Jewish Cookbooks: You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love the Food

shelved under Cookbooks & Food Memoirs

The cookbooks I've selected include a key ingredient for any ethnic cookbook: a reminder of home and family and a connection to my roots. Each book contains at least one food memory that I treasure deeply.


Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited

by Arthur Schwartz, photography by Ben Fink

Arthur Schwartz has done it with this book. He dredged up recipes that I thought were lost forever. A researcher with a flair for humorous asides, his approach is so homey and so smart, you can't help but love this book. I have taken many classes with Arthur and he writes just like he teaches: with wit, humor and knowledge. This is the all-time Jewish cookbook.


Jewish Cooking in America

by Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan is the very best of food writers — her research is meticulous. She knows her subject so well and presents it so artfully that you cannot stop reading and eating. This book is a true historical document. The chicken fricassee is just like my Mom's and when I told her that, she was thrilled. But when I told her that we ate it with kasha, she smiled and said, "no kidding." I was in heaven.


Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook

by Joan Nathan

With terrific explanations of the meanings of each holiday and the associated foods, even the most assimilated can follow a traditional holiday menu. Mrs. Feinberg's kugel is always a winner at my table. I love the way she incorporates not just Ashkenazic but Sepahrdic recipes as well. This is my "go to" cookbook for every holiday.


From My Mother's Kitchen: Recipes and Reminiscences

by Mimi Sheraton

Mimi Sheraton is a former New York Times food and restaurant critic. For her to base her memoir on the foods of her Austrian-Polish-Romanian-Jewish family is a treat — and a retreat from the serious world of restaurants that live or die by her critique. Her family reminds me of mine: always talking about food and what to have for the next dinner or the next holiday. Just like her family, my father insisted that his pancakes be the buttermilk and buckwheat variety. So much of this book reminds me of home and Mom.


The Mensch Chef, or, Why Delicious Jewish Food Isn't an Oxymoron

by Mitchell Davis

Jewish Spaghetti makes my Italian friends squirm... try it once and you will be hooked for life: butter and Hunt's tomato sauce make the ultimate spaghetti sauce, according to Mitchell Davis. He is, after all, the director of publications at the James Beard Foundation as well as a professor at NYU's Food Studies program. His asides are hilarious, and his "Bissel Advice" speak to any questions one might have when approaching a recipe. I get laughs and good advice from this book.


Melting Pot Memories: The Rabinowitz Family Cookbook and Nostalgic History

by Judy Bart Kancigor

This wire-bound very thick paperback was delivered to the bookstore where I work and we were all kind of surprised: after all, it wasn't Lidia Bastianich or Bobby Flay, it was this nice Jewish woman putting down all the recipes she could find from family and extended family. We sold out the first week. I think its popularity was due to the warmth of presentation; old photographs and memorabilia helped each of us to recognize something so familiar about the faces. Truthfully, some of the recipes are a little of the "back of the box" variety, but they all feel like family we know. The book has since been reprinted in real book form. It is a treasure if only for the nostalgia and the feeling that "I should so do this, too."