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Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Hardcover – November 16, 2004


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Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World + Encyclopedia of Jewish Food + The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (November 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764544136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764544132
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“…doesn’t shy away from recognising the cultural, historical, and religious relevance of traditional foods” (Jewish Tribune, 14th October 2004)

From the Inside Flap

For more than three millennia, vegetarian cooking has been a central component of the rich fabric of Jewish culinary tradition around the world. Olive Trees and Honey is a tribute to this vital realm of Jewish heritage, showcasing an authentic collection of vegetarian dishes that have graced Jewish tables across the ages from Alsace to Uzbekistan, and are still very much alive today—at holidays, rituals, festivals, and everyday meals alike.

In virtually any kitchen today, cooks need to possess a broad repertoire of vegetarian dishes for themselves or their guests—for health, theological, philosophical, or other reasons. In Olive Trees and Honey, eminent Jewish cooking expert Gil Marks presents a magnificent treasury of meatless fare suitable for any table: 300 simple, enticing recipes that accentuate signature flavors of time-honored dishes. The classics here—soups, salads, pastas, legumes, vegetable stews, egg dishes, and more—represent every part of the menu from an expansive global palette.

From savory pastries like Syrian Miniature Lentil Pizzas to hearty entrées such as Moroccan Mashed Potato Casserole, nourishing Romanian vegetable stews to wholesome legume dishes like Tunisian Chickpeas with Greens, Marks brings the world of Jewish vegetarian cooking to the home kitchen. For those observing kosher laws, each recipe is labeled as Dairy or Pareve. Many recipes include tips and variations for years of fresh, inventive meals.

Through brief chronicles of the Jewish diaspora's vegetarian legacy in diverse corners of the world and sidebars woven throughout the book, Marks sheds light on the origins and evolution of cuisines and dishes—and of the communities that created them. There are chapters on suitable recipes for key Jewish holidays and on essential ingredients and seasonings. Maps in each chapter chart the paths of several unique gustatory traditions through history.

Perfect for the vegetarian kitchen or as a complement to meat-based menus, the exquisite dishes in these pages will enrich any diet and bring warmth to any table. At once a practical guide to Jewish vegetarian cooking and an illuminating portrait of its journey across continents and centuries, Olive Trees and Honey is a celebration of this enduring global mosaic.


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Customer Reviews

This cook book is also a food history book giving the reader the origin of the recipes.
Bradly Fisher
I have tried many of the recipes and so far they have been very accurate and the results have been very good.
S.C. Fiennes
This is one of those rich, evocative cookbooks that you'll want to read in bed, like a good novel.
Sharon Boorstin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Boorstin on November 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to this wonderful book as a resource for an article that I'm writing about Sepharidic dishes for "Jewish Woman" Magazine. What a treasure trove! Not just of vegetarian Jewish recipes, but of the lore behind them. Marks talks about the history of cooking among Jews from Italy to Uzbekistan, and explains the "why" and "how" of typical ingredients from anise to yogurt. This is one of those rich, evocative cookbooks that you'll want to read in bed, like a good novel.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Evelina on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think this book amazing, it is definitely my favorite vegetarian cook book. I've tried about 10 recipes from it, and all of them turned out absolutely amazing, getting great reviews from my family. The Syrian spinach soup is my favourite so far. My dad isn't too much into spinach, but after trying this soup, he has changed his mind and has asked me to make it over and over again. The dishes offered by Gil are very versatile and diverse, coming from all corners of the world where Jewish people have lived and traveled through the ages. I was very impressed to find Bukharan and Georgian recipes -- two cuisines that haven't got much exposure in the western world.

You can tell that Gil has put a lot of thought into every single recipe, he puts some variations after every recipe, as well as the history behind it. I'm really looking forward to trying out more recipes from this book.

A plus for vegans -- every recipe is marked with either D for dairy-containing dishes or P for non-dairy (although they might have eggs). That said, Gil offers non-dairy alternatives for most of the dairy recipes.

Thanks Gil for the great book! :0)
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Ruhama on September 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having endured a rather bland week of institutional vegetarian menus, I returned home from a Jewish gathering eager to follow "eco-kashrut" but unwilling to eat one more bite of tofu. I immediately began searching for vegetarian recipes that might actually have some zest and pizzazz, and found that this book fills the bill. Olive Trees and Honey offers time-tested (some, over millenia) kosher vegetarian recipes from the Greater Mediterranean region, served with a rich fare of agricultural and social history. Learning the paths that various ingredients have taken around the globe is fascinating, and definitely fun to share with Sabbath dinner guests.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By G. Nichols on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have a good number of Jewish cookbooks and vegetarian cookbooks, but this one is probably my favorite in both categories. The text and headnotes before the recipes are interesting, and virtually all of the recipes that I've tried so far have been terrific. I have particularly enjoyed the soups, including a fabulous red lentil soup, an Egyptian potato soup, and a Greek barley soup. Many of the recipes include variations which provide interesting and easy ways in which to change the nature of the dish. I highly recommend this book!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S.C. Fiennes on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a great cookbook! I own way too many "Jewish" cookbooks and this one is by far my favorite because it covers so many 'cuisines'-not just your usual Jewish (American) fare. Plus, it's arranged in a very logical way (by ingredient) AND it doesn't assume the reader is familiar with the ingredients. There is a valuable culinary education in here as well as historical tidbits that will delight any Jewish cook! As a former vegetarian I am always trying to find interesting and new ways to get vegetables onto the table and this book definitely has some great dishes.

I have tried many of the recipes and so far they have been very accurate and the results have been very good.

I was also happy to see recipes for "cardoons"-an edible plant that I grow in my garden but most people (unless they're Italian) have never even heard of! This was proof for me that this book covers a very wide range of vegetarian fare.

Very well done.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Val on April 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Olive Trees and Honey' is an amazing book. Not only will you get wonderful vegetarian recipes, but just the history and traditions that are explained in this book is worth the price of the book. Don't think that it's full of "talk" though!! It contains lots of wonderful recipes. Pages 1-34 contains a brief explanation of the various countries that Jewish people come from, the traditional Jewish foods eaten in those countries, the spices used, etc. Did you know that there are Jewish people in India? Ethiopia? Yemen? The rest of the book (about 400 pages of it) contain some very interesting recipes. The beginning of each chapter includes a little section on the history of that type of food, along with recipes from various countries, and some possible variations. This book is for everyone - vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters, Jewish or non-Jewish. I promise you will learn something from this book (and not just new recipes!) It's obvious that the author took a lot of trouble to research th background of the various types of Jewish communities before he wrote this book, and I wish I could give it 10 stars!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Friedberg on April 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is such a wonderful book. First of all, I just made the "Turkish Leek Patties" for Passover and they were the hit of the sedar. The recipe worked perfectly. His recipes are flexible, so you can adjust the amount of garlic or parmesan, for example (I went with full garlic and cheese, fyi). They all sound so good, so you can sit with the book for an entire afternoon and want to make everything. I brought the book with me and two separate relatives sat with the book for at least an hour each. It's entirely readable because it's so fascinating. The book is filled with recipes and great cultural tidbits from the entire Jewish diaspora. And while I started out by mentioning a dish I cooked for the holidays, this book is so much more than that. There's an amazing section on savory pastries (I made turnovers with an Iraqi Chickpea filling, but I can't wait to make more) and delicious recipes for "Ashkenazic Stewed Carrots" and "Sephardic Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes." That's all I've made so far, but I had to share my experiences because I rarely get so excited about cookbooks. Finally, the cover is gorgeous and the recipes are easy to read, so why don't you have this book???
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