The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews


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Original Publisher
Dodd Mead
Date of publication

Recommended by

Fred Plotkin

Authority on Italian food and opera

This book is one of the earliest examples of a recipe collection that also serves as a history book and a memoir. Machlin lived in Pitigliano, a hamlet tucked into southeasternmost Tuscany that had a Jewish population dating back nearly 2,000 years. Most of the residents were rounded up under Fascism and died at the hands of the Nazis. Italian Jewish cuisine is distinct in that it respects the dietary laws of the Jewish religion but uses ingredients and cooking methods anchored solidly in Italian tradition. Machlin explains all of this in a clear and patient way and has produced recipes that are easy to prepare and are delicious—in no way does on feel that they are compromised adaptations meant to conform to religious dictates. Everyone, of every faith, can delight in this food and help keep alive a culture that totalitarianism tried to exterminate.