The Com­mu­ni­ty Table: Recipes and Sto­ries from the Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan and Beyond

Kat­ja Gold­man, Judy Bern­stein Bun­zl, Lisa Rot­mil

  • Review
By – March 23, 2015

Food, fam­i­ly, and com­mu­ni­ty have always been at the cen­ter of our lives,” write the authors of The Com­mu­ni­ty Table. The three authors — all ded­i­cat­ed cooks, moth­ers, work­ing women, and long­time JCC mem­bers — reflect the inter­ests of their diverse and envi­ron­men­tal­ly and health-con­scious com­mu­ni­ty in this col­lec­tion of whole­some and var­ied recipes with an empha­sis on local, sea­son­al, and organ­ic ingre­di­ents. These are recipes for home cooks, and they brim with the plea­sure the authors have when cook­ing for their fam­i­ly and friends.

Among the tempt­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties are Iraqi Lamb Burg­ers with Mint Pesto, Red Lentil

Soup with Lime, Hon­ey Cake with Grilled Peach­es, and, of course, Great Roast Chick­en. Two bread recipes are espe­cial­ly appeal­ing — a basic chal­lah shaped like a crown and stuffed with onions and pop­py seeds for Purim and a chal­lah cir­cling a bowl of hon­ey for Rosh Hashanah. Through­out the book there are occa­sion­al pages report­ing on the pro­grams of JCCs around the coun­try, often in the ser­vice of the greater com­mu­ni­ty, under­lin­ing one of the mis­sions of the organization.

An intro­duc­to­ry chap­ter describes the authors’ guide­lines for shop­ping and for stock­ing their pantries. A side­bar illus­trates a host of help­ful kitchen equip­ment, small uten­sils use­ful for spe­cif­ic tasks. Appen­dix­es list the recipes by dairy, meat, and pareve, as well as kosher for Passover; sug­gest menus for Shab­bat and fes­ti­vals; and include met­ric con­ver­sion tables. A hand­some large-for­mat book with excel­lent col­or pho­tographs, The Com­mu­ni­ty Table offers invit­ing, straight­for­ward recipes that will gath­er any fam­i­ly around the table. Appen­dix­es, index, full-col­or photographs.

Maron L. Wax­man, retired edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor, spe­cial projects, at the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry, was also an edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor at Harper­Collins and Book-of-the-Month Club.

Discussion Questions