Judy Kancigor

Judy Kancigor
Did you know?

Judy was a high school English teacher and a court reporter — for 24 years — before she discovered her true calling: cookbook and food writing, recipe creation, and teaching cooking. She couldn’t be happier.

Judy Kancigor
Judy's Featured Recipe
Grandma Estelle’s Shepard’s Pie

Click here for recipe

In the mid 1990s, Judy Bart Kancigor decided the time was ripe for a small, self-published cookbook containing family recipes and lore. She saw it as a way to pass on some family heritage to the next generation and to let the older generations codify their recipes and their memories. She had grown up in a large, loving family Jewish family in Brooklyn and Long Island and her memories both of the food and the affection encouraged her to embark on the project. The Rabinowitz family had continued to grow and while they remained close, Judy saw the cookbook as a uniting force.


She called the book Melting Pot Memories and, with her fingers crossed, ordered 500 copies for family and friends. As she says now, “When strangers began ordering copies, I suddenly found myself in the book business.” Eight printings and 11,000 copies later, she was approached by Workman Publishing. The result was a larger book called Cooking Jewish, which also had more than 500 family photographs.


Judy had not set out to be a cookbook author, but with the success of Cooking Jewish came opportunities to become a columnist for the Orange County Register, and the Orange County Jewish Life magazine. She also writes for various Southern California publications, such as Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, and national ones. She lectures and teaches at cooking schools across the country.


Today, Judy and her husband Barry live in Fullerton, California.


Latest Recipes

Matzoh Balls

The world is divided into those who love floaters and those who love sinkers. While the delicate floaters are favored by matzoh ball mave...

(1 Votes)

Potato Knishes

This recipe was adapted from one by radio personality Arthur Schwartz, and I'll go to my grave believing that if my daughter-in-law Shell...

(1 Votes)

Grandma Estelle’s Shepard’s Pie

I had to ask. “Joyce, why do you jab the meat pie with a fork before baking?” “I don’t know,” she answered. “My mother told me to do it. ...

(1 Votes)

Not-Your-Store-Bought Potato Blintzes

Why limit rich, oniony potato knish filling to knishes? For some reason the first blintz never comes out right, so don’t get discouraged....

(1 Votes)

Chicken Soup

Open letter to my cousins: Many of you claimed that your mother's chicken soup is the best. My mother’s made the final cut for two reason...

(1 Votes)

Easy Brisket for Every Holiday

Cousin Neil heads up a harem: He and his wife, Abbe, have three daughters—Amanda, Colby, and Taylor. Even the two Maltese are females. Ye...

(1 Votes)

Kasha (with or without the Varnishkes)

Say “kasha” and you get a smile. This Jewish staple–buckwheat groats (a health food really, it’s so packed with vitamins and nourishment)...

(1 Votes)


Mama Hinda rendered her own schmaltz (chicken fat) to use in cooking. The by-product, gribenes (skin cracklings), was the Pringles of her...

(1 Votes)

Marilyn Greenberg’s Easy “Unstuffed” Cabbage

Here meatballs and chopped cabbage recall the classic with much less of the actual work. Aunt Irene’s version produces a gravy-like sauce...

(1 Votes)

Potato Latkes

I have noticed through the years that there is a tendency among latke illuminati to view with disdain those who blend. “Oh, no,” they tsk...

(1 Votes)

Cherry Chili Chicken with Dipping Sauce

For some it’s a rabbit’s foot. For others it’s a lucky penny. For me it’s Cherry Chili Chicken. My lucky recipe was Aunt Hilda’s specialt...

(1 Votes)

Carol Cohen’s Luscious Noodle Kugel

These days my mother’s signature kugei is one she got from her friend Carol Cohen, the lovely wife of our cantor (both, alas, no longer w...

(1 Votes)

Mama Hinda’s Challah

No food reminds me more of Mama than her challah, and no Jewish food is more wrought with symbolism. The poppy seeds recall the manna tha...

(1 Votes)

Cheese Blintzes

Delicious year-round, cheese blintzes are traditionally served on Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount...

(1 Votes)
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