Cover image for The way meat loves salt : a Cinderella tale from the Jewish tradition
The way meat loves salt : a Cinderella tale from the Jewish tradition
Jaffe, Nina.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
In this Eastern European Jewish variant of the Cinderella story, the youngest daughter of a rabbi is sent away from home in disgrace, but thanks to the help of the prophet Elijah, marries the son of a renowned scholar and is reunited with her family. Includes words and music to a traditional Yiddish wedding song.
Reading Level:
580 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 3.6 2 Quiz: 30979 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Cinderella. English.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.J156 WAY 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.J156 WAY 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
PZ8.1.J156 WAY 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.J156 WAY 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Many years ago in Poland, there lived a rabbi who had a wife and three daughters. One day, the rabbi asks his children a powerful question: "How much do you love me?" His older daughters profess their love in gold and diamonds, but his youngest daughter, Mireleh, declares she loves her father the way meat loves salt. For this remark, she is banished from her father's home.In this flavorful Jewish Cinderella tale, Mireleh's courageous journey is peppered with a perfect blend of magic and romance, leading to a reconciliation with her beloved father. Lavishly illustrated in Louise August's bold linocuts, The Way Meat Loves Salt will make a wonderful gift for the Jewish holidays.

Author Notes

Nina Jaffe is the award-winning author of While Standing on One Foot: Puzzle Stories and Wisdom Tales from the Jewish Tradition , co-authored with Steve Zeitlin, as well as A Voice for the People: A Biography of Harold Courlander (both Holt). She lives in New York City with her family. Louise August illustrated In the Month of Kislev: A Story of Hanukkah by Nina Jaffe, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. A painter, printmaker, and muralist, Ms. August lives in New York City.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-7. A Yiddish story from eastern Europe combines two folklore traditions: the romantic Cinderella tale and the love-test between parent and child. Like King Lear, the father asks his daughters to tell him how much they love him. When his youngest and most beloved daughter, Mireleh, answers "the way meat loves salt," he drives her out in fury. Then the Cinderella story comes in, with Elijah the Prophet playing the role of fairy godmother. He gives the outcast girl a magic stick that enables her to dress up in satin and pearls, and the rich rabbi's son falls in love with her. At her wedding feast, she asks that the food be cooked without salt, and when her father complains that the food is tasteless, she reveals who she is, and he asks her forgiveness. The linocut prints painted in oil have the simplicity and exuberance of folk art. Children will enjoy the triumph of the outcast as well as the loving connections between the generations and between the stories. (Reviewed October 1, 1998)0805043845Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Despite the subtitle, this is not strictly a Cinderella tale so much as a patchwork of two or three fairy tales, including Cinderella, brought to a Polish-Jewish setting. It begins as a variant on the tale in which a father asks each of his three daughters to declare how much she loves him; the older two answer in obvious ways ("as much as diamonds"; "as much as gold and silver"), but the third says, "I love you the way meat loves salt." The father here, a rabbi, misunderstands and exiles the youngest daughter, who, in this case, receives a magic stick from a stranger (he turns out to be the prophet Elijah). She takes refuge in the house of a faraway rabbi with a handsome son. Add in a wedding (in place of a ball) and the story becomes Cinderella-ish, with the girl using the magic stick to conjure up a pretty dress, shoes and transportation. A missing slipper soon leads to the girl's own wedding with aforesaid handsome son. The wedding supper is prepared without salt, prompting sudden understanding from the bride's father. August endows the story with gorgeously colored linocuts as intimate and attractively homespun as for In the Month of Kislev (written by Jaffe); like Jaffe, she can convey a warm ethnic tradition with her own sophisticated touches and discreet flair. But even with Jaffe's supple, classically cadenced prose, the seams show‘the story is best for readers who want the Jewish backdrop. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Young readers will recognize Cinderella while adults will see the story of King Lear in this Yiddish tale. When a rabbi asks his three daughters how much they love him, the first two name diamonds and gold and silver and he is content. However, when Mireleh tells her father that she loves him "the way meat loves salt," he is horrified and banishes her from his home. Much like the protagonist in Charlotte Huck's Princess Furball (Greenwillow, 1989), she makes her own way in the world, with the help of Elijah the Prophet, marrying a rabbi's son and inviting her family to the wedding banquet where the food is made tasteless from lack of salt. At last, the rabbi realizes how much his daughter loves him and the families are reunited to live happily ever after. This retelling is enriched by a clear introduction that shows the place of the story in literary tradition; by flowing language that will make it a fine read-aloud; and by linocut illustrations done in oil on rice paper, showing simple faces, embroidered clothing, and rustic homes. The words and music to the traditional Eastern European wedding song, "Mazel Tov," are appended. A fine addition to folktale collections, especially those where Cinderella variants or Eastern-European and Jewish tales are in demand.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.