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Classic Italian Jewish Cooking: Traditional Recipes and Menus Hardcover – April 26, 2005

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The 2,000-year history of the Jews in Italy has produced a wealth of delicious creations that conform to the Jewish dietary laws of Kashruth, make use of the freshest seasonal ingredients and call for the utmost care and fuss in preparing them. Machlin offers recipes and menus for every holiday and occasion, not only from her native Tuscan Jewish village of Pitigliano, but from her mother's Roman-Jewish tradition, as well as those painstakingly collected from Jewish friends in Venice, Bologna and throughout Italy. Many of the dishes are uniquely Italian Jewish and cannot be found in Italian cookbooks. As the majority of Italian Jews are of Sephardic origin, their dishes also differ from the familiar Ashkenazic food of Central and Eastern Europe and will provide a host of new ideas for Jewish cooks. Instead of Hamantashen (traditional triangular hat-shaped pastries filled with jam or poppy seeds) for Purim, they can try Orecchi di Aman or Haman's Ears (fried pastry curls) or Muggine in Bianco (Jellied Striped Bass) instead of gefilte fish. In certain cases, Sephardic kosher laws vary from the Ashkenazic and Machlin clearly states and explains those variations. Antipasti, soups and pastas, meat, vegetables and salads, breads and desserts are all covered in one volume compiled from Machlin's three highly acclaimed but hard-to-find earlier books so that American cooks can share the rich history and legacy of Pitigliano, Italy's "Little Jerusalem." (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“…anyone who cares about regional Italian cooking will be fascinated by Machlin’s lovely and evocative picture of the cuisine of a world lost to the ravages of war.” (

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060758023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060758028
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doggie Lover on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for one of my co-workers who was engaged to be married. He is of an Italian background and his fiance's family is Jewish. They both love to cook. I was doing a search for Italian and Jewish cookbooks, seprately, not realizing that this book even exisited. The couple being married not only likes to cook, they enjoy more unusual and exotic tastes. This book had interesting recipes that came from a very specific region where there are Jewish and Italian people living in the same area, and therefore the book had delicious and quite different types of recipes that I had not seen before. In the week in which the couple returned from their honeymoon, my co-worker said they had already tried out several of the recipes and they thought that this book was one of the best and most thoughtful gifts they had received. Bon appetit and Mazaltov!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A reader in England on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have given this book a prominent position on its bookshelf, along with some other well used cookbooks. This book is an impressive looking volume, an inch thick, and lovingly designed.

The first 26 pages describe the author's life growing up in the Italian Jewish community before WWII--a culture that hardly exists anymore.

As for the cuisine, it follows the mediterranean pattern, with, here and there, a strong suggestion of the middle east. Thus, anyone who enjoys mediterranean/ middle-eastern cuisine, will appreciate this book

An added bonus, is a chapter on "Breads, Pizzas and Bagels". In this chapter, you will find 23 recipes, inclouding Sourdough Bread, and three recipes for Chollah--that's the rich egg bread that jewish people eat on the sabbath.

The author of this review is not jewish, but what of that? Good food is good food, and the food described here would be hard to improve upon.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Eltman on December 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've owned Classic Italian Jewish Cooking for over a year, and have made only a few recipes from it. I flip through it almost every week before I start cooking for the Sabbath, hoping to find something appealing. However, I don't find many of the recipes particularly enticing. Worse, what I have made has not turned out well. I'm an experienced cook, and I dubiously followed Machlin's instructions to add pap (bread soaked in water) to meat to make her meatballs with peppers. Wait, I thought- don't you normally add bread crumbs to meatballs? Yes, and for good reason- these completely fell apart, but they were delicious.

That has been my experience with the recipes I've made from this book- the results are tasty, but unattractive and somewhat failed, despite scrupulous adherence to detail and execution. I really enjoyed Machlin's stories of Jewish life in Italy, and I want to like this book more. If the recipes were as accurate as the stories are compelling, maybe I would.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steinway on May 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I actually got this book out of the library at first. Usually, I only find one or two recipes in a cookbook that I'll actually make, but this one had so made great recipes, there was no way I could try them all before it was due back. To complement the recipes, the author has many engaging stories about growing up Jewish in her little corner of Italy.
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