Shalom Life | July 25, 2014

Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous...Oh My!

Love Jewish cooking but tired of the same old recipes? This Parisian-Jewish cookbook will leave you satisfied and full.

By: Lisa Goldman

Published: April 6th, 2011 in Culture » Books » Reviews

Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous...Oh My!

I'd love to tell you I'm a foodie and a fabulous cook, but I'd be lying. While I can generally hold my own in the kitchen (anyone feel like a grilled cheese or French toast?) and I have quite the collection of cookbooks, the vast majority of them just aren't helpful to novice cooks. And when it comes to cooking Jewish meals and trying Jewish recipes, I can recreate my Bubby's Passover apple cake and my mom's sweet kugel, but that's about it.

So I was pretty excited when I recently stumbled upon Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. (What? They make kugel in France? Who knew?) You'd think I -- an admittedly novice cook -- would be intimidated by a 388-page cookbook that explores Jewish cooking and traditions in Paris, Alsace and Loire Valley, but I was pleasantly surprised. Nathan offers 200 recipes that will add a Parisian twist to recipes you've made (or wanted to try) for years -- from simple soups like Spring Chicken Broth to an easy-to-follow Friday Night Bread recipe to Passover Chocolate Truffles (which, by the way, I'll definitely be making next week).

But the book is more than a whack of yummy recipes. Nathan describes her fascinating "gastronomic journey" to France by sharing her exploration of how Jews in the country observe the Sabbath and celebrate the high holidays. Plus, there are dozens of photos and stories about the people she encountered, cook with and dined with.

Tip: Invited to a seder this year? Any hostess would love a copy of this delicious book. Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan. Alfred A. Knopf/Random House of Canada Limited. $46.

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