Feasting is for those who really love food. The book, filled with the sense of abundance that the word “feast” implies, is designed to bring family and friends together around good, nurturing food. Amanda Ruben generously shares her gift for using food to create an atmosphere of celebration and connection.
The book’s recipes are organized by starters, salads, mains, sides and desserts, but Ruben also provides some menu ideas. She highlights recipes like her Deconstructed Baba Ganoush for Rosh Hashanah and her signature Miss Ruben’s Pastrami for Yom Kippur. The sound of her pastrami served “sliced and still warm” sounds incredibly appetizing with just the right touch of tradition. Ruben does stray from the “typical” Jewish dish. Recipes like Sticky Beef Rib Fried Rice, Osso Bucco, and Fried Breaded Cauliflower push the boundaries of the traditional Friday night dinner menu.
Some of the recipes in the book are more simple — dishes that an avid cook might conceive of on their own, such as the Guacamole with Chargrilled Corn Salsa, or Roasted Dutch Carrots with Honey and Cumin. In the spirit of serving many, the recipes are all very flexible. Ruben herself recommends making the recipes with whatever you have on hand, “asparagus for beans, feta for goat’s cheese, sweet potato for pumpkin”.
This cookbook is perfect for real family cooking — the kind that takes place quickly at the end of a long day, or over a slow and meandering weekend. Readers can use it to fit their needs, all the while feeling confident that each recipe is going to deliver something the family will be talking about until the next meal.
Alexandra Shabtai is a Los Angeles native working in Jewish philanthropy. When she is not working or traveling, she spends her free time cooking in her favorite room of the house, the kitchen, or tending to her garden of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers.