If heymish (Yiddish for “cozy”) was an English word, then it would be the perfect adjective for Amy Rosen’s warm-hearted cookbook, Kosher Style. It is funny and full of wit, as the introductory pages end with, “Ess, ess, mein kind! (Eat, eat, my child!).”
Before Rosen delves into her recipes, she provides some introductory sections that give context to the book. The first is called “On Eating Kosher,” where the author explains the meaning of “kosher style.” “So what makes “Kosher Style” kosher?” she asks. “Absolutely nothing. Kosher style refers to foods that are traditionally served and eaten by Jewish people — primarily eastern Europeans, or Ashkenazim.”
Rosen also provides a “Glossary of Jewish terms,” which includes, “Feh — An expression of disgust, representative of the sound of spitting, as in ‘Did you see him in that tan leisure suit? Feh!” and “Klutz — A clumsy person, prone to breaking your prized glassware. Every family has one” as well as, “Kvetch- Both a verb and a noun, meaning to complain or whine…Every family has one.”
“Uncomplicated Pantry” lists Matzo as “A dry-as-the-Negev unleavened bread that is traditionally eaten during Passover, also used in cooking: see matzo brei, matzo balls, matzo pizza, matzo lasagna, matzo brownies, and so on to eternity.”
Rosen includes recipes for tried-and-true Jewish delicacies, like homemade cream cheese in the chapter “Brunch & Schmears” and chicken soup (aka Jewish Penicillin) with an instruction for a pristine broth in “Soups & Such.”
While “Noshes & Sides” has a special “Warm Marinated Olives” which is for, “When you’re pressed for time but want something ready to nibble on as soon as guests arrive…” the chapter, “Eat! Eat!”! covers delights such as “Miami Ribs,” “Classic Cabbage Rolls” and “Maple-Soy Brisket.”
From simple and classic to elaborate and complex, these dishes are accompanied by photographs in full color that are admirably placed for total inspiration, such as the picture of the Vegetarian “Chopped Liver.” Another heymish touch is the inclusion of the author’s bat mitzvah invitation of 1982.
“A Little Something Sweet” features the classic NYC Egg Cream, which “contains neither egg nor cream, but tastes like a fizzy melted Fudgsicle.” This recipe even includes the instructions for making your own chocolate syrup!
The last chapter, “Ten Menus,” features curated menus for classic Jewish holidays or social gatherings: Sunday Brunch,” “A Nosh for a Bris,” “Dairy Break-Fast,” “Swellegant High Holidays,” and the thoughtful “Dishes to Bring for Mourners.”
At the end of the book, Rosen provides an excellent index and thanks many, including Seinfeld, Israel, Canada, America, Poland, Russia, and as always, chocolate.