Cookbooks: An Addendum

November 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

On Shabbat, my friend Ev showed me Hip Kosher by Ronnie Fein (2008). Subtitled “175 Easy to Prepare Recipes for Today’s Kosher Cooks” and sporting a cover photograph with an almost Asian feel, it struck me that this is a contemporary version of my old Not Chopped Liver! cookbook.

Telling us that “you don’t have to be Jewish to eat or cook kosher food,” the author points out that kosher ingredients and kosher prepared foods are easier to find in American grocery stores than ever before. Most kosher families nowadays cook and eat (almost) the same foods that are available to all Americans. To illustrate the point, Fein tells us, “My grandson Zev and the other children in his preschool class were asked to bring in a dish that reflected their ethnic backgrounds. Zev picked challah, but only after finding out that the two other Jewish children in the class had already decided to bring his first choices: chicken nuggets and apple pie.” That incident reinforces what we are hearing from others during our research for the Chosen Food exhibit: the repertoire of foods that Jews consider to be typically “Jewish” has been undergoing change, especially among the children and grandchildren of baby boomers.

Although recipes similar to the ones in this book can be found in non-kosher cookbooks I already have on my shelf, it inspires me to update my list of regular dishes, which has become decidedly routine. Lamb Oreganata, looks tasty and easy, Broiled Salmon with Pineapple-Mango Salsa sounds tempting, and Stir-fried Brown Rice with Turkey and Mushrooms (made with curry powder, for some reason) could be interesting.

Here’s the Pineapple-Mango Salsa (the fish is simply brushed with olive oil, salted and peppered, and broiled or grilled. Fein provides a helpful footnote on the various kinds of salmon available for purchase.):

2 cups diced fresh pineapple

1 cup chopped mango

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 TBS minced fresh mint

2 tsp minced fresh ginger

½-1 tsp minced fresh chile pepper such as serrano

2 TBS lime juice

1 TBS honey

Salt to taste

 

Place the pineapple, mango, red onion, mint, ginger, and chile pepper in a bowl and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the lime juice and honey and mix well. Sprinkle with salt. Let rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve with broiled or grilled salmon.

Let us know how it comes out for you. But more important, how does the Hip Kosher approach compare to the way you usually cook? Does Fein’s contemporary approach to kosher cooking surprise you? Or have you long been finding interesting recipes here and there and “kosherizing” them? On a regular, day-to-day basis, what is the dish you cook most often?

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