Cel­e­brate: Food, Fam­i­ly, Shabbos

  • Review
By – May 19, 2015

Jews are for­tu­nate to have an occa­sion to cel­e­brate every week: Shab­bat. Shar­ing prayer and food gath­ers peo­ple togeth­er and nur­tures rela­tion­ships. This cook­book offers 200 recipes to bring vari­ety and healthy foods to Shab­bat tables. It was cre­at­ed as a fundrais­er for Emu­nah, an Israeli social ser­vices orga­ni­za­tion that helps fam­i­lies and chil­dren in dis­tress. Eliz­a­beth Kurtz, the author, is a cook­ing teacher and Jerusalem Post columnist.

Cel­e­brate pro­vides all the infor­ma­tion a cook needs to pre­pare for Shab­bat. It begins with detailed instruc­tions for mak­ing chal­lah and offers instruc­tions to make many ver­sions of this tra­di­tion­al bread, includ­ing whole wheat and gluten-free. The chap­ters that fol­low cov­er Kid­dush (appe­tiz­ers such as Skew­ered Gefilte Fish with Rata­touille and veg­e­tar­i­an chopped liv­er), first course (Hon­ey Gar­lic Meat­balls, Salmon Cro­quettes with Dill Tar­tar Sauce), soups, sal­ads (Asian Spinach Sal­ad with Sliced Steak and Wasabi Crunch, Roast­ed Beet and Aspara­gus Sal­ad), poul­try, meats, sides (Acorn Squash Stuffed with Jew­eled Israeli Cous­cous, Szech­wan Sug­ar Snap Peas), dessert (Shaved Choco­late Pound Cake), and Shalosh Seu­dos (Every­thing Bagel Romaine Sal­ad with Smoked Salmon), among oth­ers. All of the dish­es are kosher.

In addi­tion to these cre­ative recipes loaded with inter­na­tion­al fla­vor, read­ers will find use­ful tools such as a Trou­bleshoot­ing Cook­ie Chart (which pro­vides solu­tions for prob­lems includ­ing dough that is too sticky or too dry); a chart of kosher meat cuts; and a mas­ter cholent recipe that includes bar­be­cue, Moroc­can, mar­row, and Passover vari­a­tions of this long-cook­ing dish. Each recipe is accom­pa­nied by a col­or illus­tra­tion of the fin­ished prod­uct, and the instruc­tions are clear and easy to fol­low. Even novice cooks will be able to pre­pare pro­fes­sion­al-look­ing dish­es for their tables.

This is an excel­lent basic kosher cook­book. It belongs in home kitchens and it would make a thought­ful wed­ding or house­warm­ing gift.

Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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