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The Celebrity Kosher Cookbook: Hank Greenberg

September 24, 2023
by Melanie Meyers

We all know Hank Greenberg as an American baseball hero (who famously refused to play on Yom Kippur in 1934), but according to a story he recounted in The Celebrity Kosher Cookbook (published in 1975) his childhood neighbors were not quite as supportive of his nascent sports career. According to him, their neighbors in Brooklyn disapproved of young Greenberg playing ball on the Sabbath “coming home dirty and bedraggled”, and that the neighborhood chatter always seemed to voice the same complaint- “The Greenberg’s are such a nice family. It’s a shame that one of them had to be such a bum.” His mother was from Romania and Greenberg grew up eating her delicious cooking, so Greenberg included his mother’s recipe for beef stew with mamilage, which is a cornmeal-based dish from Eastern Europe, similar to polenta. Enjoy! 

Beef Stew Mamilige– Serves 6

3 pounds stewing beef, cut in large pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3 medium onions, chopped
2 leeks, cut up (white part only)
2 tablespoons oil or other fat
3 cloves garlic, put through garlic press
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 ounces brandy
2 cans beef broth
1 cup Burgundy wine
2 carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

-Season meat with salt and pepper.
-In a Dutch oven or heavy pan, saute chopped onions and leeks in 2 tablespoons oil till onions are golden brown.
-Add seasoned meat, crushed garlic, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Toss to combine, and brown meat.
-Add brandy and set aflame. Spoon till flame subsides.
-Add beef broth,, Burgundy wine and carrots. Bring to boil.
-Reduce heat to simmer meat and allow to cook until meat is tender (about 2 hours).
-Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


4 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cornmeal
4 tablespoons margarine

Bring water to boil. Add salt.
-Add cornmeal slowly, stirring constantly.
-Reduce heat. Cook, stirring till mixture thickens.
-Add margarine. Continue to cook till mixture leaves sides of pan.
-Turn out on a platter.
-Serve with gravy from stew.