Jewish Soul Food
- he author of our successful The Book of New Israeli Food returns with a cookbook devoted to the greatest hits of Jewish grandmothers from Minsk to Marrakesh.
Over thousands of years, Jews all over the world developed cuisines not only suited to their needs (kashrut, holidays, Shabbat) but also reflecting the influences of their neighbors and carrying memories from their past wanderings. These cuisines may now be on the verge of extinction, however, because practically none the Jewish communities in which these cuisines developed and thrived exist anymore. The only place all of these cuisines are still functional is Israel, where there are still a few first-generation cooks that know and love these dishes. Israel is, in a sense, a living laboratory of this beloved and endangered Jewish food; the 100 diversely flavored recipes here—from Jerusalem’s surprising, sweet kugel flavored with pepper to Bukharan’s hearty Ushapualau, a wondrous stew of beef, chickpeas, and carrots—were not chosen by an editor or a chef so much as by what Janna Gur calls “natural selection.” These are the dishes that, though rooted in their original provenance, have been embraced by Israelis from throughout the Diaspora and have become part of Israel’s culinary landscape. Aimed to educate and delight the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those who carried their cuisines on journeys far from their orginal homes, Jewish Soul Food proceeds from the premise that the only way to preserve traditional cuisine is to cook it. The book offers all cooks the “greatest hits” from a fascinating food culture—a chance to enrich their cooking repertoire and at the same time help to preserve a valuable part of Jewish heritage and its collective “soul.”