Remembering Mildred Covert, a queen of Kosher Louisiana Cooking

“How is it possible to be Kosher and Creole at the same time?”

This is how Mildred Covert and Sylvia Gerson launched their 1982 cookbook. The ensuing pages laid out just how, with dishes like veal jambalaya and red beans and rice with beef sausage instead of the traditional pork.

Mildred Covert. Photo by Johnathan M. Lewis. www.JMLEWISONLINE.com
Mildred Covert. Photo by Johnathan M. Lewis.
www.JMLEWISONLINE.com

On Mother’s Day evening, Mildred Lubritz Covert passed away at the age of 88 at an assisted living facility outside New Orleans. With Sylvia Gerson, she not only wrote “Kosher Creole Cookbook” but “Kosher Cajun Cookbook” in 1987, which featured Cajun Chanukah Latkes, Trayfish Beignets, and Gittel’s Gumbo.

Covert was the granddaughter of a Polish Jewish couple who’d landed in New Orleans after a pogrom in their home country. She told culinary historian Michael Twitty that her family learned the food of Louisiana and the South through African American cooks. “Through them, we became New Orleanians and Americans,” she said.

It’s a sad irony that Mrs. Covert’s passing comes just as Gravy is about to tell a story of another family’s hybrid Jewish-Southern identity. Stay tuned next week for an episode that takes us to Natchez, Mississippi, and one granddaughter’s exploration of how her family commingled the two identities for generations.

Rest in peace, Mildred Covert. Olav ha-sholom.