Cook­ing for the King: Win­ning Recipes for Shab­bos and Yom Tov

Renee Chernin
  • Review
By – August 1, 2014

Right up front, Renee Chernin tells us that the recipes in Cook­ing for the King are fab­u­lous, easy to pre­pare, and designed to bring majesty to your menu.” This cook­book was print­ed in Jerusalem and some­how it has imbibed the spir­i­tu­al­i­ty of life there. Rab­bi Ilan D. Feld­man of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Jacob in Atlanta, GA sets the tone in the intro­duc­tion: Through these pages, the home­mak­er, the chef, the host­ess, will be trans­formed into ser­vants of the Divine, con­stant­ly remind­ed that through her cre­ations she is blaz­ing a trail that leads to the source of all cre­ativ­i­ty, the true plea­sure hid­ing in the food.” In her acknowledg­ments, Chernin express­es grat­i­tude to Hashem, who show­ers me dai­ly with oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with Him [and] has been so kind in allow­ing me to build a palace with my [hus­band] and our pre­cious daughters.” 

There are cer­tain foods called siman­im, or signs, Chernin tells us, that fam­i­lies eat dur­ing the High Hol­i­days to remind us to give hon­or to Hashem. Some exam­ples are apples and hon­ey for a good and sweet year, and beans — lubia in Ara­ma­ic, which sounds like rubia, which means increase’ — so that one’s mer­its may be increased. The first recipe in Cook­ing for the King, which Chernin calls Rosh Hashanah Sal­ad, includes all the siman­im in one jew­el-toned sal­ad. Expla­na­tions from the Torah, such as the sto­ry of Yaakov (Jacob) and Esav (Esau) and the famous lentil soup/​birthright exchange, accom­pa­ny many of the recipes. 

Some delec­table soups fea­tured are Har­vest Bisque made with but­ter­nut squash and a Granny Smith apple, Parve Cream of Zuc­chi­ni Soup, and a Hearty Cab­bage Soup, which Chernin calls her king of soups because her fam­i­ly loves it. Oth­er tan­ta­liz­ing recipes are Salmon Quiche with Creamy Dill Sauce, Chick­en Rimon with pome­gran­ate juice, Elise’s Deli Roll, and Dix­ie Corn Dol­lars with Hon­ey-Mus­tard Sauce. For a Sephardic take on Chanukah latkes, pre­pare her Sephar­di Leek Pat­ties; and for the per­fect dessert for this hol­i­day time, try Liane’s Fave Apple Cake. 

Cook­ing for the King con­tains mouth-water­ing recipes and also has ethe­re­al, some­what mys­ti­cal influ­ences. As we approach the High Hol­i­days, this cook­book can help us embrace that feel­ing. Col­or pho­tos, index, menu suggestions.

Relat­ed Content:

Danièle Gor­lin Lass­ner (wife, moth­er, grand­moth­er) retired after 35 years at Ramaz where she served as Dean of Admis­sions, For­eign Lan­guage Depart­ment chair and teacher of French and Span­ish. She owns hun­dreds of cook­books. She has trans­lat­ed sev­er­al chil­dren’s books from French into Eng­lish. She has recent­ly trans­lat­ed “ A Mem­oir of Sanc­ti­ty “ by May­er Moskowitz (Mazo Pub­lish­ers, Jerusalem, Israel) from Hebrew into Eng­lish. No mat­ter the lan­guage, food is a con­stant.”

Discussion Questions