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Mar 31, 2009 09:20 AM

Definitive Kosher cookbook for newbie?

My daughter, raised a Catholic, is seriously considering converting to Conservative Judaism for her young man, should he continue to be "the one.!" He keeps kosher, and his family has the kosher kitchen, etc. Can anyone recommend a really good kosher cookbook that would have great recipes in addition to the background and the traditions involved in keeping kosher, celebrating holidays, etc.? What I am searching for is a tome like the Joy of Cooking that I can give her. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I don't know if there is one book that would fullfill all of that, but Noreen Gilletz has several cookbooks with easy and healthy kosher recipes, I would suggest her. There are many others that focus on the backgrounds and traditions, but the ones I have like that tend to be quite involved recipes, not what you would make every day or focus on the basics of a kosher kitchen.

    1. One that I like is Aromas of Aleppo. It focuses on the cusine of Syrian Jews. It's such a beautiful book that I leave it on the coffee table. The book gives sample menus for holidays and Shabbat, and explains the traditions of kashrut. The book also includes traditions with the holiday menus.

      For everyday cooking I like Quick and Kosher. The book has suggestions for Shabbat and holiday recipes, but know that it relies on some convenience products- like onion soup mix.

      The Kosher by Design series is pretty good as well, except I don't love the Passover book. Overall, the recipes are elegant and simple to prepare. The author also gives sample menus for Shabbat and holidays.

      1. Joan Nathan is an authority on Jewish Cooking. She has several books out there and they offer not only recipes, but history as well. I just got a cookbook out of the library called "Cooking Jewish" by Judy Bart Kancigor and it appears to be a great book. The recipes are basic and are a compilation of her family recipes and friends through the years. It's fun reading, with photos and lots of explanations about the traditions. I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes for Passover. Just about to make some Passover almond thumbprint cookies from the epicureous website for the first time. Good luck,

        1. Another shoutout for anything by Joan Nathan. Also, if you can find it, look at the "Spice and Spirit" cookbook put out by the Lubavitch women's organization. There's a Passover volume and a year-round volume. Start out with the year-round version. Very good basic kosher cooking with a number of more "exotic" recipes. Many recipes, not surprisingly, are written for large quanitity, perfect for your first-time Seder.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            Another vote for "Spice and Spirit." Many recipes and a lot of explanation about Jewish holidays and keeping kosher.
            Here's a link

            1. re: serenarobin

              I agree with both "Spice and Spirit." and Joan Nathan.

          2. Claudia Roden's book of Jewish cooking is excellent. It wouldn't fit your Joy of Cooking criteria but I recently discovered Marcy Goldman's book Jewish Holiday Baking and was really impressed by how much space she devoted to describing the significance of each holiday before presenting the recipes associated with it. Should your daughter want to continue to grow her cookbook library, keep in mind that vegetarian cookbooks are also a good source of kosher recipes because they take away the challenge of not being able to mix meat with dairy, which for me is the biggest challenge of cooking for people who keep kosher.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Velda Mae

              I've had some problems in the past with Marcy Goldman's recipes not always working. Not all, just some. Surprisingly, Nick Malgieri usually manages to come up with good Jewish holiday baking recipes but you have to pore through his books to find them. I'd also have a look at some of the Susie Fishbein "Kosher by Design" books. She's the darling of the kosher cookbook world right now and her recipes run from traditional to traditional with a twist to more cutting edge.

              1. re: rockycat

                I like her books. Not all the recipes are my style- anything with fish- but her ideas are great and she gives lots of great tips.