We met this month’s Mother while she was in Portland visiting her daughter, Barbara Schuetze. While some of her recipes reflect her Jewish roots, others represent her spirit of adventure and the world travel that inspired her to experiment with foods from many countries. She embraces cooking, as she does people, with an open mind and open heart. At age 78, she still loves to travel, meet new people and try new recipes.
Miriam remembers when she was a small girl, sitting in her Romanian-born Aunt Annie’s huge kitchen watching her make knishes, succulent chicken and flaky apple strudel. She has warm memories of her loving aunt and the mouth-watering smells. It was her initiation into the magical world of cooking and baking.
As a young bride, with the desire to cook, but no experience, Miriam recalls her first meal for company being “the worst dinner in the world.” So she started collecting recipes from friends, watching people cook and asking a lot of questions. Slowly she gained confidence and experimented until she mastered the art.
Over the years, cooking and baking have played a big role in Miriam’s life. Suddenly thrust into the role of breadwinner for her family, she began to sell her blintzes, pecan rolls, pies and cakes from home to eke out a living, giving it up when the door literally fell off her oven. In the mid-60s, Miriam remarried and she and her husband bought a failing restaurant. Within six months, they completely rejuvenated the restaurant, added a deli counter and Jewish specialties and turned it into a downtown Cleveland hot spot. Their clientele was diverse — everyone from the working crowd, to families with kids, to judges from the nearby courthouse. Eventually they opened two more restaurants downtown. According to Miriam, it was hard work but lots of fun.
Miriam believes in using only top-quality ingredients, and delicious, high quality food was her trademark at home – and at the restaurants. When she runs into former customers, she is proud to hear that they loved coming to the restaurant because the food was consistent and they were always warmly greeted with a smile.
She hopes that you enjoy some of her favorite dishes and leave Mother’s Bistro with a smile on your face, too.
Beef Brisket Sandwich
on grilled country bread, with horseradish mayonnaise, lettuce, & tomato topped with caramelized onions & cheddar cheese, served with pasta salad
chopped roasted eggplant with sauteed onions on a bed of lettuce, served with sliced tomato & grilled country bread
slow-cooked chicken (on the bone) with onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes & red wine, served with buttered noodles
Braised Beef Brisket
with a rich onion gravy and potatoes, served with seasonal vegetables
with tomatoes, garlic, sherry, oregano & feta cheese, served with rice pilaf
Chocolate Cream Pie
a rich chocolate pudding-filled pie with a buttery crust, topped with whipped cream