For his mother’s 96th birthday, David Stoller published a book. He had 100 copies printed and he invited more than a hundred guests to celebrate at his home along the Delaware River outside New Hope.
David named the new publication “Billie’s Cookbook.” And tables were laid with some of Billie’s favorite dishes.
“Our Billie loves to cook, and cook she did, as mother grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to a multitude who have thrilled to the food she’s prepared and presented over the years,” the book says. “She cooked for the sheer joy of creating something fabulous (she the artist and entertainer) as well as carrying on a tradition, which she keenly felt and feels, that she learned from her mother, Rose, whose hand, Billie will say, is in everything she ever cooked.
A label on the front of Billie’s recipe box says “Beulah Osofsky Cooking Book.” She was forever later known as Billie.
The recipes are dishes the Stoller family loves, the traditional meals Billie served at Passover – Chick Soup, Matzo Balls, Stuffed Cabbage and Beef Brisket; Rosh Hashana – Chicken Soup, Matzo Balls, Beef Brisket, Gefilte Fish and Chopped Liver; Yom Kippur – “The” Noodle Pudding, salads, bagels and Blintz Souffle; Hanukkah –Jelly Donuts, Potato Latkes, Chicken Soup, Matzo Balls and Fried chicken; and New Year’s Day – Billie’s Chili, Kielbasa, Kraut and Apples, Ham, Shrimp, “The” Noodle Pudding and Layered Jell-O Salad.
Billie officiated at those holiday meals every year at a long buffet table set with platters, bowls and flowers. And year after year, she has always radiated glamour. Her husband, Disney Stoller, was a nuclear engineer who founded his own company, S.M. Stoller Company, in 1959. He credited Billie for advancing his career – surely her meals served with panache were a positive influence.
The Stoller company today is headquartered in Bloomfield, Colo., and the S.M. Stoller Corporation is a provider of environmental, nuclear, and technical consulting and engineering services to the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the private sector.
Billie has lived on Long Island, N.Y., her whole life. Originally from Brooklyn, she attended Girls Commercial High School and later settled with Sidney in Manhasset, where the three Stoller children, sons David and Rob and daughter Lee.
The 75 pages of “Billie’s Cookbook” are loaded with family pictures. There’s David and wife, Barbara, with daughters Samantha, Jessica and Molly. There’s Rob with his wife, Amy, and sons Sammy and Jake. And there’s Lee with son Eric and daughter Rosie.
And the recipes are more than holiday fare. There are sections on meats, pasta, salads and desserts. ”Billie is a cook who cooks by instinct and intuition – a pinch of this, a dollop of that ..., the book says, so it was a challenge to put ingredients in order and into print.
Sharon Smith pulled it all together, typing recipes, gathering photographs and testing some of the dishes. “This cookbook became a labor of love for Billie, who amazes with her sense of style, humor, grace, wisdom and kindness,” Sharon says in an acknowledgment.
Some of the photos show Billie and Sidney celebrating special occasions. They were married for 72 years – joy-filled all the way, Billie says. “She’s sure it’s a world record, and we wouldn’t disabuse her,” David confirms. “They were quite a pair.“
His father, who had a great way of his own, said “Billie is the greatest person who ever lived.”