Prolific is the word that comes to mind when I think about cookbooks these days. There are hundreds lining the shelves of bookstores or on your computer screen--depending on how you choose to do your shopping. Either way there are a lot of cookbooks to be had, and with new ones published on a regular basis, it can be hard to know which are actually worth purchasing.
There have been many excellent cookbooks published this past year, and Jerusalem is without a doubt at the top of that list. I remember my excitement when I read the news about its publication, and when I finally received my copy, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s one of those cookbooks that elicits exclamations of “I have to make this!” with almost every turn of the page.
Just before my favorite holiday last week, I sat down with the prolific food-blogger-turned-cookbook-author Deb Perelman. The founder of the Smitten Kitchenwas recently given a spot on theForward 50and is currently touring the U.S. to promote her new book,The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook. Next week, I will post more of the story about how her recipes have inspired my own culinary pursuits. But first, here is your chance to be a fly on the wall in our conversation about how she came to write and publish her delicious new book.
Although Hanukkah is known as the festival of lights, I think a more fitting name would be the festival of fried foods. It’s the time of year during which people expect and want to find deep fried food on their plates and I’m more than happy to oblige. Although, as much as I love eating latkes and sufganiyot, there are moments where I need a break from all the fried foods. Yet in the spirit of the holiday I still want to eat a dish in which oil is a central component.
When I think of Shabbat dinner, one of the first things that comes to mind is the sweet, dense challah that I love so much. It has become so popular that it can be purchased in bakeries all week long, and like many of the iconic Jewish foods of North America (bagels, knishes, pastrami, and smoked meat, to name a few) it was introduced by members of the European Jewish community.
One of the ingredients that is a staple in my kitchen cupboard is canned tomatoes. I will almost always have a can or two around in case I decide I want to make a quick tomato sauce or a pizza, and I especially rely on them throughout the majority of the year when local tomatoes are unavailable. Yet I recently realized that throughout the process of buying, using and consuming these tomatoes, I never stopped to think about their history and how they came to be the product we know today.
When you ask people to think of Israeli food, more often than not, images of crispy brown falafel will dance before their eyes. Yet, when speaking of quintessential Israeli dishes, falafel does not stand alone. Another dish that is central to the culinary landscape of Israel is schnitzel.