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4.8 out of 5 stars58
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2010
It is a cooking book that invites you to a thorough reading of the history, differences and characteristics of the Jewish culinary art around the world.
More than for recipies, I bought it to prepare a lecture on Jewish cooking: it will help me to frame the Roman Jewish food into a more general panorama of Jewish tradition.
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on 24 March 2014
i wanted this book years ago, but I was given Evelyn Rose instead. I am not Jewish but I love the total cosmopolitanism of the food. I find the history of food really interesting like the crossover of Jewish and Chinese food.(Szechuan). The only thing missing are samples of Japanese Jewish food .

Lovely illustrations which are time capsules of lost cultures but also incredible ingredients which one sources through Health Food shops but were part of a staple diet of quite poor people. This suggests that people might have been quite healthy on a very restricted diet .I love reading it as much as using it.
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on 11 March 2010
This book is an absolute joy! It is a history-ethnographic-recipe book all in one. I learn something new each time I read the wonderful and very personal descriptions of people and places. Claudia Roden seems to have relatives in every corner of the world. The recipe are all fail and fool proof. I love the chatty way she describes the "method". I feel as if I am sitting on a stool in her kitchen! Reading this and her Arabesque book has engendered an interest in food and cooking I have never had before. One needs no other books than these two!
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on 17 February 2010
Excellent very well written, more of a history book than a just a cook book.
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on 21 August 2010
As many other reviewers have commented, this is far more than a cookbook. Simon Schama's comment that this is 'the richest and most sensuous encyclopaedia of Jewish life ever set in print' may seem a little excessive but is not far wrong. Indeed, Claudia Roden tells me far more about some of the more exotic branches of the Diaspora such as India and China than I have ever seen in a normal book on Jewish history. The influence of the Jewish people's global wanderings is reflected in the recipes which draw from a dazzling range of food cultures, although the bias is inevitably towards the Mediterranean and Middle East, not just because of Claudia Roden's own background, but also because, although it pains me to say it, Polish food will never match Moroccan or Persian. That's not to say that the recipes from Eastern Europe aren't good - the cold soups and paschka are superb whilst the lokshen pudding is the best I've ever had. All of the recipes are clear and easy to follow - my family and I have used this more than any other cookbook and we have never had a bad meal. A masterpiece whose inclusion in the Observer's recent list of the 10 greatest cookbooks is fully deserved.
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on 18 January 2013
This book was interesting in that there was a lot of historical and cultural information covering a wide geographical area. Europe and the middle east. What makes it alive is that the author Roden intersperses the book with personal and anecdotal references as well. The recipes are quite basic but that is probably just a reflection of the availability of ingredients.
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on 3 December 2011
An all-time classic which is a very interesting read with history from the many jewish cultures. The review of the interplay between festivals, ordinary life and where the food came from is fascinating. The recipes are worth a try, especially as they come from such a rich diversity of backgrounds (and many are delicious).
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on 8 August 2000
The book is divided into two sections: one dealing with the Ashkenazi cooking of Eastern Europe, and the other the Sephardi world of North African and Mediterranean Jewry. Not surprisingly, Ms. Roden succeeds better with the Sephardi half (or two-thirds) of the book since she is Sephardi herself. Indeed, she is somewhat dismissive of Ashkenazi cooking, forgetting that differences in climate and availability of ingredients greatly influenced the way the Jews of Poland and Russia, France and Germany, cooked. She is a bit of a food snob, picking and choosing even between various Sephardi communities (my husband's Iraqi foods are ignored, for example) and wants the reader to be sure to understand how cosmopolitan and sophisticated her own origins are, but that being said, the recipes are tasty and most are not difficult to do. The accompanying commentary and photographs describing the traditional foods of various communities makes this a fascinating read, and a good gift for anyone interested in international cuisine, Jewish or not.
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on 4 April 2014
This book is the masterpiece. I learned from it more than from any other book in my extended culinary library. My of my friend bought for themselves after tasting the dishes, prepared with Claudia Roden's recipes. Cannot reccommend it enough.
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on 22 March 2012
really Claudia Rodin is such a great definitive cookery writer .Not knowing a great deal about Jewish food we found this both a very reliable cook book and a really well written cultural history -great present for any cook of any culture
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