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.