"Jewish Holiday Feasts," by Louise Fiszer & Jeannette Ferrary

Pros: wonderful food, short and easy recipes
Cons: none that I could find
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Chronicle Books

I’m no expert on Jewish cooking, so I can’t speak to the authenticity of the recipes in this cookbook. I can, however, judge it the same way I would any other cookbook: on the food it produces, the accuracy of its directions, and the quality of its design and layout.

“Jewish Holiday Feasts” is organized by occasion, starting in the Autumn with Rosh Hashanah, and includes 3-6 recipes for each feast. Rosh Hashanah, for example, includes a delightful Round Raisin Challah that was easy to make and incredibly delicious, as well as a Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad, Honey & Cumin-Glazed Cornish Hens, Couscous with Saffron and Vegetables (also simple and delightful), Braised Apples and Red Cabbage with Wine, and Hannah’s Honey Cake. Occasions include:

  • Yom Kippur (3 recipes)
  • Succoth (4 recipes)
  • Hanukkah (6 recipes)
  • Purim (5 recipes)
  • Pesach (6 recipes)
  • Shavuoth (4 recipes and two sauces)
  • Foods of the Sabbath (5 recipes)

Whether you’re looking for Pita Stuffed with Eggplant Salad and Feta Cheese (it’s rare that I find an eggplant recipe that I enjoy this much), Latkes (potato, zucchini, fresh salmon, cauliflower and carrot, or sweet cottage cheese), Sweet-Potato Kugel, Walnut and Dried Cherry Rugelach, or a Cold Beet and Cucumber Soup, you’ll find a wonderful recipe for it here. We particularly enjoyed the Asparagus and Herbed Cheese Strudel, which we also adapted to broccoli (equally delicious).

Each section includes a few words about the holiday itself and the foods served, as well as the purpose of those foods or what they represent. This is an enjoyable way to sample Jewish foods for those unfamiliar with them. The pages are small and well laid-out; it’s easy to keep track of where you are in a recipe and what you’re looking at. There are no photographs–this is a small and straightforward cookbook. The directions are brief and simple, and we found no obvious mistakes in any of the recipes we made.

I highly recommend this cookbook, particularly to anyone who enjoys sampling new foods and isn’t overly familiar with Jewish holiday fare.

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