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A Taste of Nostalgia

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A Taste of Nostalgia

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A Taste of Nostalgia
Tales and Recipes to Nourish Body and Soul
By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski and Judi Dick
Artscroll/Shaar Press - Mesorah Publications, New York: 2006
ISBN: 978-1-4226-0105-6

Reviewed by Simon Bonim - November 19, 2007

A Taste of Nostalgia is much more than a cookbook. While it does contain more than 150 mouth-watering traditional Jewish recipes, it also contains a wealth of soul-nourishing stories, parables, and legends that will fortify your soul just as surely as the wonderful recipes in this collection will fortify your body. The recipes in this collection were collected by Judy Dick. Many of the recipes are ones that she created herself or modified from the recipes learned from her mother. Others were given to her by friends and other family members. She has prepared all of the dishes in this collection, and all have been adapted for the modern kitchen (appliance wise, the ingredients have remained the same), so you can be sure that you will be able to recreate each dish successfully. The stories that accompany these recipes were written by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski and they recount numerous stories from the alte heim (old country). They run the gamut from parables to historical events. They all however, have a common theme: showing how Jews have, throughout time, sanctified HaShem's name through food.

The book is organized around the pivotal events in the Jewish year, namely Shabbos, Shalosh Seudos, Melaveh Malkah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succos, Hoshanan Rabbah, Shemini Atzeres / Simchas Torah, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, Shabbos Shirah, Tu B'Shevat, Purim, Pesach, and Shavous. Each section begins with a collection of stories related to the event. These stories are followed by the associated recipes. Each recipe includes a brief introduction that details something about its creation, place in the Jewish culinary tradition, and tips that will help you create the dish. In addition, Dick's instructions on preparing each dish are concise and easy to follow, and all the ingredients used are readily available in most areas.

While the recipes and stories are organized primarily by holiday, they can be used and read the year-round, except for Pesach when you need to take care to only prepare dishes that are kosher. This wonderful book is further enhanced by the inclusion of vintage photographs that depict life, and food, in pre-war Eastern Europe.

If you've been looking for a recipe that your mother or grandmother used to make, or if you just want to explore the culinary experiences of a past generation, check out A Taste of Nostalgia. The recipes are wonderfully accurate, taste wise, and they are easy to prepare. Some of the incredible dishes that you'll find in this collection include: As a cookbook alone, A Taste of Nostalgia belongs in every Jewish kitchen. However, it also deserves a place on every bookshelf. Almost all of the stories in this volume involve food in some manner - either culturally, ritually, or in its preparation. In addition all the stories are relatively short, and as such are ideal for retelling at the dinner table, for reading for pleasure or inspiration, as well as for reading aloud to pre-readers.

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