Kenden Alfond’s The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook.
Kenden Alfond says her organisation, Jewish Food Hero, is inclusive of all religions and cultures, but highlights Jewish traditions in particular. Following that model, The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook is aimed at those Jews who love their traditional foods, but the 50 excellent plant-based recipes it presents are suitable for vegans of any persuasion and many recipes have broader appeal.
The bonus for Jewish traditionalists is that the recipes are presented as ten complete meal plans, or should one say holiday feast plans. Each plan is complete from appetiser to dessert, or from pre-fasting to post-fasting, and comes with a useful shopping list. For those looking for a particular type of dish there is a good index, making it easy to look things up by ingredient or type.
Each recipe comes with a list of the kitchen utensils required, a list of ingredients and detailed yet easy-to-follow instructions. In every case there is an excellent photograph of the completed dish. Each of the ten plans have at least one dish suitable for children to prepare, albeit with adult supervision. On the downside for Australians, temperatures are only given in Fahrenheit. As this is an American book some of the ingredients need translation. For example, Alfond refers to ‘cilantro’ which is the American name for coriander.
This is a cookbook for the enthusiast. While the recipes are easy to follow, Alfond assumes the cook has the time and the energy to do what is required regardless of how long it takes. This is not a book for those that want to rustle up a quick meal at the end of a busy day.
Professional cookbook reviewers test some of the recipes. In one case, the Deputy Food Editor of the Washington Post said she ‘cooked or supervised the testing of 20 … recipes, far more than for the average cookbook review.’ As an amateur cook, this reviewer is not qualified to be a recipe tester. However, I can confirm the deliciousness of the ‘Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dressing’ on page 110 and the ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ on page 122.
There are many reasons why new cookbooks remain popular. Eating in the company of others gives food, and its preparation, great importance in our lives. Cookbooks remain popular in spite of the untold number of recipes available on the internet. While most people who enjoy cooking probably own quite a few cookbooks, they are often a present of last resort in spite of being expensive. But above all, a good cookbook is one that has something special to offer, something that is not otherwise readily available. That is the case with The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook, which provides unique healthy menu plans for the ten annual Jewish holidays as well as some novel and tasteful approaches to plant-based food preparation.
4 stars ★★★★
The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook
By Kenden Alfond
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Jewish Lights (March 12, 2019)