Encyclopedia of Jewish Food

Gil Marks (Author)
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Product Description

A comprehensive, A-to-Z guide to Jewish foods, recipes, and culinary traditions

Food is more than just sustenance. It's a reflection of a community's history, culture, and values. From India to Israel to the United States and everywhere in between, Jewish food appears in many different forms and variations, but all related in its fulfillment of kosher laws, Jewish rituals, and holiday traditions. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food explores both unique cultural culinary traditions as well as those that unite the Jewish people.

  • Alphabetical entries—from Afikomen and Almond to Yom Kippur and Za'atar—cover ingredients, dishes, holidays, and food traditions that are significant to Jewish communities around the world
  • This easy-to-use reference includes more than 650 entries, 300 recipes, plus illustrations and maps throughout
  • Both a comprehensive resource and fascinating reading, this book is perfect for Jewish cooks, food enthusiasts, historians, and anyone interested in Jewish history or food

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is an informative and eye-opening guide to the culinary heart and soul of the Jewish people.

Recipe Excerpt: Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Donuts)
The first record of filling a fried piece of dough with jelly was in Germany in 1485. Within a century, jelly doughnuts reached Poland, where Jews called them ponchiks (from the Polish word for “flower bud”), and in some areas they became a popular Hanukkah treat, filled with plum, raspberry, or rose petal jam. In the late 1800s, Polish immigrants brought the ponchik to Israel, where it eventually took the Hebrew name sufganiyah (sufganiyot--plural), from a “spongy dough” mentioned in the Talmud. At first, jelly doughnuts were not widely eaten in Israel, even on Hanukkah, as they were difficult and intimidating for many people to make. Only a few homes and bakeries continued to prepare them. Then in the late 1920s, the Israeli labor federation championed sufganiyot as a Hanukkah treat because they provided work –- preparing, transporting, and selling the doughnuts -- for its members. Sufganiyot soon emerged as by far the most popular Israeli Hanukkah food, filled not only with jelly but also dulce de leche, halva, crème espresso, chocolate truffle, and numerous exotic flavors.

These jelly doughnuts are irresistible. The trick to making non-greasy, fully-cooked doughnuts is working with the temperature of the oil. If the oil is not hot enough, the dough will absorb oil; if it is too hot, the outsides of the dough will brown before the insides have cooked. To test the temperature of the oil, use a candy thermometer or drop a cube of soft white bread in the oil; it should brown in 35 seconds. A traditional sign of proper cooking is a light-colored ring around the center of the doughnut, indicative that the fat was hot enough to push the doughnut to the surface before browning too much of the dough. A typical 3-inch jelly-doughnut is made from ¼ cup (2 ounces) dough and contains ¾ tablespoon (1 ounce) of jelly.

Recipe

Makes about 16 medium doughnuts

Ingredients
1 ( ¼-ounce) package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1 (0.6-ounce) cake fresh yeast
¼ cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees for dry yeast; 80 to 85 degrees for fresh yeast)
¼ cup sugar or vanilla sugar
¾ cup milk, soy milk, or water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or softened butter
3 large eggs (or 2 egg yolks and 1 large egg)
1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon lemon extract, or 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
About 3 ¾ cups (18 ounces) bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
About 5 cups vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or vegetable shortening for deep-frying
About 1 cup jelly or pastry cream
Confectioners' or sugar for dusting
Directions
1. To make the dough: Dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Blend in the milk, remaining sugar, oil, eggs, salt, optional nutmeg, and 2 cups flour. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth, soft dough. Cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.

2. Punch down the dough. Fold over and press together several times. Let stand for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Cut out 2 ½- to 3 ½-inch rounds. Place in a single layer on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

3. In a large deep pot, heat at least 2 inches of oil over medium heat to 375 degrees.

4. Using an oiled spatula, carefully lift the doughnuts and drop them, top side down, into the oil. If you drop them bottom side down, the doughnuts are difficult to turn and do not puff up as well. The temperature of the oil should not drop below 350 degrees. Fry 3 or 4 at a time without crowding the pan, turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Remove with a wire mesh skimmer or tongs and drain on a wire rack.

5. Place some of the jelly in a cookie press, pastry syringe, or a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch hole or nozzle tip. Insert the tip into a side of a doughnut and gently fill with about 1 tablespoon jelly. Roll the doughnuts in the sugar. The fresher the doughnut, the better the flavor and texture.

Variations: To make doughnuts without a cookie press or pastry bag: Place 1 teaspoon of jelly in the center of half of the unrisen dough rounds. Brush the edges with egg white, saving a white from the eggs used to make the dough. Top with a second dough round and press the edges to seal.

