12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Terrific from the author of Plenty and more good news for vegetarians,
This review is from: Jerusalem (Hardcover)
Another great cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi and restaurant partner Sami Tamimi that presents some of the best Arab and Israeli food that can be found anywhere. Like "Plenty", "Jerusalem" is clearly explained, nicely illustrated and puts emphasis on a lot of easy to produce dishes with wonderful to the taste herbs and spices.
Go to a Jewish restaurant in Jerusalem for the first time as an American or European, and you might be expecting a menu that is dominated by the kind of Eastern European (ashkenazi) dishes that are best known at home. Big surprise--the emphasis is very much on fresh vegetables and herbs and rarely includes preserved foods (except for lemons). This cookbook reflects that more sephardic approach to food, which is often very similar to Palestinian cuisine.
While "Jerusalem" is not a vegetarian cookbook, a large number of the recipes included are for vegetable dishes--many for lightly cooked green veggies combined with grains, legumes, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and onions. There is a consistent emphasis on strong savory tastes--very little bland food here at all. These dishes are anything but ordinary and boring and it's a wonder that there aren't restaurants serving this cuisine springing up everywhere. Meat and fish are not neglected--there are some great combos on offer--but the big stars in this book are vegetarian or convertible to vegetarian.
Two other things I liked about this cookbook were the general tone of the interesting narrative that introduces the book--it emphasizes the commonality between the Jewish and Arab communities--and the photography of the food which was all apparently done on site in Jerusalem restaurants and stores. Dishes are presented in beat up old pots and pans with no attempt at glamor. It enhances the idea that this stuff is the real thing.
MORE: The December 3, 2012 edition of The New Yorker Magazine carried a long and engrossing profile of Ottolenghi that a fair amount of discussion of "Jerusalem". Check it out at: [...]
"Jerusalem" would be a great addition to anyone's kitchen library and particularly if your taste buds are hankering for something with savory high notes. Highly recommended.