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Nov 3, 2009 08:03 AM

Ad hoc at home ok for kosher kitchen?


I am going to visit a friend who keeps kosher and was thinking of getting her the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook as a housewarming gift. But are there enough recipes that are
1. vegetarian?
2. NOT pork or shellfish
3. Use meat & dairy but can be adapted through the use of margarine?

Anyone familiar with the book who can give feedback would be great!


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  1. I keep kosher and I have many non-kosher cookbooks - I have used many recipes out of these cookbooks adapting them to meet my dietary restrictions either by changing the protein, substituting margerine/vegetable shortening for butter or even using the recipe as a base for my own creation - I have note seen the cookbook but if it is good I am sure it will be appreciated -

    13 Replies
    1. re: weinstein5

      Per the Wall Street Journal, I understand 99% of the recipes are still very difficult, time intensive and require lots of utensils and bowls.

      Is your friend a real foodie who also enjoys just reading cookbooks? I think that's all I'd do with Ad Hoc at home. As for retrofitting the recipes, don't worry about it.

      1. re: vallevin

        It's fussy home cooking, not simplified versions of Keller's cuisine, so I'd agree that it's for more serious cooks. It all depends on your intended recipient. I enjoy cookbooks of all kinds, but I don't see casual cooks using this. It also has a fun pig illustration on the cover, so I'd say go for it on that basis alone.

        1. re: ferret

          my pal is a foodie and does like to spend a lot of time cooking. I don't know if she enjoys reading cookbooks. The pig on the cover is not an immediate draw since she does keep kosher.

          1. re: SarahKC

            I would recommend any of the Alton Brown cook books if she does not have already, or Cookwise by Shirley Corriher.

            1. re: vallevin

              If you want specifically kosher cookbooks - Susie Fishbein does a series Kosher by Design - which are very good -

              1. re: weinstein5

                Others may disagree, but I don't think of Fishbein as really "foodie." Take a look at a thread here called "Interesting Article" (which I started, based on an article I read which was about Fishbein.)

                1. re: queenscook

                  I wouldn't label Susie Fisbein's cookbooks as foodie, but as 'kosher foodie.'

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Not even that. What's 'kosher foodie'? To me, kosher is a set of rules that define the areas of my foodie-ness (limiting ingredients and combinations, no exploring out-of-the-way ethnic restaurants, etc.) but doesn't change my interest in exploring new tastes and techniques. Fishbein is watered-down yet fussy, and while I suppose it's more foodie than Spice and Spirit, I wouldn't call it foodie in any absolute sense.

                    1. re: GilaB

                      It's more foodie than other kosher cookbooks. Her presentations are interesting, and while her recipes aren't always to my taste, they're on a higher level than most cookbooks branded to the kosher cook.

                      Maybe now her books are nothing so special- but when Kosher Palette first came out it was so different than anything widely available.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        if you want an all around fantastic and interesting Kosher cookbook I find this book By Claudia Roden to be superb and informative.

                        1. re: cwsilverberg

                          Fine, if we are posting 'off the beaten path' kosher cookbooks. Here is my hand's down favorite. I have older edition, the spine is broken and patched with duct tape and it just has fantastic recipes.


                          1. re: cwsilverberg

                            Totally agree, except it is a book to read as much as to cook with

              2. re: SarahKC

                I am kosher and I bought the book for its many hints and technique ideas. For example, I haven't seen such a good explanation of cutting up chicken. I've just started ordering chicken from Kol Foods and they only offer whole chickens so this is useful. There are plenty of recipes that I can "retrofit", I do that all the time. I rarely buy cookbooks these days since I download so much from the web into my NYC database sotware. This one was worth it. And I already own Cookwise. And I, FWIW, don't like Alton Brown. Dined at our Hazzan's house on some Fishbein recipes, they were great but I still didn't buy the book. After all, Thomas Keller is Thomas Keller :-)

        2. Though I am a Kosher Chef and though I do have a number of non-kosher cookbooks (more than just a few), I always wonder what message it transmits to give a non-kosher cookbook to someone who is Kosher (as opposed to them buying it for themselves). There is a "non-kosher" book I always give that is very well-received. It is "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison. I think the one thing that a lot of kosher cooks (and not just kosher cooks) get frustrated and bored with is how to serve vegetables in new and exciting ways. This book is a wonderful resource. I highly recommend it for any cook, no matter how sophisticated.

          1. I have heard that Ad Hoc got good reviews. I am interested in something that isn't fussy, but is interesting (I don't need another kosher one now). Is this worth it for me? Also, has anyone tried "Cooking for One" or some title like that?

            1. I have Susie Fischbein's "Kosher by Design Entertains" and "Short on Time," and have read through most of the other cookbooks. What bothers me about these is that they are big on presentation but weak on food, and full of recycled recipes from her other books and even recycled blurbs about the recipes. My biggest pet peeve (here's the teacher in me) is the number of grammatical errors on every page. It's as if the editor had no idea about punctuating sentences. I don't think I'm being overly picky here; if I buy a cookbook, I expect it's going to be readable, and I am so offended by the lack of concern for clarity on the part of the publisher. As a foodie, I am looking forward to owning Ad Hoc even if I can't cook most of the recipes because I'm sure it's exceptionally well written and will give me lots of ideas for adaptation, if not merely a great read.

              5 Replies
              1. re: teachermom

                Well, I decided to give Ad Hoc to my husband after getting this recommendation from a friend..

                "Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day. It combines a seasonal approach with the kosher stuff and the writer was the founding chef of Shallots, the only fancy kosher meat restaurant in Chicago."

                1. re: SarahKC

                  I am very confused. What does the description of "Jewish Cooking for All Seasons . . ." have to do with Ad Hoc? In your original post, you spoke of "getting" Ad Hoc. So in the long run you got it, but then didn't give it to your friend, but your husband instead? Am I just overthinking this?

                    1. re: vallevin

                      Refresh my memory. Ad Hoc is the cookbook with a picture of a pig on it, right?I'd be kind of wary getting it as a gift, too...

                    2. re: queenscook

                      Sorry to confuse you. but you're not confused at all. I gave Ad Hoc to my husband instead. And gave Jewish Cooking for All Seasons to my friend. Both husband and friend are pleased with their gifts.