Sephardi: Cooking the History. Recipes of the Jews of Spain and the Diaspora, from the 13th Century to Today

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Here’s one for the imagination: candied eggplant with sugar and cinnamon sticks! Helene Jawhara Piner’s book heralds a joyful return to adventurous recipes, an escape from online and microwave meals.

Sephardi: Cooking the History embraces the story of Sephardi Jews who escaped the Inquisition at the end of the 15th century. Many feigned conversion from their faith while secretly retaining customs including their traditional food for everyday and celebrations.

Jewish families and Converso descendants alike enjoy the same dishes now, living as far away as the US, South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The gorgeously illustrated book, accompanied by uncomplicated instructions, offers dishes with spices and herbs, some similar to those in Middle Eastern cooking. Several of the author’s personal recipes are drawn from historical sources adapted from her academic research.

Rather than relying solely on the ingredients already ‘on your pantry shelf,’ she includes exotic items like zatar, semolina, and cassava blending them into intriguing dishes. Enjoyed through generations, are they tempting, and never extravagant. Chard stew with chickpeas, a 13th-century recipe for challah, the Sabbath bread, Maimonides chicken soup, and fried ‘diamonds’ with dates and walnuts hint at the variety, the fragrance seeping from the pages!

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Star Count 5/5
Page Count 200 pages
Publisher Cherry Orchard Books
Publish Date 15-Jun-2021
ISBN 9781644695319 Buy this Book
Issue September 2021
Category Cooking, Food & Wine