The Book of Jewish Food

By Claudia Roden

Original Publisher
Knopf
Date of publication
1996
ISBN
0394532589

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Recommended by

Rachel de Thample

Head of Fantastic Food at Abel & Cole

Reaching the final book in my list of all-time favourite cookbooks has brought to light an unintended theme: all of the books I've chosen are much more than just a collection of recipes. They take you on a journey. They broaden your horizons, and some shine new light on old territories. Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish food does just this. She is one of the most thoughtful, insightful food writers. This book is the work of 15 years travelling the world, meeting people, talking, sharing, and discovering the vast complexity of Jewish cuisine and culture. It's one of the most lovingly tailored books I own. The collection of more than 800 recipes - many of them, never before documented - is interwoven with stories, reminiscences, history, jokes, childhood memories, travel adventures and more. The recipes are more than just something to cook, they're an invitation to share in a delicious culture.

Susan Low

Food writer

I’m a huge Claudia Roden fan. I love all of her books and I wavered between this one, The Food of Italy and The Food of Spain but finally the sheer scope and scholarship of The Book of Jewish Food book swung it for me. Roden’s knowledge is immense and her research is painstaking – but its her warmth and humanity that shine through. There’s inevitably a sense of melancholy, of loss, to this book but these are just the qualities that make it a brilliant read.

Allan Jenkins

Editor, Observer Food Monthly,

For me the best food writer alive, the last of the peerless three, with Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson. This is everything a cookbook should be, a conjuring of a culture through its history and cooking. Immaculately researched, wonderfully written, vigorously tested, a book to be read in bed but kept in the kitchen.

David Prior

Author

As much a masterwork of anthropology as it is of food writing. Roden's tracing of the Jewish diaspora via its recipes is an extraordinary work of scholarship that is never dry. An important work that will stand the test of time and should not only sit in every kitchen but in every library.

Gizzi Erskine

Chef and food writer

An undisputed classic. You will not find a more comprehensive book on food: a vast wealth of recipes collected over so many years and from so many people, but also a social history of the Jewish people as told through the food they eat and the traditions they share.

Marisa Leaf

Founder and co-CEO of Hubbub

A gift, this book is as much social history as it is recipe book. Packed full of the classic Jewish Ashkenazi recipes that remind me of my grandparents' cooking, and have delighted in discovering many less familiar Sephardi dishes too.

Jason Goodwin

Author and historian

As much a culinary history of the Jews as a cookbook, this adds up gradually to a journey through vanished times and the places you dream about. It is thorough and fascinating, like all Roden’s books.

Rachel McCormack

Writer and broadcaster

Encompasses the food and culture of an entire people. What they eat, why they eat it, how and when. The recipes work and her knowledge and research is unparalleled

Misti Traya

Food writer

This is a cookbook that tells a story as rich and vast and magical as the recipes it holds inside. The Gateau a l'orange and the borscht are among my favorites.

Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra

Food writer and author

Even superlatives fall short when describing Claudia Roden's work. This is simply a wonderful book that demands to be read and cooked from in equal measures.

Caroline Eden

Food and travel writer

The one and only Claudia Roden. This book is an absolute treasure trove and is encyclopaedic in its depth. I often read it over breakfast, and in bed.

Adrian Chiles

Broadcaster and Writer

Great writing, and every dish you cook from it seems to sizzle and smell with thousands of years of culinary and cultural endeavour.

Oliver Rowe

Chef

A ground-breaking book that opened up the cuisine of an international culture in a way that very few books can hope to achieve.

Eleanor Maidment

Food writer

A really interesting insight into the origins of Jewish cooking. Roden is a wonderful storyteller as well as recipe writer.

Patricia Michelson

Founder of La Fromagerie in London

Dispelling all the myths and bringing to life on the page a cuisine that is meant to share and enjoy with family

Felicity Spector

Chief writer Channel 4 News

A beautiful book, with all the classics, which tells the story of the Jewish people through cooking.

Nigella Lawson

Author, journalist, broadcaster and television personality

This book exemplifies the force of food writing as social history.

Francis Percival

Food Editor, The World of Fine Wine and co-founder and convenor of the London Gastronomy Seminars

Showcasing the recipe book as social history.

Jeremy Cherfas

Producer and host of Eat This Podcast

Can you tell, I like my cookbooks readable.

Rita Erlich

Food writer

Great research, fine recipes.

Zarela Martinez

chef/author/entrepreneur

I love her Sephardic recipes.

Jayne Cohen

Cookbook author and food journalist

Yotam Ottolenghi

Chef and author

Neale Whitaker

Editor in Chief for Vogue Living Australia and judge on The Block

Jamie Schler

Blogger, Life’s a Feast and Plated Stories

Miss South

Freelance writer and blogger

Helen Graves

Food and travel writer

Nick Lander

Food writer and restaurant consultant

Martin Boetz

Cooks Co-op

Xanthe Clay

Food writer and Daily Telegraph columnist

Cindy Pawlcyn

Founder/owner of Mustards Grill, and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen

Rachel Davies

Founder of Rachel's Kitchen

Sandor Ellix Katz

Fermentation revivalist

Anna Hansen

Founding Director, Modern Pantry

Bonnie Benwick

Deputy Food Editor, Washington Post

Lance Forman

Owner of the Forman businesses

Christine McFadden

Food writer, cookbook author and cookery teacher

Esther Walker

Journalist

Matthew Fort

Food writer and critic

Barbara-Jo McIntosh

Author and food professional

Georgia Freedman

Writer and food scholar