I Could Nosh: Clas­sic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day

  • Review
By – September 18, 2023

This new cook­book from Jake Cohen, the social media-famous Gen Zer with Miche­lin-lev­el cook­ing knowl­edge, serves as an ana­log to his dig­i­tal per­sona. If you are unfa­mil­iar with Cohen and his pen­chant for innu­en­dos and cringey con­tent, I sug­gest you watch a few of his videos to get a sense of his tone and style — think tra­di­tion­al food from your 1950s Jew­ish grand­moth­er, infused with 2020s ingre­di­ents, chef jar­gon, and food styling.

Accord­ing to Cohen, nosh­ing” is the act of eat­ing food enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly, often between meals. This Yid­dishism has the ring of a stereo­typ­i­cal 1960s Jew­ish grand­moth­er wor­ry­ing that her guest (or, heav­en for­bid, her grand­child) would ever leave her house hun­gry (a shan­da!). There must always be food avail­able — dips on stand­by, a snack­ing cake on the counter, cook­ies in a tin, and some­thing more sub­stan­tial in the freezer.

Cohen is a for­mal­ly trained chef who has worked in some of New York’s most pres­ti­gious kitchens. His cook­book cel­e­brates tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish foods from across the dias­po­ra and then enlivens them with ingre­di­ents and tech­niques from a glob­al kitchen; some of his dish­es include cholent bour­guignon, sabich egg sal­ad, and miso mush­room bar­ley soup. In his intro­duc­tion to charoset rugelach, Cohen describes his new­found sense of Jew­ish culi­nary pride: We’ve been able to final­ly see our truest selves in our biggest passion.”

I Could Nosh rejoic­es in Jew-ish food and the indi­vid­u­als — moms, grand­mas, aunts, and friends — who have car­ried the torch to the next gen­er­a­tion (i.e., Jake’s social media), then ele­vates that food with incred­i­ble styling and flour­ish. Although many of the pho­tographs leave some­thing to be desired, the bright, beau­ti­ful col­ors of the dish­es will inspire you to gar­nish every­thing with herbs, cit­rus zest, and dec­o­ra­tive driz­zles on appro­pri­ate­ly match­ing plates. Read­ers can take com­fort in being able to fol­low a Jake Cohen recipe with­out need­ing to con­stant­ly pause and rewatch his short, ASMR-filled videos.

Avery Robin­son is a Jew­ish non­prof­it pro­fes­sion­al liv­ing in Brook­lyn. In his spare time, he free­lances as an edi­tor, culi­nary his­to­ri­an, cofounder of the cli­mate change non­prof­it Rye Revival, and man­ag­er of Black Roost­er Foods. His writ­ings have appeared in Mar­gin­a­lia Review of BooksJerusalem PostTablet­Mag, and The For­ward.

Discussion Questions