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The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat Hardcover – August 13, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316254088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316254083
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The foundation of the book is, of course, Ruhlman's schmaltz recipe, which is extraordinarily easy. Six steps, 90 minutes, and you're in business. Classics such as chopped liver, kreplach, and potato kugel follow, as do unconventional dishes including vichyssoise with gribenes and chives-and-chicken confit. They're now yours for the making."—--David Leite, Leite's Culinaria

"Ruhlman, who has authored cookbooks with culinary greats like Thomas Keller and Michael Symon, puts his own spin on even the most classic recipes."—--Katherine Martinelli, The Jewish Daily Forward

"If for some reason you never thought frying chicken fat could be made beautiful, you really need to check this out."—--Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times

"Sometimes it takes and outsider to see a subject clearly. That is what Michael Ruhlman has done with schmaltz, portraying this much-maligned fat thorugh his lens and that of Lois Baron, a friendly Jewish neighbor and a traditionalist in the kitchen. Mazel tov on the results!"—--Joan Nathan, author of Jewish Cooking in America

"It's about time that schmaltz got its due. And from, no less, a great food writer who isn't Jewish. Michael Ruhlman understands, as too many Jews don't, that Yiddish cooking is a worthy cuisine, deserving of attention and respect - not to mention the carefully composed recipes and gorgeous photographs you'll find in this book."—--Arthur Schwartz, author of Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited

About the Author

Michael Ruhlman's innovative and successful food reference books include Ratio, The Elements of Cooking, Ruhlman's Twenty, and Charcuterie. He has appeared as a judge on Iron Chef and as a featured guest on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. He has also co-authored books with Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and Michael Symon. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife, photographer Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It was the perfect gift for that brother!
Chefette
To sum up, if schmaltz is something you are interested to make, this is the book you should get, unless you have a grandmother that can show you.
Jack Paine
This is a beautiful publication with great photos and recipes.
J. Lowe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By I. Darren on August 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Schmaltz... a phrase that this reviewer has heard of, has associated with the Jewish community but never really understood what it actually is (nor was so inspired to check a dictionary). This book has changed that, if nothing else thanks to the sub-title of the book - (a) love song to a forgotten fat.

The author admits at the start that the use of schmaltz is decreasing in (North American) Jewish circles, not least due to health concerns where many attempt to cut out "unnecessary" fat from their diets. To quote the book: "My goal here is not simply to give schmaltz back, guilt-free, to the Jews, but to give it to American home cooks far and wide. Making use of chicken fat in your cooking not only enriches your cooking, it's right from an economical and ethical standpoint as well, in that you make use of something instead of throwing it out (...) Your food will taste better and you avoid waste."

The author has cleverly managed to mix religious and secular information together into a harmonious being, making this an interesting read to any foodie irrespective of their religious affiliations. Jews may "get" more out of this book in one way, but a non-Jew cannot fail but pick up much interesting "foodie information" along the way too. It is interesting to note that the author is no lifelong authority on schmaltz either, admitting that he really picked up on things after hearing a neighbour wax lyrically about it, letting his relative ignorance to come to the fore and his inquisitiveness took over. This kind of book is really a wonder to observe as you can sense the author's own interest burn through.

Understandably this book is written from a U.S.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jack Paine on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything you want in a cookbook: detailed instructions, pictures, and even a decent background story about the book. Not only does the book have pictures, but it has before, during and after photos to guide you, which is a great help. I think this cookbook is a great idea, since every cookbook I have that has a recipe for schmaltz is brief and intimidating, so I never attempted to make schmaltz. This book explains the process in more detail than probably ever before, so any fear is removed, and the chance for success is great.

I went to the local kosher supermarket and got two pounds of chicken fat and skin. I attempted the schmaltz recipe in an all-clad 13" stainless steel skillet and ended up with what looked like beautiful schmaltz, and it smelled great, too. I haven't used it in a recipe yet, but there is a potato knish recipe in the book that I will try. I may try to use my Le Creuset cast iron skillet next time, since the stainless steel pan had a lot of browned pieces stuck to it and I was scared they would burn by the end and ruin my schmaltz, but I don't believe that happened. The author does recommend to use a non-stick pan, but I do not cook with non-stick cookware.

To sum up, if schmaltz is something you are interested to make, this is the book you should get, unless you have a grandmother that can show you.

Edit: 10/18/13- I attempted to make the potato knish recipe. I believe I followed the directions very carefully. I weighed the ingredients to be as accurate as possible. I used a pastry cloth as the author recommends to get the dough very thin. Now the problem I had was that the directions state to bake the knishes in a 400 degree farenheit oven for 15 to 20 min until golden brown.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cissa on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love Ruhlman's recipes; I have yet to have a failure using any of them, and many have jumped from an initial try into immediate high-rotation in our menus. Not only are they delicious, but I generally learn something useful every time i try a new one!

Now, I do not like to waste food. When a recipe tells me to fry bacon, for example, then drain and discard the fat, then saute the onions in olive oil... I ignore that and use the bacon fat. Etc. I love the way this book encourages one to NOT just throw away all that lovely chicken skin, but to turn it into something delicious! These days if I'm braising chicken, or poaching it- any recipe in which the skin becomes flabby- I pull it off and save it, and then make schmaltz when I have enough. (Just like I do with bones and stock, by the way!)

The chicken liver spread is to die for. The recipes have a NYC Jewish cast to them, but not exclusively, and anyway- it's a really tasty cuisine. I'm not Jewish myself, but a lot of my extended family is, so I like that I have solid recipes to cook some of their heritage foods.

Note that I am basing this review on the sadly no longer available app, though it's my understanding that the contents are similar.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Stanley on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't forget the griebenes.
I liked most of the recipes. I already knew how to make schmaltz. A fun read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Zornberg on October 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The recipes bring me back to my childhood, and for that I am grateful. The food comes out great! It's also a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Madeline Malow on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book. Im happy the great traditions are still being met . I never thought I could find a newer book on Schmaltz.
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