Cookbook/supplies rec for absolute beginner- kosher and somewhat picky!
- i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 27, 2014 01:03 PM
I'm trying to think of a good present for my dear childhood friend's bridal shower. She mentioned that she would like to learn how to cook now that she is getting married. She has boiled pasta, but beyond that has absolutely zero cooking experience.
They do not keep kosher when they eat out, but as far as I know they will be keeping kosher in their new home together. I only have a limited understanding of what that means. In addition to the kosher restriction, they are a bit picky. I managed to extricate the following information from her. They both eat pasta, chicken, and beef. He does not eat fish, though she does. She adores cheese. They enjoy eating Mexican food and Thai food. She loves brisket. He loves cookies. :)
Does anyone have any recommendations for beginner cookbooks that would be kosher-friendly, or ideas about any other gifts for a complete novice in this case?
Years ago my mom bought me Great Food Fast from Everyday Food, which I think is a pretty good basic cookbook, but I'm not sure how many of the recipes would be considered kosher... time to research!
If there are cooking classes in her area, I would recommend that you give her a certificate for "Knife skills". It will serve her well for decades to come and is something fun she can do, before the wedding or take her spouse later and have a date night. If she learns something that saves her 2 minutes, you are literally giving her the gift of time forever.
I think the most important part of learning to cook it too learn basic techniques that could be applied to any type of cooking. Ruhlman's Twenty has basic technique and recipes - he is a good teacher. She will use the book for years to come.
For cookbooks, I would recommend one or more from Susie Fishbein's Kosher by Design series. The recipes are not too complicated, fairly practical, and reasonably appealing.
You might think that you could just buy any reliable cookbook and assume that your friend could just ignore the non-kosher recipes or substitute a kosher ingredient for a non-kosher one. You would think that. I've noticed, though, that oddly enough, many kosher cooks just don't go that route. They'll stick to cookbooks prominently labeled kosher even though much higher quality books are available.
Avoid books by Jaime Geller (Joy of Kosher). The recipes are mostly lame and the books are exercises in advertising and product placement.
I second the non-recommend for Jamie Geller. Her books have recipes for things like "turkey sandwiches" and other non-recipes.
If she is a beginner and not likely to be making big, gourmet meals and dinner parties, I would stick with a basic cookbook by someone like Mark Bittman. Yes, there will be a few seafood recipes she will have to skip, but overall the recipes will be clear and well-tested and help her build skills and confidence. Kosher by Design is good too, but more focused on the fancy dinner party type dishes (except the Short on Time version, which is more practical everyday food.) Other great basic cookbooks are Pioneer Woman and Barefoot Contessa.
Keeping a kosher home maybe a little difficult for the newlywed, imho
I kept kosher when I first got married- and set up a kosher kitchen-There are many laws to follow- If you are interested in learning more I would suggest you go to www.chabad.org
The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
these by Joan Nathan
The Jewish Holiday Kitchen
The New American Cook
Jewish Cooking in America
The Bittman book is good for basics
I think you will get more responses on cookbook suggestions on HomeCooking
Since keeping kosher involves separating meat and dairy-there is also another category pareve(neither meat/dairy) and making sure food is kosher
I had 2 of everything-pots,pans,toweling, silverware, draining boards-
actually I had 3-Passover items which are only used for Passover
I am strictly kosher and a cookbook collector so I've got lots to say on this topic! :)
There are some decent kosher cookbooks (Susie Fishbein's are great) but there is a bigger, better selection of non-kosher ones. I own more than 100 cookbooks and only about a dozen are specifically kosher.
Vegetarian cookbooks are inherently kosher, but of course they won't have brisket recipes. You can get her any cookbook you like, as long as it doesn't emphasize pork or seafood recipes. I second the motion on "How to Cook Everything." Also, "Joy of Cooking" is a wonderful choice. That was my very first cookbook (a gift from my mom) and most of the recipes are kosher-friendly.
There are also lots of kosher food blogs out there. Just do a google search (or ask me for some recommendations - I have lots). Of course that's not a gift idea, just a recommendation you might want to pass on to her.
Feel free to reach out with any questions! Good luck finding just the right thing.