Well known for The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook, Jewish cookbook author Evelyn Rose passed away in May of 2003. Her daughter Judi cooked with Evelyn for over 30 years. Judi is a food writer, consultant, and culinary expert. She divulges that when her mother “…was asked for a definition of Jewish food, her answer was simple. ‘It’s food that Jews eat,’ wherever they might live or hail from.”
Judi Rose explains the origins of the Jewish holidays and the types of foods eaten for each one in the section on Festivals and Food. In Small Plates, an easy-to-prepare Liptauer cheese recipe would be perfect for a dairy introduction of a savory spread. For a meat delicacy, the excellent Chicken Liver Pâté — Jewish Style — is improved by a bit of nutmeg and then blended in a food processor.
Soups begin with a traditional chicken soup — three ways: Chicken Noodle Soup; Chicken, Zucchini, and Lettuce Soup; and a Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Soup. Each have a base of the defatted chicken stock recipe which appears at the end of the volume, in a section for Meat Stocks, where the home cook can find reliable recipes for Beef Bone Stock, Beef and Bone Stock, and Roast Beef Stock. It is a comforting section with excellent directions. Rose’s Haimische Winter Soup is nourishing and flavorful as it was for the nineteenth-century Russian and Polish peasants, where winters could be brutal.
The Poultry section, Judaism’s multi-ethnic culinary oeuvre is well represented with Pollo en Pepitoria, a Spanish chicken dish that uses ground almonds to thicken the white wine sauce. Turmeric, which nowadays is praised for its health benefits and seems to be part of numerous food articles, makes its appearance here as well. Duck Breasts with a Honey and Ginger Glaze reflect notes of Chinese style flavors.
The Meat chapter starts — where else? — with cholent. Rose quotes a Jewish food writer who claimed that this ancient Sabbath recipe is best defined as “any dish that has the stamina to stand up to 24 hours in the oven.” Rose’s recipe includes butter or lima beans for a hearty dish: after eating this filling meal, many will need to takes a Sabbath rest to recover their stamina for the day! The Albondigas al Buyor are Greek Jewish meatballs in a sweet-and-sour sauce, complete with instructions for how long it will keep in the fridge or in the freezer. A most mouth-watering recipe features Herbed Lamb Chops, marinated for a while pre-broiling them.
The Fish section offers a Gefilte Fish Provençale — the fish patties are baked or poached in a tomato and pepper sauce — and instructions for Poached Salmon in three ways, including a 15-minute microwave approach. Rose introduces Israeli Salad in the Vegetable and Side Dishes by noting, “whether it’s prepared for 200 kibbutzniks or by street vendors who spoon it in your pita bread along with their freshly fried falafel balls, it’s always made with cubed vegetables…” An excellent vegetarian alternative to chopped liver is the Katsis Kishuim, the Israeli zucchini spread which is perfect for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. A Raw Pasta Sauce for two pasta dishes calls for these instructions: “But because these sauces are only at room temperature, it’s essential to heat your serving dish and plates so the pasta doesn’t become lukewarm.”
Beer enthusiasts will appreciate Rose’s Rye and Caraway Bread. Influences from the Dutch, the German, the Egyptian, the Armenian, the Viennese, the Italian, the Greek, the Hungarian, the Moroccan, the English, the Israeli etc. help to make the cookbook’s Breads secition a most valuable addition to the kitchen repertoire.
This volume ends with a quote from Evelyn Rose: “Thus sayeth Kohelet, “there is nothing new under the sun,’ and of no sphere is this aphorism from Ecclesiastes more true than the world of food and cooking. My own knowledge is only the sum of that accumulated by hundreds of generations of Jewish women who have cooked before me. All I can hope to do is to make that knowledge relevant-and accessible-to people cooking at this particular time.”