What is Jewish cooking in France?
That is the question that has haunted Joan Nathan over the years and driven her to unearth the secrets of this hidden cuisine. Now she gives us the fruits of her quest in this extraordinary book, a treasure trove of delectable kosher recipes and the often moving stories behind them, interlaced with the tumultuous two-thousand-year history of the Jewish presence in France.
In her search, Nathan takes us into kitchens in Paris, Alsace, and the Loire Valley; she visits the bustling Belleville market in Little Tunis in Paris; she breaks bread around the observation of the Sabbath and the celebration of special holidays. All across France she finds that Jewish cooking is more alive than ever. Traditional dishes are honored, yet many have acquired a French finesse and reflect regional differences. The influx of Jewish immigrants from North Africa following Algerian independence has brought exciting new flavors and techniques that have infiltrated contemporary French cooking, and the Sephardic influence is more pronounced throughout France today.
Now, with Joan Nathan guiding us, carefully translating her discoveries to our own home kitchens, we can enjoy:
â€¢ appetizers such as the rich subtle delight of a Terrine de Poireaux from Alsace or a brik, that flaky little pastry from North Africa, folded over a filling of tuna and cilantro;
â€¢ soups such as cold sorrel or Moroccan ProvenÃ§al Fish Soup with garlicky Rouille;
â€¢ salads include a Mediterranean Artichoke and Orange Salad with Saffron Mint and a Tunisian Winter Squash Salad with Coriander and Harissa;
â€¢ a variety of breads, quiches, and kugelsâ€”try a Brioche for Rosh Hashanah, a baconless quiche Lorraine, or a Sabbath kugel based on a centuries-old recipe;
â€¢ main courses of Choucroute de Poisson; a tagine with chicken and quince; Brisket with Ginger, Orange Peel, and Tomato; Southwestern Cassoulet with Duck and Lamb; Tongue with Capers and Cornichons; and Almondeguilles (Algerian meatballs);
â€¢ an inviting array of grains, pulses, couscous, rice, and unusual vegetable dishes, from an eggplant gratin to a mÃ©lange of Chestnuts, Onions, and Prunes;
â€¢ for a grand finale, there are Parisian flans and tarts, a Frozen SoufflÃ© Rothschild, and a Hanukkah Apple Cake, as well as many other irresistible pastries and cookies.
These are but some of the treasures that Joan Nathan gives us in this unique collection of recipes and their stories. In weaving them together, she has created a book that is a testament to the Jewish people, who, despite waves of persecution, are an integral part of France today, contributing to the glory of its cuisine.
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Knopf (October 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307267598
- ISBN-13: 978-0307267597
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
Alice Waters Reviews Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous
Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and proprietor of Chez Panisse, her restaurant in Berkeley, California. For four decades, Waters has been a champion of local, organic, and sustainable food. She founded the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1995, which works to promote Edible Schoolyards around the country that integrate growing and cooking fresh, delicious food into school curricula. In addition, Waters is a vice president of Slow Food International, an organization dedicated to preserving the world’s local and artisan food traditions. She is also the author of several cookbooks, including the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, and In the Green Kitchen. Read her review of Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous:
In her latest collection of recipes, Joan Nathan shows that she is an anthropologist of the first order as she explores the point of intersection between French and Jewish food traditions and chronicles how it has come to form a culture all its own.I have come to expect nothing less than the most thoughtfully researched and recorded recipes from Joan, and this latest book will help to redefine the world of Jewish cuisine for many home cooks, myself included. As much as this book shows Joan’s care in communicating recipes, it is also a testament to her skill as a scholar of the world’s food traditions. Joan is a remarkable curator of recipes, selecting dishes that are not only delicious, but that communicate the history of this unique cuisine.
In a time when so many of the world’s food cultures are threatening to disappear, we need more books like Joan’s--books that teach us about the local food traditions and local ingredients that have been sustaining us for generations. If we don’t record these traditions, they will surely be forgotten. Through this book, Joan has found a way not only to make these French-Jewish dishes approachable, but also to preserve them for today’s cooks and for cooks of future generations.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This well-researched, fascinating cookbook encapsulates 2,000 years of Jewish history in France. Nathan, the James Beard Award–winning doyenne of Jewish cooking (Jewish Cooking in America), applies her culinary detective skills to sniffing out the Jewish influence on French cuisine, and vice versa. Her rich subject matter yields both vast diversity and unexpected commonalities. Friday night Sabbath dinners alone can range from the Alsatian pot-au-feu to Moroccan adafina (meat stew with chickpeas and rice). The Germanic Alsatian specialties like potato kugel will be familiar to many Jewish Americans, while the North African dishes like brik with tuna and cilantro and m'soki (a Passover spring vegetable ragout originating in Tunisia) reflect Sephardic customs. Nathan also explores cross-cultural concoctions such as Provençal brassados (a precursor to the bagel), brandade potato latkes, and a Bordeaux haroset by way of Portugal, all of which embody both the complicated migratory paths and acculturation of the Jewish people. This being France, though, there are lovely renditions of native dishes, too--chestnut cream g;teau, braised endive, cassoulet. Nathan's multilayered, narrative approach makes this treasury of tempting flavors an entertaining and compelling read. Photos. (Nov.) (c) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Average Customer Review (19 customer reviews)
Quiches, Kugels and Couscous, By Kate Runyan 'katethecook'
November 16, 2010
This is another excellent book by Joan Nathan, and really worth owning! We've enjoyed several Algerian and Moroccan salads and vegetable dishes, and I intend to try many more dishes. The book covers way more than couscous and kugel, and it's really something special and worth having.
we're only in it for the marrow, By gopigirl
January 28, 2011
Riding in the car, heard an interview on the radio, in which Joan Nathan talked about having matah balls made with bone marrow, and I pulled over and ordered the book even though I didn't know if the recipe was in it! It's an interesting cookbook, but more valuable to me as a history book. The intersection of North African, Jewish and French culture is well explored in the text and is a great read. The recipes are pretty well dispersed, one supposes a fairly accurate array of what French Jews cook at home - but this is maybe a little different than French/Jewish cuisine? A lot of the recipes are easily found in other sources, and don't require any adaptation to make them kosher, or are not too far afield from what could be found, or inspired by, in a good vegetarian cookbook - like quiche without lardons, celeriac remoulade, or Roquefort souffle. The North African recipes are the most interesting, but so far the versions I've tried from this book are less lively...
Great stories and wonderfujl recipes, By T. M. Lewin
November 24, 2010
Joan Nathan tells great stories and ties them into her wonderful-sounding recipes. I'm looking forward to tying them very soon. In the meantime, they seem to be accurately presented and with sufficiently specific directions to make them easy to prepare. But be sure you're strong enough to hold the book -- it's heavy -- and its printed on very heavy and substantial paper! Lots of great history!