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James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award Finalist: American Category
IACP International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards, American Category Finalist "Jewish Home Cooking helps make sense of the beautiful chaos, with a deep and affectionate examination of New York's Jewish food culture, refracted through the Ins of what he calls the Yiddish-American experience." New York Times Book Review Summer Reading issue, cookbook roundup Schwartz breathes life into Yiddish cooking traditions now missing from most cities' main streets as well as many Jewish tables. His colorful stories are so distinctive and charming that even someone who has never heard Schwartz's radio show or seen him on TV will feel his warm personaality and love for food radiating from the page . . . Cooks and readers from Schwartz's generation and earlier, who know firsthand what he's talking about, will appreciate this delightful new book for the world it evokes as much as for the recipes. Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 48.
- Review Date: 2007-12-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Schwartz (Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food) breathes life into Yiddish cooking traditions now missing from most cities' main streets as well as many Jewish tables. His colorful stories are so distinctive and charming that even someone who has never heard Schwartz's radio show or seen him on TV will feel his warm personality and love for food radiating from the page. Oddly, even the shorter anecdotes often run longer than the actual recipes; anyone intending to cook from the book should have some kitchen experience or risk frustration at the often brief instructions. Dishes run the gamut from beloved appetizers like gefilte fish to classic meat and dairy main items (cholent, blintzes), plus less familiar items like onion cookies and Hungarian shlishkas (light potato dumplings). Schwartz intersperses engaging commentary on everything from farfel and matzo to Romanian steakhouses and why Jews like Chinese food. Those with Westernized palates may recoil at the thought of gelled calf's feet, but Schwartz shows how stereotypically heavy Ashkenazi food can be improved and made at least somewhat lighter when prepared properly. Cooks and readers from Schwartz's generation and earlier, who know firsthand what he's talking about, will appreciate this delightful new book for the world it evokes as much as for the recipes. (Apr.)
Of kreplach, kishka and knishes
It's easy to imagine Arthur Schwartz, IACP award-winning food writer and master maven of New York City dining, atop a Manhattan skyscraper singing "Tradition" in his most Tevya-like style, pointing to barrels of kosher pickles, vats of matzoh ball soup and bushels of bagels. Instead, he wrote an affectionate, wonderfully informed ode, liberally salted with stories, to the Eastern European food that came here with the "huddled masses" of Jewish immigrants "yearning to breathe free." Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking celebrates the food made by Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, hence the subtitle "Yiddish Recipes Revisited." Most of what Americans think of as Jewish food comes from the Yiddish kitchengefilte fish, chopped liver and, of course, the now omnipresent bagel. Most of these traditional treasures are dated, meaning too many calories and too much fat for today's cholesterol-counters, and most are now made only for holidays. But Schwartz insists, and proves with his 100-plus recipes, that with "a lessening of the schmaltz [FAT!] and a few tweaks," like serving green veggies and salad along with the Pot-Roasted Brisket, Kasha Varnishkes and Potato Kugel, old Yiddish dishes, redolent of the history, joy and pathos of Jewish life, can be welcome at the contemporary table. A great Chanukah gift. You don't have be Jewish to love Jewish food.