Accession consists of Jewish cookbooks from South Africa and Zimbabwe that were collected and used by Denise Rootenberg and her mother Celia. Included are the following cookbooks: "The Traditional Sephardi recipe book" (cookbook by the Sephardic community in Zimbabwe), "Cooking With Confidence" (South African), "Cavalcade Golden Jubilee" (Zimbabwe), and "The Ambuya Nompi Smith Cookbook". Accession also includes two letters written to Denise from her mother-in-law shortly after her immigration to Canada in 1989. One letter includes a recipe.
Denise Rootenberg was born in 1958 in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) to Celia (nee Hofstein) and Harold Sydney Abrahamson. Her parents had both grown up in South Africa but moved to Rhodesia soon after they married. Harold was a pharmacist and Celia taught commercial subjects at a technical college. Denise moved to Cape Town to go the University of Cape Town. She married Lanny Rootenberg in 1981 and they had one son, Mark, born in 1988. Denise and Lanny moved to Toronto in 1989. Lanny's brother was already living here. They struggled initially, but Lanny eventually found work in customer relations management at Price Waterhouse and Denise initially found secretarial work. Denise eventually became an editorial assistant for the Financial Post. She currently does freelance writing for the web.