The Foods of Israel Today

Joan Nathan, Author Knopf Publishing Group $40 (448p) ISBN 978-0-679-45107-5
Modern Israel is one of the world's great culinary melting pots, and Nathan (author of the highly successful PBS series and cookbook Jewish Cooking in America) does it justice in this exceptional and comprehensive examination of its diverse cultural lineage. Israeli flavors include those of the Middle East like Classic Israeli Eggplant Dip, new inventions such as Israeli Revisionist Haroset and imported traditions like Judith Tihany's Transylvanian Green Bean Soup. Nathan collects recipes from both ordinary Israelis including 97-year-old Shoshana Kleiner, whose instruction for her Fourth Aliyah Vegetable Soup is ""Cook until cooked!"" and popular restaurants, such as Jerusalem's Eucalyptus. Nor are local Arabic traditions given short shrift, spotlighting dishes like Zucchini with Yogurt. The book also offers information ranging from the best places to eat falafel and notes on Israeli wine to a good-sized glossary. Nathan, who spent more than two years working for Teddy Kollek when he was mayor of Jerusalem, generously sprinkles the pages with her personal memories as well as descriptions of the pioneering spirit of early Israelis: in the days when a home oven was a luxury, they often made a dessert ""salami"" of crushed cookies, wine, cocoa and nuts. Agent, Susan Lescher. (Mar. 15) Forecast: As one of the first books to concentrate on the breadth of Israeli cuisine, rather than Ashkenazic or Sephardic cooking, this is a true original. Moreover, given Nathan's established following and a first print run of 50,000 copies, stores should anticipate energetic sales.
Reviewed on: 03/05/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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