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Persian Food from the Non-persian Bride: And Other Sephardic Kosher Recipes You Will Love Hardcover – March 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Philipp Feldheim; Second Edition edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583303251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583303252
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Reyna Simnegar was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Her family history dates back to the Spanish Inquisition when her family fled from Spain changing their last name and living as hidden Jews for centuries. Reyna grew up Catholic but inspired by her family heritage, converted to Judaism.

In her teenage years Reyna ventured in the world of modeling, advertizing and beauty pageants. She was featured in several television ads, especially toothpaste adds! She also modeled for several catalogs including La Perla. She enrolled in the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant to later be disqualified for being 3 inches too short! She enrolled in Venezuela's Universidad Metropolitana to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Tired of being the only girl in class and having to bat-her-lashes to get good grades, Reyna moved to the United States in 1995 to pursue two dreams: becoming an interior designer and a Jew! She enrolled in UCLA and got a job in Taco Bell on campus. It was in Taco Bell where she met an unsatisfied customer that later became her destined life-partner.

When her future husband moved to New York City to attend graduate school, Reyna moved there to be closer to him. However, before Reyna left Los Angeles, Sammy's mother, who was afraid Sammy would starve in New York without authentic Persian food, hosted her for a week and taught her the intimate secrets of Persian cuisine so she could cook for Sammy. (This was a super investment for Sammy's mom, because it obviated the need to FedEx frozen Persian food to New York!)

In New York, Reyna pursued a career in advertising, studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lived across the street from the restaurant made famous on Seinfeld, and practiced her Persian recipes on friends, with great success.

Although Reyna started her personal quest toward becoming a religious Jew after discovering her family were Anusim (Marranos, or Crypto Jews) at the young age of 12, it was not until much later, while living in New York, that she was finally able to realize her dream of living the spiritual life she had always aspired to live. At the same time, Sammy (obviously inspired by...ahem...Reyna) started a personal spiritual quest of his own. Just like in a Hollywood movie--only this time it happened in Manhattan--they both became religious Jews, walking different paths but dancing to the same tune and toward the same goal: Truth. In the end, that was really the beginning, against all odds and in spite of the tribulations of being from two completely different cultures, they married according to the laws of the Torah, and managed to stay alive to be able to tell you about it!

Reyna is the author of "Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride" (Feldheim, 2011) He recipes are lavish, rich, and enticing; the photographs are divine; the details in this cookbook make it magnificent; Persian calligraphy graces each page, along with Reyna's personal anecdotes about integrating into a Persian family. Whether you hail from Iran, Indiana, Israel, or anywhere around the globe, this cookbook is a must! She has appeared in several TV appearances nationwide including ABC and NBC networks. She also has her own YouTube channel and Blog.
Her hobbies include preparing and cooking for Shabbat and entertaining guests. She also looks forward to performing makeovers on her friends, decorating their homes without charge, teaching cooking and inspirational classes for women through Aish Boston and Chabad.

She is very happily married and lives with her wonderful husband and five lively boys in Brookline, MA. And by the way, she did earn her Bachelors Degree in International Management and Economics--with honors--from the University of Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This beautiful and comprehensive book will delight meat eaters and vegetarians, Jews and non-Jews, Persians and non-Persians, in fact everybody who enjoys good foods offered with class. The book has enchanting pictures on every other page, with dozens and dozens of recipes, divided into six sections: appetizers and side dishes; fish and soups; poultry and meat; Persian rice; dairy foods, egg dishes, and snacks; and Persian beverages and deserts.

Reyna Simnegar is not Persian, but when she married her "dear husband," who is Persian, he insisted that she learn how to cook Persian foods. "Persians," she writes, "love their food" and "their music." She soon became "enamored with Persian culture. I loved all the Middle Eastern flavors, the smell, the music, the color.... I had no idea that this people with such a vibrant culture existed." She introduces the book with a description of Iranian Jews, how this book is kosher, six pages of what things the non-Persian woman must have in her Persian kitchen, and a page on "It's my kitchen and I'll marinate if I want to!"

In her section on appetizers, for example, she gives recipes for three Persian breads, seven dips, and fourteen salads. All are tasty, all are nourishing. Each recipe is introduced by a paragraph or two with general information. Eggplant, for instance, is to Persian Jews what potatoes are to non-Persians. As with potatoes, salt should be added to release flavor. In this paragraph about babaganoush, she shows her breezy writing style. "Yes, you can totally buy babaganoush at the grocery store, but once you have made your own (which, by the way, is `easy-shmeezy'). You will never be able to go back to the mass-produced variety.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lorri M. on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love cooking, and was sent a review copy of Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride, and other Kosher Sephardic Recipes You Will Love, by Reyna Simnegar.

I cant' begin to describe how lovely the cookbook is from the recipes to beautiful photographs to the format, I am absolutely in love with this book! There are tables/charts (that include descriptions, kosher Status, and where to find the item) which show "Spices and Seeds used in Persian cooking, Herbs used in Persian cooking, Most Vegetables and Fruits used in this book, Persian and Middle Eastern Gadgets, and Persian and Middle Eastern Products". Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride holds a plethora of information between the pages.

The recipes are categorized as such, within the sections:
"Appetizers and Side Dishes"
"Fish and Soups"
"Poultry and Meat"
"Persian Stews"
"Persian Rice"
"Egg Dishes"
"Dairy Foods"
"Persian Snacks""Persian Beverages and Desserts"
"Persian Holiday Tutorial", which includes not only suggested foods, but also particular Jewish holidays and suggested foods for that holiday.

The recipes are delicious sounding, and I made the Chicken in Tomato Sauce and Saffron recipe. I have to tell you that it was outstanding! Take a look at the recipe:

2 whole chickens or 2 chickens cut in pieces or 1 whole turkey

1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder pr 3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lime juiced or 3 tablespoons lime concentrate

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In small bowl combine all ingredients
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86 of 106 people found the following review helpful By elena_eilmes on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After decided to delete my first review after the author's intervention, which actually tells me lots, let's have another try and see how many hours this will be up.

I seldom write reviews to begin with, so I rarely ever bother to write one for a book I so actively disliked, but in this case, I am not only appalled by the book itself, but also wonder if the person who reviewed before me was paid to sing such high praises.

The book looks beautiful and expensively made, with a nice lay-out and lots of full colour photographs. The disappointment sets in the second one starts to read the recipes carefully. Apparently, cooking to the author means more often than not to open various cans and throw them together; instead of using the proper spices, she uses taco seasoning and a flavoured salt popular in the US, and the moment she added pasta sauce from a jar to her "Persian Mussaka", I weeped. Seriously? I had high hopes for this book, but it was just a waste of money.

P.S.: Refering to "Simnegar brought Persian food to the world", as my fellow reviewer puts it - no, she did not. I own a dozen Persian cookbooks, each one better than this one, and if somebody "brought Persian food to the world", it would be Najmieh Batmanglij with her outstanding publication Food of Life, where you will find real Persian food cooked from scratch. If you are interested in somewhat exotic Jewish cookery, I highly recommend Poopa Dweck's Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews along with Joan Nathan's The Foods of Israel Today.
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