The Jew And The Carrot

2012's Best Jewish Cookbooks — Day 4

By Leah Koenig and Devra Ferst

BELLA LIEBERBERG
Cooking Together: The amazing women behind the Oma and Bella cookbook.

From our eight favorite books from the year — one for each night of Hanukkah — we present two below. They are all great holiday gifts for the passionate cook in your life or a treat for yourself. Check out the other books on our list from days 1-3.

Best Cookbooks, Day 1

Best Cookbooks, Day 2

Best Cookbooks, Day 3

Oma & Bella: The Cookbook
By Alexa Karolinski
Self published, 120 pages, $36

Alexa Karolinski, a filmmaker and Berlin-native, had the idea and chutzpah to produce this whimsically-illustrated cookbook of traditional Eastern European dishes. But the recipes themselves are all Oma and Bella’s — two feisty women, both Holocaust survivors (one of whom is Karolinski’s grandmother), who live, cook, and kibbitz together in their shared Berlin apartment.

Karolinski created the cookbook as a companion piece to her independent film Oma & Bella — a 76-minute tribute to the women’s lives and history as told in and through their kitchen. Similarly, the recipes, which range from challengingly old-fashioned dishes like jellied calves foot, pickled herring and boiled tongue, to the more universally-appetizing veal brisket, carrot tzimmes and rugelach, serve as an entree into Oma and Bella’s lives. “Having lost both of their families in the Holocaust, Oma and Bella had to teach themselves, often from scratch, how to make the dishes their mothers and grandmothers made for them.” Now, thanks to their generosity and Karolinski’s patience and diligence (she spent three years watching the women cook, translating their “handfuls into half cups, pinches into teaspoons, and platefuls into servings,” 38 classic dishes are now available to the next generation.

—Leah Koenig

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2012's Best Jewish Cookbooks — Day 3

By Margaret Eby and Leah Koenig

From our eight favorite books from the year — one for each night of Hanukkah — we present two below. They are all great holiday gifts for the passionate cook in your life or a treat for yourself.

Best Cookbooks, Day 1

Best Cookbooks, Day 2

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
by Deb Perelman, Knopf, 336 pages, $35

Enormous, crispy oven latkes? Sweet potato blintzes with farmer cheese? Delicate sweet-and-sour brisket with tender root vegetables? Subtly sweet raspberry rugelach? “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” by culinary mastermind and cult favorite blogger Deb Perelman, has all these sumptuous recipes, written in the tone of a good friend offering holiday advice.

“The Smitten Kitchen,” is gorgeously laid out, with dozens of photographs that will make you want to head to your oven lickety-split. Perelman has formulas for everything from calzones to grapefruit pound cake. One look at the table of contents will give any home cook a host of new ideas for holiday dinners and laidback brunches, dinner party desserts and cozy night-in spreads. An added perk is that most of the recipes are new, so you won’t find them on Perlman’s website.

While some of the book’s recipes are not kosher, Perelman has included a separate category in the index for Jewish recipes, to make flipping through for Hanukkah dishes easier. It’s an ideal gift for the dedicated home cook looking to expand his or her repertoire. Just watch out: We bet there’ll be a lot more figs, olive oil and sea salt challah and rhubarb hamantaschen in your life after you gift this cookbook.

— Margaret Eby

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2012's Best Jewish Cookbooks — Day 2

By Molly Yeh and Ben Harris

From our eight favorite books from the year — one for each night of Hanukkah — we present two below. (Check back every day this week for another two books.) They are all great holiday gifts for the passionate cook in your life or a treat for yourself.

2012’s Best Jewish Cookbooks — Day 1

Meat Smoking 101 for the Deli Fanatic

The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Comfort Food From Hash to Hamantaschen
by Noah and Rae Bernamoff
Clarkson Potter, 224 pages, $27.50

For the restaurant that is described by co-owner Noah Bernamoff as a “Montreal greatest-hits album,” its cookbook reads like an intimate liner jacket to your favorite new band’s cover record, where Jewish delicatessen classics are covered by twenty-somethings with a knack for all things local and homemade. A first skim, with sightings of DIY salami and Montreal smoked meat, may intimidate even an experienced chef, but Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s humble-beginnings narrative is relatable enough to encourage even a culinary novice to take a stab at some of the more complicated recipes.

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2012's Best Jewish Cookbooks

By Devra Ferst

Nate Lavey

This year my desk has been strewn with cookbooks containing recipes for homemade pastrami, sweet potato and farmer cheese blintzes, German Jewish cakes, Sephardic treasures from the island of Rhodes and delicious dishes to keep one warm during the winter. These cookbooks have called me to the kitchen and many have made appearances both at my dinner table and at the table of the reviewers below. The books have coached us through fermentation experiments, allowed us to travel to Zimbabwe without leaving our kitchens and helped us understand the culinary legacy of Jerusalem’s diverse population.

From our eight favorite books from the year — one for each night of Hanukkah — we present two below. (Check back every day this week for another two books.) They are all great holiday gifts for the passionate cook in your life or a treat for yourself.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Hanukkah, Best Jewish Cookbooks, Best Cookbooks 2012




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