A Cook's Tour Going By The Book

September 09, 1998|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,SUN STAFF

The scope of Jewish cuisine is as wide as the world - from the spinach-rhubarb soup of Russia and the Ukraine to the traditional basilla pastry of Morocco, brought up-to-date in California with won-ton wrappers; from Sephardic Passover charoset to Calcutta fried crepes for Hanukkah.

In the past few years, both the breadth and the niches of Jewish cooking and culture have been explored in dozens of new cookbooks. Joan Nathan's 1994 "Jewish Cooking in America" (expanded in 1998 to include recipes from her new MPT cooking show; see accompanying story) and Claudia Roden's 1996 "The Book of Jewish Food" (Knopf, 1996, $35) are two of the most comprehensive. But there are many others worthy of note, several published this year. Here is a selection:

* From the Sisterhood of Beth El Congregation in Pikesville comes "noshin' but the best," a collection of Baltimore cooks' favorite recipes that range from cherry soup to rosemary chicken to seven stars Passover fruit kugel.

Members of the sisterhood gathered nearly 300 recipes to include in the book, which they published as a fund-raiser to benefit Beth El education projects, community projects and Jewish organizations around the country.

"We got recipes from members of the sisterhood and the congregation, recipes from schoolchildren and their parents, and from friends," said Karen Drake, co-chair of the project.

Rabbi Mark G. Loeb - "He's quite a good cook, I hear," Drake said - contributed recipes and an introduction.

Loeb will introduce a cooking demonstration at the Bibelot bookstore in the Festival at Woodholme shopping center in Pikesville at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Jerry Pellegrino, chef and owner of Corks in Federal Hill, will be preparing recipes from the book.

Copies of the book are available at Bibelot and from Beth El. It costs $22.95. For information or to order copies, call Beth El, 410-484-0411.

* "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking," by Marcy Goldman (Doubleday, 1998, $25). Goldman, a professional baker and food writer who lives in Montreal, went through 3,000 pounds of flour testing recipes for her first cookbook. Among her favorite recipes: shredded dough plum tart and apple challah. The book is organized around holidays and includes a Hanukkah dreidel cake and an "I can't believe this is a Passover cake" yellow cake.

* "The World of Jewish Entertaining," by Gil Marks (Simon & Schuster, 1998, $30). Marks is a writer, a historian, a rabbi and a chef who lives in New York City. The book includes tips on party planning and reminiscences. Recipes include Sep-hardic leek soup for Rosh Hashana and teddy bear bread sculptures for a baby-naming breakfast.

* "Let My People Eat," by Zell Schulman (Macmillan, 1998, $27). Schulman, a food writer and consultant, lives in Cincinnati. Her book, which grew out of the myriad of questions she had to answer for her children when they were grown and having Passover dinners of their own, includes facts about the holiday, menus, tips for buying and preparation, and recipes such as Moroccan such as Moroccan stuffed dates and lake trout baked in white wine.

* "The Sephardic Table: The Vibrant Cooking of the Mediterranean Jews," by Paula Grau Twena (Houghton Mifflin, 1998, $16). Twena, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., studied Sephardic customs in Israel and spent years collecting Sephardic recipes in the United States. Recipes include a Moroccan-style tagine (stew) of lamb with artichokes, and meat-filled potato pancakes from Iraq.

* "Secrets of Fat-Free Kosher Cooking," by Deborah Bernstein (Avery Publishing Group, 1998, $14.95). Bernstein is a practicing neuropsychiatrist who lives in New York City. Bernstein learned to cook while she was learning to be a doctor, and needed fast, easy recipes that fit a healthy lifestyle. The book contains numerous tips on kosher cooking and on ingredients, and such recipes as peanut butter chicken and seafood lasagna.

Pub Date: 9/09/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.