The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods

Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern. Flatiron, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250071-38-5
Some readers will be disappointed that Alpern and Yoskowitz, purveyors of a pop-up dining service called the Gefilteria, provide exactly three gefilte fish recipes. Whitefish, it seems, can be stretched only so far. One of the three is visually stunning, at least, and involves stuffing the fish and matzo meal mixture back into the skin to be baked and then served with the head reattached. There is also a discussion as to whether sweet gefilte is superior to peppery. The authors have actually dug deeper than the title implies, providing a comprehensive and joyful survey of Eastern European Jewish cuisine. Each chapter begins with an explanation, in detail, of just how much they love the foods that are about to be discussed (spoiler alert: they love them a lot). There are all the classics of Ashkenazi cooking, along with some contemporary variations: classic sour dill pickles, but also cardamom pickled grapes; chicken soup, but also spiced blueberry soup. Embracing the concept of “excellent when done right,” there are instructions not only for making your own bagels but for churning your own butter or cream cheese. Schmaltz, of course, gets its due, as does its fried chicken-skin by-product, gribenes. Photos by Lauren Volo show stuffed cabbage, though these are stuffed with kimchi, and home-cured pastrami, at home indeed when nestled on rye and topped with spicy, whole-grain mustard. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016
Release date: 09/13/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-250-07143-9
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