By Tracey Baeck
Kahn, Lena. Die Frau auf richtige Fährte : erzieherische Winke und praktische Ratschläge. Basel, 1901. [Reprint c. 1999]
The author of Die Frau auf richtiger Fährte (The Wife on the Right Track), Lena Kahn, was born in Sulzburg (Baden-Württemburg, Germany) in the 19th century. In her memoir, Kinder-Erinnerungen (LBI Archives call number ME 346), she described a happy childhood filled with hard work, strict Orthodox religious observance, and fond recollections of food. (A summary of her memoir can be found in Kreutzberger, Max. Leo Baeck Institute New York, Bibliothek und Archiv : Katalog. Band 1, p. 426, C206). She married Moritz Kahn, a Sulzburger cattle merchant, and they had four children together. After her husband’s early death, Lena Kahn relocated to many different places, including Güntherstal and Basel (both near the southwestern edge of Germany close to Freiburg), where her book was published.
Although the title of her book does not specify that it is a Jewish cookbook, it contains sections on managing a Jewish kitchen, in particular on preparing meals for the Sabbath and Pesach. It differs from other cookbooks of the time in that it includes advice on raising children. The child-rearing advice is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the child’s physical well-being, the second on spiritual education, and the third on practical guidelines for frugal living, which include a budget for furnishing a home.
The most remarkable thing about Kahn’s book is the sense of maternal pride and joy she conveys in her descriptions of raising children in a Jewish household; the same feeling found in the memoirs of her childhood. Sadly, no original copies of the 1901 publication can be found. Further editions were not published until its reprint in the late 20th century and early 21st century by Menes-Verlag.
(Library call number TX 724 K34)