2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jewish delis or in fact any comparable delis are sadly not to be found close to this reviewer's home, so this book helps create a sense of intrigue or inquisitiveness as well as providing a means to make over 100 deli classics at home.
In some ways it is unfortunate that the title might lead some buyers to assume that this book is aimed solely at those who are Jewish and thus they may pass on by, yet that could be a big mistake. This book gives so much to the reader on so many levels. Firstly one gets a great in-depth introduction to the Jewish deli and a comprehensive, engaging historical overview and throughout the book this is bolstered by many interviews and features about all matters "deli". This is clearly a book you probably should read sequentially, at least once, to get the most out of it.
This reviewer, being neither a Jew or an American, cannot comment on the authenticity of the various recipes given nor the observance to any dietary regulations. That said, this certainly is a comprehensive work and like a good meal it was "very filling". When browsing through the book looking at the recipes one saw many unfamiliar items that sounded great and, of course, thanks to the great food photography, also looked yummy. Perhaps many good, but everyday items such as Fluffy Potato Latkes or Pastrami Cheese Fries somehow sound better and are more exotic as they are unfamiliar (to this reviewer). One has certainly found a lot of things to try in the future.
Each recipe has a lot of supplementary information in each introduction and the instructions themselves are concise yet clearly written. It would have been nice (cue our usual niggles) for an estimation of the typical preparation and cooking time to have been given to aid the wary and, of course, the use of dual measures rather than sole U.S. imperial units. Small things, but nonetheless... It was pleasing to note that the recipes have taken inspiration from all around the world, showing an element of fusion cookery if you will call it that within the general "confines" of traditional Jewish deli fare.
No doubt some (self-appointed) purists will try and find fault with some of the recipes. They are not authentic enough, they are not how their favourite deli does something, they use all of the wrong ingredients to make a classic but all one can say here was pah! For this reviewer, at least, this book lifted the curtain on an unfamiliar "institution" that one has heard much about, gives a lot of interesting information and offers the chance to have a go making such unfamiliar goodies at home. One feels like one gets value for money from this book, especially when one does not have a Jewish grandmother who obviously could have passed all of this stuff down and more besides (if one believes the stereotypes). About the only thing one would have liked to have seen would have been a "word list" to define some of the unfamiliar "familiar" terms.
A likeable, interesting, different and engaging book that could be a regular companion in your kitchen.