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The World of Jewish Cooking: More Than 400 Delectable Recipes from Jewish Communities

Overview

To most Americans, Jewish cooking evokes images of Eastern European fare such as chicken soup with matza balls. But scattered across the globe, in cultural communities of varying sizes and antiquity, there are many distinctive, delicious, and authentic Jewish cuisines to be savored. Gil Marks serves up a collection of kosher recipes and histories of Jews throughout the world. He delights and enlightens readers with traditional recipes from Italian, Yemenite, Ethiopian, Indian, Romanian, Hungarian, Georgian, ...
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Overview

To most Americans, Jewish cooking evokes images of Eastern European fare such as chicken soup with matza balls. But scattered across the globe, in cultural communities of varying sizes and antiquity, there are many distinctive, delicious, and authentic Jewish cuisines to be savored. Gil Marks serves up a collection of kosher recipes and histories of Jews throughout the world. He delights and enlightens readers with traditional recipes from Italian, Yemenite, Ethiopian, Indian, Romanian, Hungarian, Georgian, Ukrainian, Moroccan, German, Alsatian, and Middle Eastern Jewry; culinary conversations with contemporary members of these ancient and medieval communities; and fascinating commentary on Jewish food and Jewish history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Developed by Jews dispersed around the globe, Jewish cuisines have been shaped by both adopted cultures and by the laws of kosher. This excellent overview contains such diverse recipes as those for the Ashkenazic classic Roast Chicken and Ethiopian Chicken Stew with hard-boiled eggs. There are kugels galore (Alsatian Pear and Prune Kugel; Ashkenazic Potato Pudding; Indian Rice Pudding), but also Yemenite Spicy Poached Fish and Cochin Fish Soup from the Jews of the Malabar Coast. Marks (a rabbi and former editor of Kosher Gourmet magazine) provides tasty nuggets of intriguing information as well. It is no surprise to find a treatise on bagels (which Marks insists were not named after a Polish prince's stirrups as is often claimed) in a Jewish cookbook, but who knew that a Jewish fish seller first transformed Sephardic Pan-Fried Fish Fillets into fish and chips, or that a Minneapolis Hadassah chapter was behind the introduction of the bundt pan to the U.S.? Plentiful archival photographs and illustrations (showing everything from a Jewish family in Burma in 1938 to a Jewish poultry inspector in 19th-century France) add to the encyclopedic feel of this sweeping effort. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The two major divisions of the Jewish community are the Ashkenazim, whose ancestors are from eastern Europe, and the Sephardim, originally from the Iberian Peninsula. Marks, a rabbi and former editor of Kosher Gourmet, includes recipes from both communities in The World of Jewish Cooking, while Rabbi Sternberg, the author of Yiddish Cuisine (Jason Aronson, 1993), focuses on the cooking of Sephardic Jews in The Sephardic Kitchen. Marks's recipes come from Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa; Sternberg's from all the countries of the Mediterranean, with a few places a bit farther afield. Both authors include a great deal of cultural and religious background: Sternberg starts with a longer introductory section that covers social customs, ingredients, and kosher laws and also scatters folktales throughout his text, while Marks includes many boxes on ingredients and other topics. Although both books are informed and well written, The Sephardic Kitchen is the more readable and engaging: Marks offers more history and more detail, but his style is drier than Sternberg's. Despite some overlap, however, the books are different enough that both are recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684824918
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/6/1996
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.88 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Pastilla

Moroccan "Pigeon" Pie
8 to 10 servings

After arriving in the Ottoman Empire and discovering phyllo, Sephardim sometimes substituted it for the pastry in their pies variously called mina, pastel, and pita. The most well known version of phyllo pie is the Moroccan pastilla, also called basteya, made with poultry filling and served on special occasions. It is traditionally assembled in a tin-lined copper pan called a t'bseel, but a large baking dish or paella dish can be substituted. Although squab -- a young pigeon -- is the traditional meat, chicken makes a tasty and more available substitute. Pastilla takes a little work to create, but the end result -- a delicious filling sandwiched between delicate layers of crisp, flaky pastry -- is well worth the effort.


