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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 January 2003
I can only agree with the previous reviewers - as a cookbook this is excellent, crammed full of a tremendous number and variety of great recipes, sensibly organised. As a historical book of a people told through their food it's even better.
It is nothing less than a social history of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Judiasm told through the medium of food. The recipes have been collected and cherished by Roden, often from friends and relatives, on her travels. Most recipes are accompanied by the historical origins of the dish and thereby reveal something about Jews and Jewish life. The more celebrated and famous dishes, such as chopped liver and cholent, have whole pages of fascinating context, history and photographs devoted to them.
The result is that, as well as eating a fantastic meal (the meatballs and apricots in tomato sauce served with spinach risotto rice and followed by apfel kugel mit eppel is my favourite) you have a real sense of occasion and connection when you eat...even if, like me, you're a Gentile; you know the importance and provenance of your food and can almost see the ragged bagel seller, smell the lid being taken off the sabbath stock pot in the shtetl when you eat.
It's certainly the best and most readable cookbook I own, and in fact one of the most enjoyable books I own.
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on 17 May 2017
Wonderful Claudia Roden writes beautifully and informatively about the history and development of Jewish food and culture. Interesting delicious recipes.
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on 1 July 2016
The contents of the book are as expected, but condition was not as good as I expected for the price. Couple of pages stick together, spills and notes written in the book.
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on 8 May 2017
Possibly the greatest cookbook ever written, this stands the test of time and should be on every ccok's shelf. It is a great cookbook AND a great cookery book.
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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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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2001
Quite simply, this deserves a place in everyone's kitchen. Not also that, but also in everyone's bookshelf, as this is a book as good to read as it is to cook from. There are quite literally hundreds of recipes here, all easy to use, and all provide superb results. The amount of research and effort that Roden has put into her book is astonishing. You could quite easily live for the rest of your life eating only meals you cook from this book and never become bored. Maybe you'd put on a few pounds here and there, but everything good has a price. This is a bargin at the price - some may be put off by the lack of a glitzy Naked-Chef style colour photo section, but you don't need it at all - Roden has chosen her recipes carefully and very few are tricky. This is not to say the results are simplistic - far from it, you'll find some of the most delicious meals you've ever made pouring forth from your kitchen. I urge you to buy this book now, and pray for more like it. Every culture deserves a book like this.
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on 19 September 2010
This book is truly wonderful on so many levels. From a culinary perspective it has some excellent recipes and also inspirations for adaptations to your own recipes, and new ideas. Then there is the culinary evolution and cultural absorption that happens as a people journey to different lands and have to adapt, or it just naturally happens based on local tastes and also produce available. You can really follow this beautifully in Claudia's book as you see the little (and big) tweaks that are made to recipes. And finally there is the overlay of history and anthropology which really adds the final dimension to all the recipes. It sets them in context, and you really understand how central food is as an expression of people, the times they live in, and where they come from. The resilience of the Jewish nation and how it manifests itself through food.

Even if you never cook a single recipe from it, this is a fascinating book to have and to go back to time and time again. It reminds us of the essence and basics of life which make us all both unique, and at the same time not always that different fundamentally. Fascinating to anyone interested in either cooking or history, but an absolute 'must read' to anyone with an interest in both.
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on 27 October 1998
This is one of the greatest food books ever. It's not just a cookbook, but an ethnographical acount of Jewish life around the world - all tied togther by food - the single currency that makes sense of our lives. I read the book from cover to cover and then i cooked from cover to cover. The most beautiful book, I am truly inspired. There cannot be many books (on food or otherwise) that can compare.
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on 8 April 2001
Claudia Roden, probably and deservedly the best known of all Middle Eastern cookery writers writing today, has created an absolute treasure in this book. It is simply a must-have for anyone serious about Jewish cooking.
The book is divided into two sections, the first much shorter than the endlessly more fascinating second. Roughly the first third of the book is dedicated to the more traditional style of Jewish cooking, the Eastern European-influenced Ashkenazi cooking. It's in the second two-thirds of this cookbook, however, that Roden's extensive knowledge of her genre really shines through: Sephardi cooking. Such a fascinating mix of spices, flavours and ingredients! Everything I've made from this book has been nothing short of a show-stopper. Highly recommended are the Lamb with Prunes, the Lentil Soup, the Risotto with Artichokes, the Potatoes with Black Olives, the Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts and the Tishpishti (a walnut/almond dessert for Passover).
Finally, if you're not a truly serious foodie, you should consider buying this book for its fantastically interesting background reading. Roden is a Jewish woman who grew up in Cairo, though her family hailed from Turkey. She sheds light on not only her own background but, indeed, on the history of Jewish culture and cuisine in such places as India, China, the Balkans, Morocco, etc.
A GREAT cookbook and deserving of the extensive awards it has garnered.
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on 25 December 2001
Ihave read most of Ms Rodens books and this is the best yet.Her style of writing is so interesting,no glitz,just an extremely informative guide not only to Jewish cooking but also the history and reasons why the dietary laws were laid down.It is also a very good read.I now cook from it all the time.
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