staff, who were extremely supportive. As Rachel collected recipes, Rivka Gellis, the therapeutic recreationist, and Rachel Weiss, her student, started organizing them. Unfortunately, we were unable to include all the submissions, because of space limitations and the similarity of many of the recipes.

I became involved in the project after Rivka spoke to my mother, Dorothy Riegelhaupt, who was a Terraces resident at the time. She told Rivka that I worked with Norene Gilletz, Canada’s leading author of kosher cookbooks. I, in turn, recruited Norene to professionally edit the recipes. Throughout the years, Norene has been our guiding force beyond editing the 192 recipes. She has offered her wisdom and expertise in every aspect of the book, from its design and marketing to the recruitment of volunteers.

Our volunteers performed a myriad of jobs. A large contingent of recipe testers shopped, cooked, baked, tasted and even retested recipes. Some people typed, proofread and edited, while others interviewed and photographed the residents. There were volunteers who helped with the art and design of the book and still others who worked on marketing and sales.

There was also a small group of hardworking volunteers, who dedicated an incredible amount of time to this project. Helene Medjuck aptly dubbed this group the Ta’am Team, after she had coined the title of the book, A Ta’am to Remember. I am so grateful to the Ta’am Team for their commitment, enthusiasm and, especially, their staying power. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my husband, Marty, who has been a tremendous source of guidance and support throughout this long journey.

A special mention must be made to our graphic designer, Aaron Feldman, who patiently worked with us and transformed our ideas into a beautifully designed book. Many thanks to Sheila Smyth, the former director of the Terraces. Sheila was extremely supportive of this project from the onset and, even after her retirement, she continued to provide invaluable guidance and assistance. My deep appreciation goes to Cindy Beer, Barbara Silverstein and Irene Yared, who spent countless hours with me and went beyond the call of volunteer duty.

Without the wonderful support of our entire volunteer corps, A Ta’am to Remember could not have been published. We are extremely proud of this cookbook. The recipes and memories truly honour the lives and times of the residents of the Terraces of Baycrest.

Elaine Kaplan

Project Director

Tribute to David & Lorraine Langer

David “Sonny” Langer knows what it takes to turn a vision into a reality. In the 1970s, he was part of the dedicated team that drew up the blueprint for the Terraces of Baycrest, one of the first supportive housing facilities for seniors in Canada. When it opened in 1976, David became the first administrator, a position he held until 1979.

David began his career at Baycrest in the mid ’60s. He served as director of volunteers, assistant administrator of the Jewish Home for the Aged (now the Apotex Centre) and later as assistant director of the Day Care Centre. In 1972, Walter Lyons, a Baycrest administrator and social worker, recruited David for the Terraces project. “Walter was a visionary at the forefront of geriatrics,” David said. “Walter understood what the Terraces could be. The original plans were just for an apartment building, but he imagined a community that would keep seniors active and engaged.”

David helped design an award-winning building linking the Terraces, an apartment tower with a dining room, to the Joseph E. and Minnie Wagman Seniors Centre, its programming arm. “The fact that the two buildings were attached made this facility the first of its kind. That’s the uniqueness of the Terraces!” David likened the Wagman Centre to “the main street in a town. It was the centre of life. Everything was there.” He said the swimming pool, exercise room, greenhouse, Creative Arts Studio and library all bustled with activity. There were 2 synagogues – an Orthodox synagogue that mainly attracted men, and a Reform congregation started by women who wanted egalitarian services. “On Shabbat, the Orthodox service ended early so the men ran to the Reform service for the kiddish. The beauty of it was that it worked.”

David also envisioned an innovative triangular design for the apartment building, with a communal space where residents could congregate. “Each floor had to have a leader. We encouraged people to be as involved and self-sufficient as possible.” The philosophy was to have a self-operating building, run primarily by the residents. They operated the grocery store, dry-cleaning depot, coffee shop and the elevators. One resident even convinced a bank to open a branch in the building. “It was a vital community,” he said. “It had a wonderful, caring atmosphere that I don’t think has been duplicated anywhere.”

