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Posted April 6, 2006
Not everyone loves traditional Euro-Jewish (Ashkenaz) cooking. But I do. And when a colleague gave me this book, I flipped. I've not seen anything quite like it out there. First of all, it's not just a cookbook. It's a book of (mostly) Chassidic stories arranged in chronological order according to the Jewish year. Each section opens with a vintage picture from the Old Country. I get lost looking at them, wondering if a distant relative is among the faces from so long ago. Rabbi Twerski is a well-known Jewish author, especially in the field of psychology and addiction recovery. It's unusual to see him in the cookbook aisle. But a friend of a friend of a friend who knows him says he likes to relax in the kitchen. Several of his family's recipes are featured in the book. Co-author Judi Dick seems like a classic 'balabusta'. I recognize a lot of the recipes from my Bubbe's kitchen. What's interesting about these recipes is that the ingredients are just the same as they were 100-150 years ago. It's really vintage cooking. (She even includes how to make schmaltz, grebnis, and fluden!) Something else I like is the way the book lays out. It's wider than it is tall. And the recipe pages are simple and quick to read. What's cool is that while I'm waiting for something to cook, I can treat my brain to some soul food by reading one of Twerski's chassidic tales. I like it. Maybe you will, too. The memories this book evokes are so fresh out of the shtetl. I expect to hear Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof singing 'If I Were A Rich Man'!
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