From Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (Arthur Schwartz’s New York City Food) breathes life into Yiddish cooking traditions now missing from most cities’ main streets as well as many Jewish tables. His colorful stories are so distinctive and charming that even someone who has never heard Schwartz’s radio show or seen him on TV will feel his warm personality and love for food radiating from the page. Oddly, even the shorter anecdotes often run longer than the actual recipes; anyone intending to cook from the book should have some kitchen experience or risk frustration at the often brief instructions. Dishes run the gamut from beloved appetizers like gefilte fish to classic meat and dairy main items (cholent, blintzes), plus less familiar items like onion cookies and Hungarian shlishkas (light potato dumplings). Schwartz intersperses engaging commentary on everything from farfel and matzo to Romanian steakhouses and why Jews like Chinese food. Those with Westernized palates may recoil at the thought of gelled calf’s feet, but Schwartz shows how stereotypically heavy Ashkenazi food can be improved and made at least somewhat lighter when prepared properly. Cooks and readers from Schwartz’s generation and earlier, who know firsthand what he’s talking about, will appreciate this delightful new book for the world it evokes as much as for the recipes. (Apr.)
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Arthur Schwartz knows how Jewish food warms the heart and delights the soul, whether it’s talking about it, shopping for it, cooking it, or, above all, eating it. JEWISH HOME COOKING presents authentic yet contemporary versions of traditional Ashkenazi foods–rugulach, matzoh brei, challah, brisket, and even challenging classics like kreplach (dumplings) and gefilte fish–that are approachable to make and revelatory to eat. Chapters on appetizers, soups, dairy (meatless) and meat entrees, Passover meals, breads, and desserts are filled with lore about individual dishes and the people who nurtured them in America. Light-filled food and location photographs of delis, butcher shops, and specialty grocery stores paint a vibrant picture of America’s touchstone Jewish food culture.
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