The Mod­ern Jew­ish Table: 100 Kosher Recipes from around the Globe

Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn
  • Review
By – October 1, 2017

The Mod­ern Jew­ish Table: 100 Kosher Recipes from around the Globe by Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn | Jew­ish Book Coun­cil

The Mod­ern Jew­ish Table is the Jew­ish Princess­es,” Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn’s, spir­it­ed, fun, visu­al­ly gor­geous new cook­book. Our hosts beau­ti­ful­ly cap­ture the zeit­geist of the mod­ern Jew­ish woman. Fine and Tarn seek to reimag­ine the mod­ern Jew­ish table as a place to serve not only Jew­ish del­i­ca­cies, whether local or for­eign in ori­gin, but rather a broad­er spec­trum of tra­di­tion­al foods from around the world, mod­i­fied to fit their own kosher lifestyle. Those look­ing to infuse glob­al fla­vors into their kosher reper­toire should be pleased with this book’s tru­ly inter­na­tion­al approach.

The book fea­tures a lit­tle some­thing for every­one. There are entire sec­tions ded­i­cat­ed to small plates, soups, sal­ads, fish, meat, and veg­e­tar­i­an dish­es, fol­lowed by three whole sec­tions ded­i­cat­ed to dessert: pareve (non dairy), cakes, and cook­ies and treats. The meat sec­tion fea­tures a nice vari­ety of lamb, chick­en, and beef recipes, while the veg­e­tar­i­an sec­tion cer­tain­ly goes above and beyond the norm with recipes for appe­tiz­ers, stews, entrees, and sides.

While Fine and Tarn pro­vide engag­ing com­men­tary before each sec­tion of recipes – instilled with their own spe­cial brand of humor and Yid­dishkeit – they offer lit­tle com­men­tary about the recipes them­selves. It would have been fun to learn the ori­gins of the Crème Fraiche Hol­stein Veg­etable Latkes, for exam­ple: Are the Hol­steins fam­i­ly friends? Where did Fine and Tarn first encounter this recipe, and why did they love it? And what makes the Cuban Sweet Corn Souf­flé Cuban? Is it the com­bi­na­tion of red chili and grat­ed nut­meg, perhaps?

In the same vein, the book would have ben­e­fit­ed from the addi­tion of recipe-spe­cif­ic cook­ing tech­niques, and tips for recipe mod­i­fi­ca­tions. While an entire intro­duc­to­ry sec­tion is ded­i­cat­ed to Set­ting Your Table,” fea­tur­ing tablescape ideas for a vari­ety of spe­cial events and Jew­ish hol­i­days, there is no such sec­tion fea­tur­ing the food, nor even occa­sion­al sug­ges­tions for how to pair the recipes togeth­er into the types of cre­ative and whim­si­cal menus one can only imag­ine Fine and Tarn con­coct before each par­ty and holiday.

If you’re look­ing to immerse your­self in a more con­tent-dri­ven explo­ration of glob­al fla­vors, or tips for how to craft new menus for your Jew­ish hol­i­days, you might want to search elsewhere.But if you’re look­ing for new ways to bring the fla­vors of the world into your kosher kitchen, Fine and Tarn’s wit­ty and warm rap­port, sup­ple­ment­ed by stun­ning culi­nary pho­tog­ra­phy, are a delight­ful entrée to the field.

Joy Get­nick, PhD, is the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Hil­lel at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rochester. She is the author of the Melton School of Adult Jew­ish Learn­ing Beyond Bor­ders: The His­to­ry of the Arab-Israeli Con­flict, has taught his­to­ry at area col­leges, and pre­vi­ous­ly worked in the JCC world and as the direc­tor of a teen Israel trav­el sum­mer program.

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