Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen

Joyce Goldstein

Published by Chronicle Books, 1998
ISBN 10: 0811819698 / ISBN 13: 9780811819695
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Synopsis: For over 5,000 years, Jewish families have lived in Italy. The cuisine that developed in their households is a remarkable melange of kosher traditions and the distinctive flavors of Italy, the Middle East, and Spain. For the first time, this wonderfully rich, little-known culinary heritage is given the attention it has long deserved. With Cucina Ebraica, celebrated chef Joyce Goldstein offers a substantive collection of superb (and completely kosher) Italian Jewish dishes, as well as a compelling and important culinary history. Exploring the ancient intertwining of two venerable food traditions, we discover that many Italian dishes have Jewish roots. Familiar and yet entirely new, this is a robust and delicious new side of a beloved region's cuisine. Filled with painterly photographs that evoke the richness of the Italian Jewish heritage, Cucina Ebraica is a mouthwatering collection of distinguished recipes, a reference on an extraordinary tradition, and an invitation to unexpected joys and secrets about both Italian and Jewish cookery.

Review: Jews have lived in Italy since Roman times, always part of the cultural landscape, always living in isolation of one kind or another. The word we know as ghetto comes to us from 16th-century Venice. Within the world of Jews in Italy, there are several smaller worlds: those of the native Italian Jews, of the Sephardim driven out of Spain, and of the Ashkenazim moving down from Germany and Eastern Europe. Take all those food traditions and dietary laws, squeeze them in one overarching food sensibility, and you have a very unusual way to view culture and history. Joyce Goldstein, in Cucina Ebraica, demonstrates that culture and history are edible, if not downright delicious.

Take Livornese Couscous with Meatballs, White Beans, and Greens. Couscous came to Livorno with North African Jews in the 1270s. It was a Friday-night meal, and the leftovers were served cold the next day on the Sabbath. Goldstein gives the first honest recipe for Carciofi alla Giudia (crispy fried artichokes in the Roman Jewish style) yet printed. Not all artichokes are alike, she demonstrates, and then shows you a way around the problems no one else ever manages to address to successfully cook this classic.

As she has proved in The Mediterranean Kitchen and Kitchen Conversations, Joyce Goldstein knows how to bring great food to the home kitchen. Her research is impeccable, her technique straightforward. Cucina Ebraica, this wonderful way of looking at an Italian cuisine that must answer to so many other influences, is an obvious project of love and devotion. Not to be missed. --Schuyler Ingle

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Title: Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian ...
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Collectible-VeryGood

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