yUM yum!Below is a book review I got my sister Tanya to write about a cook book called Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family. My sister was brought up on our Mom Bracha’s awesome cooking. Furthermore, Tanya is now married to an ashkenazic man who no doubt makes her cook ashkenazic food classics like, I don’t know, noodles with ketchup sauce, or soup bravely spiced with uh… salt, or geffilte fish or whatever it is y’all eat. So I figured she’d be well placed to review the book because it has both classic ashkenazic recipes as well as some sephardic and international recipes. And I don’t eat meat. And I actually don’t have an oven. And in the past 2 months I haven’t spent more than a week in my own home. And I suck. OK? Happy now? Anyhow, take it away Sis:

I am a foodie. I love eating and I love cooking. Even more so, I love cookbooks and my favorite are ones that have pictures for every recipe. Looking at the finished product gives me a glimmer of hope maybe I too can reproduce culinary masterpieces that may or may not have taken food stylists hours to create. Ok, so usually I don’t get anywhere close in the visual aspect, but the finished product always tastes damn good. So when Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family landed in my kitchen, I was quite skeptical. At first glance, I was not into it…no food pics, no glossy pages, and 656 pages of text. And who are the Rabinowitz’s ?

I decided to give it a shot. After all, as a Jewess of Moroccan descent married to a super Ashkenazi, I felt it was time for me to delve into the realm of kugels, gefilte, cholent and borscht (blech!). I started flipping through the pages and was soon drawn to the recipes, anecdotes, quotes and photographs of a family obviously food-obsessed and proud of it. Cooking Jewish is a fantastic collection of five generations worth of recipe testing and tasting. With every recipe, I learnt more about the Rabinowitz family as every recipe is preceded by an explanation of the recipe’s origin, the original cook and what makes it all so special. Author and Rabinowitz family member Judy Bart Kancigor writes with humor and wit – which almost makes it hard to get started in the kitchen.

But I did, and was impressed with the uncomplicated ingredient lists for most recipes and the simple directions given for making a great dish. My first attempt was a Crispy Sesame Seed Chicken, which came out juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside – perfect for my half vousvous / half couscous children. And believe it or not, I found a great recipe inside for Moroccan Fish with Chickpeas that came quite close to being as good as my mother’s. And she is a killer in the kitchen.

Next I think I’ll try Grandma Ruchel’s Cholent, whose yield feeds “an army”…but I am so not ready for her Pitcha (Calves’ Foot Jelly) that “serves one shtetl family, with or without boarders”. I also love the variety of cooking styles in the book, not typical to most Jewish cookbooks. In Kancigor’s collection you’ll find recipes for Cajun, Indian, Italian, Greek and more. There’s even a complete assortment of Passover recipes. The book ends on a high with a section on drinks, including Hinda Rabinowitz’s Guggel-Muggel, a concoction deemed a wonder drug made of whole milk, raw egg, honey and scotch. Mmmm…now that beats goyishe eggnog any day!

Tanya is ck’s sister, wife of Natan, mother of Noam and Eyal and co-founder of TickleTickle.com, an online shop offering all manner of hip baby clothing, supplies and accessories.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Meestah Man, luv your intro. And when you finally figure out if you can receive parcels or if you are in my vicinity one of these days, you’ll at least get enough cookies to last you through hibernation.

    Tanya, great writing. Would gladly read more by you.

  • You know, next time I have you over for a meal I am going to feed you noodles with ketchup and soup bravely seasoned with salt.

    Great review–must find that cookbook!

    Gila, the slightly miffed Ashkenazia….

  • What’s the significance of 532? They couldn’t get another 81 together and have a number of real significance?

  • Brother, it’s Natan. Dude!

    Truthfully, Gila, I like Ashkenazi cooking, and even gefilte to my brother’s horror. It just makes me crazy when my boy asks for plain noodles. Uh-uh, no way…and no noodles with ketchup in THIS house, baby!

    Oh, and my husband hates matzoh balls. How un-Ashkenazi is that?

  • That’s cuz Mom makes good matza balls. Hey Tiff! Remember the last time she made latkes? The secret ingredient? Mom makes ashkenazic food better than ashkenazim. Whatever, we are all God’s children and everyone is lovely.