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Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in Franceby Joan Nathan
Synopses & Reviews
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:
• 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;
• soups such as cold sorrel or Moroccan Provençal Fish Soup with garlicky Rouille;
• salads include a Mediterranean Artichoke and Orange Salad with Saffron Mint and a Tunisian Winter Squash Salad with Coriander and Harissa;
• a variety of breads, quiches, and kugels—try a Brioche for Rosh Hashanah, a baconless quiche Lorraine, or a Sabbath kugel based on a centuries-old recipe;
• 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);
• an inviting array of grains, pulses, couscous, rice, and unusual vegetable dishes, from an eggplant gratin to a mélange of Chestnuts, Onions, and Prunes;
• for a grand finale, there are Parisian flans and tarts, a Frozen Soufflé 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.
"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 ProvenÃ§al 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 gÃ¢teau, braised endive, cassoulet. Nathan's multiÂlayered, narrative approach makes this treasury of tempting flavors an entertaining and compelling read. Photos. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
What is Jewish cooking in France? That is the question that has haunted Nathan over the years and driven her to unearth the secrets of this hidden cuisine. Now she offers the fruits of her quest in this extraordinary book.
What is Jewish cooking in France? In a journey that was a labor of love, Joan Nathan traveled the country to discover the answer and, along the way, unearthed a treasure trove of recipes and the often moving stories behind them.
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 with Jewish families 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 have acquired a certain French finesse. And completing the circle of influences: following Algerian independence, there has been a huge wave of Jewish immigrants from North Africa, whose stuffed brik and couscous, eggplant dishes and tagines—as well as their hot flavors and Sephardic elegance—have infiltrated contemporary French cooking.
All that Joan Nathan has tasted and absorbed is here in this extraordinary book, rich in a history that dates back 2,000 years and alive with the personal stories of Jewish people in France today.
About the Author
Joan Nathan is the author of numerous cookbooks, including Jewish Cooking in America and The New American Cooking, both of which won James Beard and IACP/Julia Child awards. She was the host of the nationally syndicated television series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on her book. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C.
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