Almond Filling
1 cup toasted blanched almonds, cooled
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Chicken Filling
3 tablespoons margarine or vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper or 12 peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 1/2 to 5 pounds chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and legs)
4 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 large eggs, well beaten


Assembly
16 sheets phyllo dough
About 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)
margarine, melted, or vegetable oil for brushing (see Note)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Ground cinnamon for dusting


1. To make the almond filling: In a food processor, finely grind the almonds, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. (The almond filling may be prepared a day ahead and stored in a cool place.)

2. To make the chicken filling: Heat the margarine or oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, pepper or peppercorns, turmeric, saffron, allspice, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 minute.

3. Add the chicken, broth or water, and parsley. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken. Strain the cooking liquid. (You can reserve the solids and later add to the reduced liquid or discard the solids.) Boil the cooking liquid over high heat for about 20 minutes and reduce to about 1 cup. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bones and shred.

5. Whisk the reduced liquid into the eggs. If desired, add the strained cooking solids. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the mixture thickens. Pour into a bowl and let cool. (The chicken filling may be prepared a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly brush a 10- or 11-inch round baking dish with margarine or oil.

7. To assemble: Line the prepared dish with a sheet of phyllo, draping the excess over the edge. Brush with the margarine or oil. Repeat layering and brushing with 5 more sheets, draping each in a different direction.

8. Spread one-third of the egg mixture on the pastry in the pan. Mix another one-third of the egg mixture with the shredded chicken and pack into the pie shell. Top with 6 additional sheets of phyllo dough, brushing with the margarine or oil and draping the excess as with the other sheets.

9. Spread the remaining egg mixture on the phyllo in the pan, then sprinkle with the almond filling.

10. Fold the pastry edges toward the center of the pie, brushing with the margarine or oil. Top with the remaining 4 sheets of phyllo, brushing with the margarine or oil and tucking in the edges.

11. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Lightly sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, then sprinkle lines of cinnamon to form a diamond pattern. Let stand at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes before cutting into wedges.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have owned this cookbook for several years and have always been happy with every recipe I try. It is a terrific collection of Jewish recipes from around the world. That is why I was shocked to read one reviewer write 'I'm not looking for a sampling of Jewish recipes from all over the world, I'm looking for the tried and true, known cultural dishes from Jews.' DUH! Jews come from all over the world and this book reflects that. My ancestors are both sephardic and ashkenazic, and they would be satisfied to eat at Gil Marks' table.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is a great book for people who are looking to experiment with new foods. There are great variations on traditional recipes and recipes for the standards. Everything I've made has come out well. I particularly think that the stuffed cabbage recipe and the bread recipes are worth the price of the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2006

    A Fun Read

    I did not find this book disappointing, rather I found it a very interesting book filled with many stories and recipes. I bought the book about two years ago, growing up in New York City and Brooklyn, I was looking for recipes that I knew and loved from my area as a child. I have referred to the book for its recipes (some better than others--I think the reader should try the recipes and adjust to taste), but more than that, I've sat down and actually read the book from cover to cover. I enjoyed the stories included by the author of the history of a certain recipe, whether from Eastern or Central Europe, Yemen, Italy, Morocco or the Rhine Valley. This book is not strictly a recipe book, it falls more under the rare category of an overview of a culture, its diverse people, and how food is shared with family--something we all have in common and an important part of all of our lives, whether we are of Jewish descent or not. I enjoyed Gil Marks' stories and the many photographs dispersed throughout the pages. If you're looking for more than just a cookbook, I think you'll find this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    Poor quality

    I did not like how this book was organized at all. I'm not looking for a sampling of Jewish recipes from all over the world, I'm looking for the tried and true, known cultural dishes from Jews. I have browsed through much better Jewish cookbooks at bookstores and at libraries.

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