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Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 26, 2010
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Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and proprietor of Chez Panisse, her restaurant in Berkeley, California. For four decades, Waters has been a champion of local, organic, and sustainable food. She founded the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1995, which works to promote Edible Schoolyards around the country that integrate growing and cooking fresh, delicious food into school curricula. In addition, Waters is a vice president of Slow Food International, an organization dedicated to preserving the world’s local and artisan food traditions. She is also the author of several cookbooks, including the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, and In the Green Kitchen. Read her review of Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous:
In her latest collection of recipes, Joan Nathan shows that she is an anthropologist of the first order as she explores the point of intersection between French and Jewish food traditions and chronicles how it has come to form a culture all its own.I have come to expect nothing less than the most thoughtfully researched and recorded recipes from Joan, and this latest book will help to redefine the world of Jewish cuisine for many home cooks, myself included. As much as this book shows Joan’s care in communicating recipes, it is also a testament to her skill as a scholar of the world’s food traditions. Joan is a remarkable curator of recipes, selecting dishes that are not only delicious, but that communicate the history of this unique cuisine.
In a time when so many of the world’s food cultures are threatening to disappear, we need more books like Joan’s--books that teach us about the local food traditions and local ingredients that have been sustaining us for generations. If we don’t record these traditions, they will surely be forgotten. Through this book, Joan has found a way not only to make these French-Jewish dishes approachable, but also to preserve them for today’s cooks and for cooks of future generations.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
It's an interesting cookbook, but more valuable to me as a history book. The intersection of North African, Jewish and French culture is well explored in the text and is a great read.
The recipes are pretty well dispersed, one supposes a fairly accurate array of what French Jews cook at home - but this is maybe a little different than French/Jewish cuisine? A lot of the recipes are easily found in other sources, and don't require any adaptation to make them kosher, or are not too far afield from what could be found, or inspired by, in a good vegetarian cookbook - like quiche without lardons, celeriac remoulade, or Roquefort souffle.
The North African recipes are the most interesting, but so far the versions I've tried from this book are less lively than the ones in my Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian cookbooks - and have not needed any modifications to be kosher.
So - its more a "living room" historical and cultural book for me - and an excellent one in that respect - rather than a manual I'll use in the kitchen.
Some of the recipes can't be found anywhere else and I'm excited to try more recipes for Jewish dishes that are quite different from the expected American-Jewish staples.
More details about the book and some of the recipes are at boldlygosolo dot com, December 6 post.
If you are looking for a new approach to kosher cooking - for instance, seeking to re-invent some of the Eastern European classics that predominate Jewish cooking in the US - this book should prove to be inspired. This is, in part, due to the fact there is a larger Sephardic presence in many of the recipes presented. However, given that the village of Ashkenaz is in Alsace, France, the book does demonstrate that the cooking descent of European-descended Jew is richer than most imagine.
The ingredients are expensive and also some of them are not easy to come by. However, there are a few that used more "everyday" ingredients...a quiche and a stuffed vegetable receipe that are truely outstanding.
A lot of the book is centered on the people (friends, relatives and acquaintances) that the author met, and their relationship to a particular receipe. I'm sorry, but for me, this is a lot of blah, blah, blah.
My advice is take it out of the library, copy the recepies that you like, and don't waste your money on this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was excellent in that it addressed the history of food, France and the Jews. My daughter lives in France and I love how she has adapted to French/Jewish cooking. Read morePublished 18 months ago by redhead
I have used this book extensively. Recipes are distinctly French. Excellent resource for Jewish cooking that emphasizes fresh ingredients and is not the heavier Ashkenazi-style. Read morePublished on August 7, 2014 by Tesh
Love this book. Unfortunately my friend whom I gave it to doesn't like to cook so she have it to her daughter. it is a lovely gift with gorgeous illustrations.Published on May 31, 2014 by 7413
These recipes are interesting and not your usual kosher fare. The stories about the people who are cooking the recipes are also interesting and don't make it seem like the author... Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by leezee
great book and recipes, daughter loves it, was a gift for her birthday after her return from visiting France this yearPublished on August 6, 2013 by helene bednarsh
Book was in excellent condition, obviously never used however several pages were folded and ripped at the very bottom of the page. I was ok with itPublished on May 22, 2013 by Cheryl