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The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey Hardcover – August 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gur, founder and chief editor of Israel's leading food and wine magazine, Al Hashulchan Gastronomic Monthly, offers an enticing look at the evolution of Israeli cuisine. Part cookbook, part history, this collection with full-color photographs throughout paints a tantalizing and vivid portrait of the nation's culinary heritage and present-day gastronomy. Recipes include classics such as Falafel, Challah, Classic Jewish Chicken Soup, and Traditional Chopped Liver, as well as the less-familiar Figs Stuffed with Bulgur and Cranberry Salad, Citrus Semolina Cake, and Mina del Pesach (Passover Matzo Pie). Recipes are easy-to-follow and are grouped under salads, the street and the market, simple pleasures, grill, Shabbat and holidays. Detailed sections on the Israeli breakfast, olive oil, coffee, cheese and wine complement the recipes and give context to the important role these play in the Israeli diet. Additional information on open air markets, fishing in Israel and Israeli Shabbat add to the book's appeal. A section on special ingredients identifies the unusual, although most are easily obtained and will be at least somewhat familiar to most cooks. Beautiful and comprehensive, this book will become an immediate favorite with anyone with even a passing interest in Israeli cuisine. Full color photos. (Aug.)
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“It’s a real joy to discover that a great and vibrant gastronomic culture has emerged in Israel out of the varied legacies from the old Diaspora communities. The Book of New Israeli Food is splendid, engagingly written, with delicious recipes and stunning photographs. Stories, features, and background information give a fascinating insight into life in Israel, the enthusiasm of home cooks, the creativity of chefs, and the passionate endeavors of bakers, winemakers, and olive oil and cheese producers.”
–Claudia Roden, author of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

“Finally, a book about Israeli food that is modern in its approach and comprehensive in its scope… [With] beautiful photography, an attractive format, plenty of useful recipes, and some food stories to boot, [it] is a perfect gift… Warmly recommended.”
–Israel Aharoni, Yedioth Ahronoth

“Filled with delicious recipes, Janna Gur’s gorgeous new book puts Israel on the culinary map–exactly where it deserves to be.”
–Bonnie Stern, author of Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; 1st American Ed edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805212248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805212242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 13.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on September 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Israeli food writer Gur's oversize cookbook, with sumptuous photos by Eilon Paz, is as rewarding to page through as to cook from. Gur, the founder of Israel's leading food magazine, sets the scene, placing recipes and ingredients in context with Israeli life and culinary history, which encompasses influences from a worldwide diaspora. Scattered the world over, Jews absorbed local cuisines and adapted them to Jewish law and custom.

The two major divisions in Israeli cooking are the European Ashkenazi (Chopped Liver - Gur offers four versions, Gefilte Fish, Potato Pancakes), and the Middle Eastern and Balkan Sephardic (Bourekas, stuffed vegetables, Kubbe), but Israeli foods also include dishes from North Africa, Iraq, Syria, India and more.

Gur charts the evolution of Israeli cooking through its short history - naturally influenced by local foods and Arab cuisine - and illustrates techniques common in modern Israeli cooking, like flame roasting eggplants, which are then featured in 11 dishes, and choosing and using the versatile ground sesame sauce, tahini.

Gur also includes engaging stories on basics in Israeli culinary life - breakfast, olive oil, bread, cheese and more - and a short chapter describing some of the more prevalent special ingredients and spices.

The book is divided into five main chapters: Salads etc., The street and The Market, Simple Pleasures, Grill, Shabbat and Holidays. The heady flavor of lemon rises from salads like Fennel and Pistachio, Eggplant Carpaccio, or sumptuous Fatoush, a bread salad with garden-ripe tomatoes.

In addition to basic Falafel, Gur offers a fish version with spicy Harissa Mayonnaise.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a large 9" X 12", 304-page cookbook with stunning color photographs and a variety of kosher recipes from Israel.

I'm someone who doesn't enjoy the hassles of traveling, however, cookbooks from far and near are something I do enjoy. Perhaps it satisfies my latent sense of adventure without the need to leave home. I live near a large city and have access to a variety of exotic ingredients, but I found many of the recipes in The Book of New Israeli Food required very little extra purchases to complete.

I love to make desserts so, of course, my first pick was the "Citrus Semolina Cake" on page 208. Semolina flour-more familiarly used in pasta, fresh orange juice, ground coconut and a small amount of sugar listed in the recipe sounded like the perfect choice. It actually turned out just like the glossy color photo. A picture may be worth a thousand words but with recipes it's the taste. Mild citrus flavor enhanced the cake, which was lighter than a pound cake but heavier than a typical one made with cake flour.

The Book of New Israeli Food not only contains recipes for desserts, but salads, yummy breads and hearty entrées. A bit of history of the area and the customs, which made these recipes popular in this region, accompanies the color photos. There is a section called "special ingredients" that gives added information about those less familiar spices, etc.

This would make a beautiful addition to most home cookbook collections. Then you too can enjoy a bit of Israel without leaving home. I give The Book of New Israeli Food 5 stars.

Armchair Interviews agrees
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Shapira on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a very big cooking book enthusiast, and I keep on buying cooking books although this day you can find ANY recipe on the Internet, because I like reading them, and looking at the photos, and put on little stick it notes on the pages I love, hoping some day I'll find the time to make that recipe.
If You are like me - you are so going to enjoy this book!

It's very beautiful, All chrome pages, with mouthwatering photos of the featured recipes, and many more photos of the people and places of Israel. It also contains explanations about the different styles and cuisine that together assemble the Taste of Israel. You'll find home cooking recipes, and recipes from fashionable restaurants, traditional cooking from Eastern Europe, Morocco, Yemen or Iran alongside contemporary Mediterranean food.

I am an Israeli currently living in the states, and this is a very authentic, fun and beautiful book that totally made me homesick. I bought it as a gift to an American friend of mine, and read it cover to cover before giving it to her.
After that I went ahead and bought myself a copy as well.
She loved it as well - and she told me she would try and make the KUBE - a traditional Jewish Iraqi recipe she never got the chance to learn personally from her grand mother.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daria on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
i just bought this beautiful book and spent an hour looking through it carefully and marking pages of recipes i want to try. unlike most cookbooks, this one has many recipes that are simple yet enticing -- i will really try many. too often one looks through a cookbook, is attracted to the photos, but chooses not to really get down and actually make one of recipes. this is NOT one of those cookbooks. i am married to a tunisian, and many of these recipes are authentic even to that culture. i will update this posting when i have chosen and cooked something from the many i have marked to try.
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