The Jewish Cookbook

Leah Koenig. Phaidon, $49.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7933-8
In this outstanding and comprehensive cookbook, Koenig (Modern Jewish Cooking) explores Jewish cuisine from around the world. Wherever the recipes originate, they tend to be humble options: Sephardic slow-cooked eggs dyed brown with onion skins and coffee grounds, and an Ashkenazi stewed carrot tsimmes (a sweet stew) with dried fruit, for instance. A chapter on fritters presents classic potato latkes for Hanukkah and torpedo-shaped beef kibbeh from the Middle East. Along the way there are recipes for pan-fried gefilte fish in a curry sauce from South Africa, a sweet potato and pecan kugel from the American South, and a chicken and chestnut omelet from Azerbaijan. Koenig is a graceful writer, whether explaining the techniques for different challah shapes and their meanings (the braid is meant “to resemble the hair of a malevolent demon”) or differentiating Israeli-style rugelach from its American cousins. Included are recipes from restaurants that have wedded Jewish favorites with local traditions: Michael Solomonov of the restaurants Zahav and Abe Fisher in Philadelphia makes a steak sauce with soy sauce and sweet kosher wine, and from Warsaw, Poland, Aleksander Baron contributes a bread pudding dotted with poppy seeds. Desserts include dainty black-and-white cookies of the sort commonly found in New York delis, and chickpea flour shortbread. This is an excellent, thoughtful entry in Phaidon’s expanding lineup of accessible cookbooks. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/27/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Lifestyle
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