From Publishers Weekly
Davis, author of Foie Gras and Cook Something, draws on his Ashkenazi (European Jewish) heritage and family recipes to produce The Mensch Chef. The recipes include familiar Jewish fare like his hearty Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls, Basic Brisket and Gefilte Fish. Several traditional recipes are given tasty new twists, from the slight citric bite of the sweet Apple-Orange Lokshen Kugel to the Baked Fish in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce. Some dishes, like the robust Hummus and the healthy Carrot and Raisin Salad, are more modern Israeli than Old Country, but are growing popular at Jewish tables. The kosher status of each recipe meat, dairy, pareve, or pesadich is indicated, and where appropriate Davis provides alternative versions of recipes that take dietary laws into account. The Pareve Rugelach, for instance, are made with Sweet Chicken Schmaltz and peanut oil instead of dairy products so that they can be eaten after a meat meal. Kosher regulations, ingredients, and tools are all covered in the introduction. Davis's borscht-belt wit spices up the recipes, as do historical tidbits and quick, troubleshooting bits of advice on everything from "How do I grate an onion?" to "Instead of pancakes I made a mess!" This well-written, appealing cookbook will tempt nostalgic Jews and culinary tourists alike.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
At first glance, The Mensch Chef seems rather flippant in tone chapter titles, for example, include "You Call That a Piece of Cake?" but it's actually a serious cookbook, written with an irrepressible sense of humor. Davis, food writer and author of several other cookbooks, wrote it in part for Jews who usually don't cook "Jewish food" until the holidays come around and want to serve the dishes they grew up with, as well as for those who crave childhood favorites but never learned how to make them. There are recipes for Gefilte Fish and Brisket and Babka in short, all the traditional dishes along with entertaining and informative commentary about each one. It's an "Ashkenazi ABC," as Davis describes it. There is also a glossary, called "Yiddish for Cooks," and a source list for "Groceries" and "Cravings," along with an annotated reading list. Strongly recommended.
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Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.