Would love to hear what's the best Jewish themed cookbook? Not for stories, but recipes. My first 15 years I was fortunate enough for my Jewish grandmother to cook amazing dishes. Her recipes got lost. It's time to renew!!
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So many good books out there. Anything by Joan Nathan is worth taking a look at. You will get great recipes as well as terrific historical content. Marcy Goldman is another wonderful pastry chef/author whose books are also great. Her recipes are always delicious and accurate.
Lisanne is a trusted home cook.
Claudia Roden, The Book of Jewish Food has the Ashkenaz/Sephard divide and good recipes. Gil Marks (I have Olive Trees and Honey, which is vegetarian and dairy oriented).
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Another endorsement for Claudia Roden. When I heard her interviewed on NPR I had to run out and buy it. Roden is a serious food historian so you get the whole background. And hey, I'm not even Jewish.
The Gil Marks book "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food" is an outstanding work. I turn to it all the time. If I remember it did win an IACP award last year.
If you are looking for the kind of cooking I associate with my immigrant grandmother from the "Pale of Settlement," I have three books to suggest.
The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook, by Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo -- In the voice of the TV character, from the urban apartments of Brooklyn? the Bronx?
Love and Knishes, by Sara Kasdan -- my father gave this book to my mother, inscribed, "You supply the knishes." She used it often.
From My Mother's Kitchen , Mimi Sheraton -- written more recently, same background.
These books are from the Ashkenazi heritage, the first two written in 'immigrant English.' If you are interested in the Sephardic tradition -- Aromas of Alleppo (Dweck) and The Scent of Orange Blossoms (Kitty Morse) are good. There's a recent book on the Jewish cooking of France. As you can see, you'll have lots to choose from. I like to start at my public library, going through a variety of books to find what appeals to me.
susang - have you seen the documentary by Aviva Kempner on "Mrs. Goldberg?"
healthierkitchen -- not yet! it's on the 'to get' list. Thanks!
I believe that the Jewish Cooking of France is by Joan Nathan, by the way. Have only paged through it but it looks very good.
Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.
The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger has been around for decades and is a true classic.
Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking is very good--lots of solid, reliable recipes with some, but not an exhausting amount, of history. Joan Nathan's books are also very good.
I have found Arthur Schwartz's book closest to my grandmothers' style of cooking, but I love to read the Sephardic books as that is more how we eat now as a family. I love the Claudia Roden book mentioned above and also joyce gold stein's Saffron Shores and Cucina Ebraica. Anything by Joan Nathan is great too!
I like Cucina Ebraica as well. I've spent a lot of time in Rome and Jewish cooking from the time of the Inquisition has been an important component of the Roman culinary landscape. During the Inquisition the Jews were expelled from Sicily and most were welcomed in Rome especially in Trastevere. The Ghetto on the other side of the Tiber came later.
I love Cucina Ebraica and the Claudia Roden book (although it is better for Sephardic than Ashknazi) Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cooking is very helpful. However, if you are looking for traditional recipes that you grew up with, I would second Susan G's suggestion that you browse books in the library and see what may be the style you remember.
The easiest way to find the best Jewish cookbook is to look for 4.8-5 ratings on amazon. If you know an easier way to find the best of something, let me know!!
I wil politely disagree with this comment. I don't know why anyone takes Amazon "reviews" seriously. You get the typical nonsense lines like "awesome". And often people (yes really) get paid to write them. Food52 is a far better source for informed opinion.
For baking - I like "inside the Jewish Bakery"
Second Helpings Please is a classic that I grew up with and still turn to at the holidays, even though I have several other Jewish cookbooks on my shelves http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/2nd-Helpings-Please-Harriet-Nussbaum/9780969391012-item.html?cookieCheck=1
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
There are so many in so many different styles. What are you looking for? Faye Levy's "Jewish Cooking for Dummies" contains both Ashkenazi (she grew up in that tradition) and Sephardic (she married into that tradition) recipes that are both easy and delicious. But for "fancy" occasions, I love Judy Zeidler's "The Gourmet Jewish Cook." Joyce Goldstein also wrote a wonderful Mediterranean Jewish cookbook (Sephardic). Another good one is "The Jewish Kitchen" by Clarissa Hyman. It has recipes and stories from around the world. The dishes I've made from it are outstanding.
amysarah is a trusted home cook.
Like most here, highly rec anything by Claudia Roden and Joan Nathan.
There are so many Jewish cuisines (even from China, India, Mexico, So. America, etc.) - but from your original question, it sounds like you're looking more to recover your own grandmother's recipes, not necessarily to explore global Jewish cooking. Assuming she, like the majority of American Jews, was of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi), or Sephardic or whatever - here's an idea, though it's a bit of a project: one of the best sources for 'grandma's homecooking' type recipes is often community cookbooks - the kind schools, synagogues, etc. put together (often spirally bound) to fundraise. I've picked some great ones up at tag sales/flea markets, but they're also often sold at, e.g., a synagogue or yeshiva's gift shop or website. Maybe check some out in your area? Someone else's bubby's stuffed cabbage or kugel might not be too far off from how you recall yours making it. ;-)
Thanks everyone for the responses. After your answers and the advice to go look at the books myself I choose Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food. It took about 5 minutes to realize it was exactly what I was looking for. How great is food52?! I appreciate the recipes on here and the fact that I can trust the answers on here more than anywhere else:)
Thanks, and we don't think you'll be disappointed with your selection.
The NYT has a Jewish Cookbook, which is good, though I tend not to use jewish cookbooks even when cooking for Jewish holidays.
Kosher by design
"Jerusalem" by Yotam Ottolenghi - beautiful compilation of Jewish and Arab recipes.
Christine, "Jerusalem" is indeed a wonderful cookbook, but somewhat specific to Yerushalmi cooking, drawing on the cuisine of the populations of that city, both indigenous and immigrant--also a little idiosyncratic in some recipes. (of course "typical" depends on where one's ancestors come from, whether S'pharad, Ashkenaz, Yemen, Iran, Georgia--it's complicated!)
Find a Jewish grandmother ! That will be better than a cook book.
Meg is a trusted home cook.
I like Lora Brody's books. They are funny and have lots of homey recipes. Jayne Cohen's books celebrate the Jewish calendar and add sophisticated twists to traditional foods.