Joy of Kosher

  • Review
By – May 13, 2013

Jamie Geller’s lat­est cook­book is part fam­i­ly album, part fun cook­ing ideas, and part­ly like hear­ing from an old friend.” Geller cocoons us in her warmth and hugs; we feel as though we are part of her fam­i­ly as the adorable pho­tographs of her chil­dren, hus­band, and delec­table food entice us.

For a woman raised on take-out and in a non-obser­vant home, Jamie has cer­tain­ly come a long way, for she is now a tra­di­tion­al­ly obser­vant Jew­ish wife, moth­er, cook­book writer, and pop­u­lar kosher cook­ing media per­son­al­i­ty. The fam­i­ly made aliyah and she now reports to us from Israel.

When she mar­ried her obser­vant hus­band, Geller knew noth­ing about cook­ing, but she learned and taught her­self so well that now mul­ti­tudes look to her for cook­ing advice and recipes. She con­fess­es, I still don’t like to cook. I love to eat. I love to watch my chil­dren eat. And I adore the looks of delight­ed antic­i­pa­tion on the faces of din­ner guests when I bring out a tan­ta­liz­ing dish… Yes, I taste test every recipe. That’s why I look this way.” 

The Soups and Starters sec­tion include Uputz­i’s Veg­e­tar­i­an Chopped Liv­er” Pâté (Uputzi is Jamie’s grand­dad). Per­fect fare for hol­i­day gath­er­ings is the Cran­ber­ry Chest­nut Chal­lah Stuff­ing — to be served, she advis­es, with her Sour Mash Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roast­ed Turkey. Her Yerushal­mi Kugel recipe does not dis­ap­point. Her intro to the recipe is “ It’s a sweet and pep­pery caramelized kugel recipe I got from a friend (who wants to remain name­less) who got it from her moth­er (who also wants to remain name­less) who got it from a lady (who also wants to remain name­less) who is a native of Jerusalem.” Fun­ny, and we know exact­ly what she means!

Some oth­er recipes worth not­ing: Clas­sic Tuna Casse­role, Sweet Pota­to Cake, Jum­bo Meat­ball Gar­lic Bread Bites, Pret­zel-Crust­ed Chick­en Skew­ers with Herbed Cur­ry Mus­tard, But­ter­nut Squash Mac ʻn’ Cheese , and of course a full, var­ied Chal­lah sec­tion that includes the spir­i­tu­al mean­ing of the mitzvah.

Each recipe is fol­lowed by sug­ges­tions, such as Quick Tips, Vari­a­tions, Ways to Dress it Up (or Down), and Wine Pair­ings. The Equip­ment and Ingre­di­ents List is com­pre­hen­sive and her com­ments con­tin­ue to amuse. (When rec­om­mend­ing a 10-quart plas­tic bowl, she observes You’ll need this baby to knead your chal­lah dough. A friend told me she uses her laun­dry bin. Try to avoid that; nobody wants to find a sock in the chal­lah.”) There is a well thought-out list of Hol­i­day Menus with explana­to­ry notes, a Food Glos­sary and a Hebrew/​Yiddish/​Yinglish Glos­sary, as well as a com­plete index.

Read Jamie Geller’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Con­fes­sions of a Jew­ish Bride

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