Eitan Eats the World: New Com­fort Clas­sics to Cook Right Now

  • Review
By – May 2, 2022

The culi­nary wun­derkind who first made a splash in Jew­ish media as a kosher con­tes­tant on Food Network’s Chopped back in 2012, and is now known to the mass­es as a Tik­Tok star and res­i­dent culi­nary con­trib­u­tor to The Drew Bar­ry­more Show, brings glob­al fla­vor and his sig­na­ture panache to the page in his inau­gur­al cook­book, Eitan Eats the World.

Each of the book’s eighty-five recipes takes read­ers to a dif­fer­ent region of the world, with nine­teen-year-old Bernath as a con­vivial guide. A recipe for saf­fron and car­damom kul­fi (an Indi­an frozen sweet — some­thing like a cream­si­cle but suit­ed to a more refined taste) is sand­wiched between a sea­soned spin on the Amer­i­cana blue­ber­ry hand pie and a recipe for five-ingre­di­ent brown­ies (a tried-and-true ver­sion of the three-ingre­di­ent food hack” cake that found social media star­dom in the sum­mer of 2021).

In the sec­tion Hand­helds (a clever catch-all for the many lay­ered and portable meals Eitan Eats offers) read­ers find recipes for the grilled meat-stuffed pitas called arayes, chick­en satay skew­ers, and a veg­e­tar­i­an take on the Viet­namese banh mi. Oth­er recipes include Kur­dish sham­bu­rak (a thin boat of dough cradling spiced meat and pota­toes), mush­room bobo (a stew made rich with coconut milk and yuca), and oth­er more light­ly sea­soned dish­es: lush scram­bled eggs, corn­flake french toast, toma­to soup, and piz­za. In a less adept hand, this min­gling of recipes might give a read­er whiplash. How­ev­er, Bernath’s head­notes and intro­duc­tions cheer read­ers on as they nav­i­gate new fla­vors, tech­niques, and combinations.

While Jew­ish food is not the focus of the book, Bernath includes kosher alter­na­tives (using non-dairy yogurt in the tzatzi­ki accom­pa­ny­ing beef skew­ers, for exam­ple) or mod­i­fies dish­es to make them kosher from the start (swap­ping mush­rooms for shrimp in his bobo recipe). Jew­ish and Israeli fla­vors do occa­sion­al­ly head­line in the book as well (the cov­er fea­tures Bernath with chick­en schnitzel and an Israeli chopped sal­ad). In the head­note for his chi­laquiles dojos, Bernath notes the sim­i­lar­i­ties in tex­ture between Jew­ish mat­zo brei and the Mex­i­can tor­tilla and egg dish.

And, if all of that is not enough to con­vince a poten­tial read­er, the book’s rich­ly col­ored images (pho­tographed beau­ti­ful­ly by Mark Wein­berg) are mes­mer­iz­ing. Not only do they frame the food beau­ti­ful­ly — this book is no stranger to cheese pulls — but they also match the viva­cious­ness and warm spir­it of the book’s author. With its glo­be­trot­ting set of recipes, a glos­sary of cook­ing essen­tials, and its ani­mat­ed, reas­sur­ing, and infor­ma­tive recipe notes, Eitan Eats the World proves Eitan Bernath is a mas­ter at coax­ing fla­vors from food and con­fi­dence from cooks of all ages.

Han­nah Kres­sel is a cur­rent fel­low at the Pardes Insti­tute of Jew­ish Stud­ies in Jerusalem. She holds a Mas­ters in Art His­to­ry from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford and a Bach­e­lors in Art His­to­ry and Stu­dio Art from Bran­deis Uni­ver­si­ty. Her research exam­ines the inter­sec­tion of con­tem­po­rary art, food, and reli­gion. She is an avid bak­er and cook.

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