Top positive review
44 people found this helpful
A wonderful book about Judaism through the medium of food
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.