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Recipes of Love with Stories from Nama’s Kitchen

From the moment we walked into Nama’s kitchen, the aroma would capture our appetites. She was among the world’s best cooks. At least we thought so (and still do).

36 Recipes of Love with Stories from Nama’s Kitchen

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy these family stories or the ethnic-flavored goodies. Just pull up a chair to our dining room table and savor the love (served with a hearty dollop of butter and sour cream) in every recipe.

Like dessert, the best is saved for last, and you’ll find Diana “Nama” Goldberg’s easy recipe for the World’s Best Cheesecake, along with family favorites for every course: matzo ball soup, beef tenderloin, farfel, strudel, kugel, mandelbrate, schnecken, and more, seasoned with dining room table talk and kitchen hints.

-The Book


From the moment we walked into Nama’s kitchen, the aroma would capture our appetites. She was among the world’s best cooks. At least we thought so (and still do).

Nama was Diana Silverman Goldberg, my grandmother. She grew up as a first-generation Jewish princess in New York. Her father was in the garment business (I am told he owned the factory). She didn’t cook much at all because they had “help.” So when she married Louis Goldberg (her brother Irving had married Rose, Louis’s sister; the double brother and sister hook-up was fairly common in 1920s New York) and he moved her halfway across the country in 1919 to Sioux City, Iowa (and that’s a long, fascinating story itself), she learned to cook herself. 

Great Grandson Jackson with Nama (1992)
-Our Story


Sandra Goldberg Wendel claims to have grown up as Jewish in food only. Her Jewish father from Iowa married her Catholic mother from New Jersey, so the mélange of religions and cultures was steeped with a healthy portion of Jewish food from her paternal grandmother, to whom this book is a tribute.

Sandra is a book editor and coauthor of the triple award-winning consumer health books How Not to Be My Patient: A Physician’s Secrets for Staying Healthy and Surviving Any Diagnosis and Farewell: Vital End-of-Life Questions with Candid Answers from a Leading Palliative and Hospice Physician (with Edward T. Creagan, MD, of Mayo Clinic).


She earned a degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and teaches book writing and publishing at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.

Daughter Alyson Wendel Fackler is a budding pastry chef who thinks nothing of tackling a Martha Stewart recipe that takes three pages to explain or tweaking a family recipe or creating her own. She holds a degree in fashion design from Florida State University and an MBA. She and husband, Ben, are owner/managers of Shirley’s Diner in Omaha (voted best diner in Omaha).

Son Jackson Wendel graduated with a degree in culinary arts from the highly respected program at Metropolitan Community College. After paying his dues making pizza and pub food in various eateries around Omaha, Jackson earned his chops as a chef at Omaha’s Block 16, a well-known farm-to-table restaurant, one of the best places to eat in the US, according to USA Today and the New York Times, and whose Croque Garcon burger has been proclaimed to be among the world’s top five by the Food Network’s Alton Brown.

Sandra Wendel
-About the Author


Comprised of family stories and the recipes for 36 dishes straight from the kitchen of Diana 'Nama' Goldberg, "Chewish" is a culinary collection of family recipes that are as palate pleasing as they are appetite satisfying. Nicely illustrated with colored drawings, the recipes range from an appetizer called Crab Meat Dip; to Noodle Pudding; Black Bottom Pie; Mama Frankie's Brisket; Apple Dumplings; and Nama's Farfel. Of special note is the recipe for the World's Best Cheesecake.


A delight to browse through and ideal for planning menus with, "Chewish" will prove to be a very welcome and much appreciated addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections. "Chewish" also makes an excellent gift for connoisseurs of fine home cooking!

Midwest Book Review

Recipes and cooking are really a way to explore your roots. What better way to pass on your family legacy than through food and family recipes. Chewish captures the essence of “family” and has inspired us to use some of their traditional recipes as specials at Block 16. 

Paul and Jessica Urban

chefs/owners, national award-winning restaurant Block 16, Omaha

Chewish captures the spirit of a messy, creative, self-taught cook for whom cooking was clearly an act of love. A delightful tribute. You’ll savor the stories as much as the recipes.

Amy S. Brown

Co-Publisher and Editor, Edible Omaha

A blast from the past! Memories of our grandmothers’ cooking and baking continue to inspire us. Delicious recipes worth passing on! 

Cedric S. Fichepain, CEC

Owner and Executive Chef, Le Voltaire Restaurant and Le Petit Paris Bakeries in Omaha; Honorary French Consul; author Fowl to the Bone and 20% percent and counting...

If we served Nama’s World-Famous Cheesecake at our diner, we’d have lines out into the parking lot. As it is, we have lines for Sunday brunch, so make the cheesecake at home and come see us for biscuits and gravy instead.

Ben Fackler

owner, Shirley’s Diner (voted Omaha’s best diner)

If you eat this book, you’ll get 1500 grams of fiber. Make and eat the delightful recipes instead, in moderation. I’m a famous doctor. I have to say that.

Edward T. Creagan, MD

Mayo Clinic, author of How Not to Be My Patient

Sandra’s stories recall fond childhood memories. As neighbors, I knew every crack in the sidewalk where I dashed with metal clamp-on roller skates from my home to hers. It was always a special treat to join Sandra for a visit to see her Nama. And now, it’s possible to recreate Nama’s very special (and incredibly delicious) culinary creations in my kitchen and yours.

Paulette Lewis Mitchell

author of 14 cookbooks, including The 15-Minute Gourmet Series


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