Additional Recipe Excerpts:

Borscht--a soup made with beets

Foulare/Folar--a sweet pastry enwrapping a hard- boiled egg or a Sephardic long-cooked egg

Kouclas--a dumpling cooked in Sabbath stews

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470391308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470391303
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Food is more than just sustenance. It's a reflection of a community's history, culture, and values—and this is especially true for the Jewish people—a community that spans the globe. From Brooklyn to India and everywhere in between, Jewish food is represented by a fascinating array of dishes, rituals, and traditions.

Jewish cuisine is truly international. In every location where Jews settled, they brought culinary traditions with them and also adopted local dishes, modifying them to fit their dietary laws, lifestyle, and tastes. Unique traditions and dishes developed within the cuisines of North Africa, Europe, Persia, Asia, and the Mediterranean, but all are recognizably Jewish.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food explores the foods and culinary traditions of individual communities, such as the honey-nut sfratto cookies beloved by Italian Jews in Tuscany, as well as those that unite Jews everywhere, like the key elements of the Passover Seder plate. Alphabetical book entries—from Afikomen and Almond to Yom Kippur and Za'atar—present recipes, ingredients, and holidays that are significant to the story of Jewish food, spanning three thousand years.

Even those with a well-developed knowledge of Jewish food will find plenty of new and compelling information here—dishes and ingredients they've never heard of, surprising and delicious variations on favorite traditional recipes, and plenty of historical and cultural tidbits that explore how, when, and why Jewish foods developed into what they are today.

For anyone interested in Jewish cooking, culture, or history, the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is an enlightening and engaging tour through the culinary heart and soul of a people.

From the Back Cover

A unique and compelling guide to Jewish food around the world

A comprehensive A-to-Z compendium of Jewish foods, recipes, and culinary traditions, the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is both a practical reference for the kitchen and a fascinating look at the history, culture, and foods that unite Jews around the world.

Did you know:

  • Matza was originally soft and relatively thick?

  • The Pilgrims learned how to make baked beans from Sephardim in Holland?

  • European citrus production developed from the Jewish need to cultivate citrons for Sukkot?

  • The original bagel had more hole and less bread?

  • Potato latkes only became a prominent Jewish food around 1850 and derive from Italian cheese pancakes?

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review (20 customer reviews)

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Everything the Title Promises, October 30, 2010

By E. A. Schorr 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

This book, Gil Marks' fifth, takes Jewish cookbook writing to a whole new level.Marks ventures out of the genre of recipes peppered with anecdotes and cultural observations (the hallmarks of virtually all Jewish and general cookbooks with which I'm familiar) and presents us with a resource book for everything we want to know about Jewish food. The book has information about a whole range of 'Jewish foods' from the Biblical (e.g., matza), to the rabbinic/traditional (e.g., charoset), to the cultural (e.g., bagels, blintzes, seltzer, etc.), even to items where Jews had major commercial impact, though not normally thought of Jewish in the culinary or cultural sense (e.g., bananas, yogurt). We are also given a historical sweep of how basic universal foods (e.g., bread, meat, cheese) were prepared and appreciated from biblical times to the present.Where appropriate, etymologies for the names of the foods are given, religious significance or symbolism is explained (supported...

Thorough, authoritative and immensely readable, December 24, 2010

By Y. Elkin 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

It's not often that the same book can illuminate cultural and culinary history, weave religious laws and mores with historical events spanning millennia, offer up great recipes from communities all over the world and even settle food trivia bets authoritatively. Gil Marks' latest book is just such a rarity and I can only surmise that it must have been as much fun to research and write as it is to read and learn from.It includes entries on both prepared dishes (from the requisite - and secular - bagels to religiously resonant preparations like the seder night's charoset), and the 'back story' of individual ingredients (e.g. cinnamon and coconuts) from a global, Jewish perspective. The explanations of Jewish dietary laws (such as forbidden animal fats) are also well done and equally informative.This book is a joy to read and was a very well-received gift for two extremely discerning readers and discriminating cooks (my mother and mother-in-law). Highly...

This encyclopedia is incredible!, December 12, 2010

By Leah Cooks Kosher 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

I spoke with Gil Marks at Kosherfest, asked if he remembered me from Hillel UW. I catered their Hillelfest fundraiser which featured Gil Marks after the release of his vegetarian cookbook. He remembered the 20 dobos tortes (original 7 layer cake) I had made for the event. The entire menu that evening was gleaned from cookbooks he's penned.All that aside, I'm glad I brought an empty suitcase for the return trip home from NYC. This encyclopedia is incredible; and I would encourage some entreprenuer out there to create a Jewish Food Trivia game in conjunction with Gil. Kudos Gil for writing this masterpiece....we can all take it off our to-do lists. An attempt by anyone else at this point would be like a Hoboken Talmud. Purchase this book, study a tractate and we'll have a siyum in about 10 years.

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