David can still recall the names of residents and staff from 40 years ago. “I got to know them and their backgrounds. There was such a mixing of education and cultures. Some were born in Canada, others came from Europe. There were Holocaust survivors. Many worked on Spadina. The residents were good people. They were lovely, sharp, smart, fun and cultured. They were gems. They made the Terraces what it is today.”

David said food was an important aspect of Terraces life. Many friendships developed in the dining room, and the coffee shop became a popular meeting place. Residents also sat on the food committee and helped out at the barbecues. They even organized the Terraces first anniversary celebration and did all the baking. “I view food as the key to socializing. It’s the centre of everything,” said David, now a successful Toronto caterer. “My wife, Lorraine, was instrumental in helping me launch my catering business.” Sonny Langer’s Catering has become so popular that David is proud to be known as the “Shiva King.”

Now David has come full circle. After setting the tenor for life at the Terraces decades ago, he has provided major financial sponsorship for this cookbook. David and Lorraine's generosity have made it possible for the residents’ recipes and personal stories to be a lasting legacy for their families and the community. On behalf of the residents, the Resident Council, and the cookbook team, we salute your commitment to the Terraces and its community spirit.

Tribute to Norene Gilletz

We would not have been able to publish this cookbook without Norene Gilletz at the helm. She was committed to the project from the start, offering her wisdom on many aspects of the book apart from editing recipes. Norene is a true Canadian treasure, with roots in Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto. She is a food writer, food consultant, cookbook editor and the author of 11 kosher cookbooks.

Norene’s culinary career was launched with Second Helpings Please!, one of Canada’s most successful cookbooks. It was published in 1968 by B’nai B’rith Women in Montreal. Norene was the editor and the driving force behind this book. “It all started at a tea membership,” she recounted. “Our baking was so delicious that someone suggested we write a cookbook. We thought it would take 3 months, but it took 3 years.”

Norene joined our project because she believes in community cookbooks. “That’s where I started from,” she said. “The Terraces recipes are from people who cooked on a daily basis to feed their families.” She pointed out that many residents were intuitive cooks who did not use written recipes. Fortunately, Norene is a self-proclaimed recipe detective. “I have recipe antennae. For the Terraces recipes, I often had to quantify and modify many ingredients and clarify the directions, but I always maintained the integrity of these recipes. I also made suggestions in the Terrace Tips, often with a dash of humour.”

Norene said A Ta’am to Remember is more than a cookbook. “It includes snippets of the lives of women who shared their favourite family recipes along with touching memories.” Norene was passionate about the legacy of this book. “These recipes are a lasting way to immortalize these women.”

Message from the Resident Council

For generations, Jewish families sitting around the dinner table have solved problems, discussed ideas, entertained friends, celebrated holidays and welcomed strangers and newcomers.

The recipes in this book come from Jewish families who lived in Europe, South America and Canada. The Residents and their families wanted to share their treasured recipes which were enjoyed by their families and friends. Many of the recipes reflect European style cooking of older generations. All the recipes have been tested in Toronto kitchens of today and they have stood the test of time.

As one resident said: “My mother was a wonderful cook and we enjoyed our meals together. I wish there had been a book like this to pass along some of her secrets as well as stories to link us with a different time and place.”

Murray Shukyn,


Resident Council

Evelyn Bloom,

Past President

Elisabeth Michnick,

Past President

Art Gallery 2015

We thank Evelyn Bloom for organizing the artwork for A Ta'am to Remember, and salute the artists who provided their drawings and paintings. Evelyn is a Terraces resident and former president of the Resident Council. She was a visual arts teacher at several Montreal high schools. Evelyn currently teaches a weekly painting class at the Wagman Centre. All the artwork in this book was created in her class.


The Terraces of Baycrest (Health Sciences)

55 Ameer Ave., Toronto, Ontario

416-785-2500 ext. 2267