The Brisket Book: A Love Sto­ry with Recipes

Stephanie Pier­son
  • Review
By – September 5, 2012

The Brisket Book is more than just” a cook­book. Of course, the recipes are cen­tral, with chefs and celebri­ties well rep­re­sent­ed, but there are also sto­ries, pho­tographs, and a grand sense of humor, with jokes, car­toons, fun­ny quotes, and how to say brisket” in var­i­ous lan­guages.

One should note that a few of the recipes use non-kosher ingre­di­ents. Brisket lends itself to var­i­ous cul­tures. For years, I have made overnight brisket in a slow oven with var­i­ous spices in a sweet and sour way. This has freed the burn­ers for the prepa­ra­tion of oth­er dish­es in the morn­ing.

As Nahum Wax­man, own­er of the NYC book­store Kitchen Arts and Let­ters, and famous for his brisket recipe, says, Look­ing for the orig­i­nal recipe for brisket is like look­ing for the orig­i­nal recipe for toast.” There are inter­views with him and Joan Nathan, and many coun­sels from oth­er brisket mavens. The author has ven­tured far and wide to devel­op her brisket acu­men.

There is even a brisket recipe for veg­e­tar­i­ans, A Sei­tan Brisket,” with a most sat­is­fy­ing gravy. Read­ing 50 Things About Brisket That Peo­ple Can Dis­agree About” in the ear­ly pages hint­ed strong­ly that I would love this book, and I did. Exam­ples of the dis­agree­ments are:

How thick or how thin to slice it.
Elec­tric knife or ser­rat­ed knife?
Always freeze or nev­er freeze.
Serve at once or serve the next day.
Start with fat side up or fat side down, etc.
Recipe or instinct?

Includ­ed are corned beef and cholent recipes. There are even haikus on the sub­ject.

Try the Slow Cook­er Brisket with Beer,” the Scan­di­na­vian influ­enced Aqua­vit Brisket, ” or the Tem­ple Emanu-El Brisket.” You’ll find out why so many peo­ple feel that they have the best brisket recipe. Index, wine and side dish recommendations.


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