The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York

Claudia Roden (Author)
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Product Description

A monumental work--the story of the Jewish people told through the story of Jewish cooking--The Book of Jewish Food traces the development of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish communities and their cuisine over the centuries. The 800 magnificent recipes, many never before documented, represent treasures garnered by Roden through nearly 15 years of traveling around the world. 50 photos & illustrations.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394532589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394532585
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds

Editorial Reviews Review

Claudia Roden, author of The Book of Jewish Food, has done more than simply compile a cookbook of Jewish recipes--she has produced a history of the Jewish diaspora, told through its cuisine. The book's 800 recipes reflect many cultures and regions of the world, from the Jewish quarter of Cairo where Roden spent her childhood to the kitchens of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Both Ashkenazi and Sepharidic cooking are well represented here: hallah bread, bagels, blintzes, and kugels give way to tabbouleh, falafel, and succulent lamb with prunes, which are, in turn, succeeded by such fare as Ftut (Yemeni wedding soup) and Kahk (savory bracelets).

Interwoven throughout the text are Roden's charming asides--the history of certain foods, definitions (Kaimak, for instance, is the cream that rises to the top when buffalo milk is simmered), and ways of preparing everything from an eggplant to a quince. In addition, Roden tells you everything you've ever wanted to know about Jewish dietary laws, what the ancient Hebrews ate, and the various holidays and festivals on the Jewish calendar. Detailed sections on Jewish history are beautifully illustrated with archival photographs of families, towns, and, of course, food. The Book of Jewish Food is one that any serious cook--Jewish and non-Jewish alike--would gladly have (and use often) in the kitchen.

From Publishers Weekly

As the biblical echo of the title indicates, this collection is as instructive and comprehensive as a textbook. Roden (Mediterranean Cookery, etc.) divides the territory in two parts: "The Ashkenazi World" and "The Sephardi World." She chronicles the lives of Jews all over the world in short segments on unusual Jewish communities past and present, such as those of Salonika, Greece, and China. These sections, and the many other notes on subjects ranging from the New York Deli to salt herring are gems. Recipes are numerous and diverse: Yellow Split Pea Soup with Frankfurters, Pumpkin Tzimmes, Small Red Kidney Beans with Sour Plum Sauce, Cold Stuffed Vine Leaves, and Fish Balls in Tomato Sauce. Some highlights include the chapter on Sephardic breads (Algerian Anise Bread, North African Sweet Breads with Nuts and Raisins) and the one on Ashkenazic desserts (Mandelbrot, Hanukah Jam Doughnuts). All of this can be a little overwhelming at times (and, as Roden acknowledges in the introduction, many Jewish foods simply reflected the cuisines of the places where Jews were living rather than their own specific culture). Yet with few omissions (e.g., the instructions for making pasta specify rolling out the dough "as thin as possible" but don't explain how), Roden proves a practiced, reliable guide. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review (80 customer reviews)

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Arab American Loves Claudia Roden, November 21, 1998

By Itamar Ronen 5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars

More than a cook book, and yet an excellent one, December 5, 2000

By 5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars

November 1998 -- I just checked this book out of the library yesterday and stayed up until midnight reading from it to my husband. Now, he's not interested in recipes - it was the stories about Jews in Cairo, Jews in ancient Babylon, Arab and Jewish cooking under the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad, Jews in India, and most of all -- ANDALUCIA and the glories of Spain before the "Reconquista" that kept him entertained. Claudia Roden, culinary Scheherezade...

It was love at first sight..., March 5, 2001

By 5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars

Nowadays, when hundreds of cookbooks flood the book market, and each regional or ethnic cuisine type gets its share of ink and paper, choosing a cookbook is not an easy task. Well, this task becomes much easier when one book of its kind stands far above the rest - and I believe that this is the case with Claudia Roden's book of Jewish Food. This book is remarkable in many ways - the clear and simple way in which the recipes are presented, the wonderful historical inserts, and above all - the feeling that there's someone with you in the kitchen when you cook, someone who's deeply informed about the recipe and its cultural background, and who's also there with you, helping you to make the best out of it. The book is masterfully organized - the grouping of recipes is so logical and yet not annoyingly rigid, and the index is a masterpiece on its own - there's no way you can miss a recipe that you want: you'll find it under its name, or under any of the principal ingredients used in it...

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