Joy of Kosher Cookbook Review & Giveaway

November 26, 2013

I got to know Jamie Geller over tea the other day. Not in person, but through the words and stories she shares in her new cookbook. The Joy of Kosher is a beautiful compilation of recipes, some updated classics and other new concoctions. It reads a little like a blog, with anecdotes dispersed throughout. A nice touch, I thought.

To me, a few things make up a worthwhile coobook: beautiful photographs, easy, innovative recipes that do not require packaged, processed ingredients, and categorizing the recipe in a practical, organized way.

Ok, let's start with my favorite part: the pictures! The photography is beautiful; polished and tasteful. The dishes look succulent. Each recipe has a picture, which to me is important since that's how I determine whether I'll try a recipe. I especially love the lifestyle photographs showing glimpses into Jamie's blessedly busy life as a harried mother of 5 adorable little ones, whom you get to meet. The pictures liven up the book and keep you turning page after page.

Now about the actual recipes. They are a mix of updated classics (think Scallion Cornbread, Deep Dish Kugel or Caviar topped Latkes) as well as some more interesting ones like Sesame Chicken Sushi or Blue Cheese, Pear & Arugula Pizza as well as Blackened Tilapia Tacos. Most of the recipes rely on fresh ingredients, and a few will use simple store-bought ingredients like the pizza rounds for her lachmagine. Oh, speaking of lachmagine (Syrian meat pizzas such as these), I love the diverse cultural influences throughout the recipes. She has many Israeli/Sephardi dishes (I bookmarked the falafel and schug) which means I'll have a fair share of things to cook from here (sorry I just can't do gefilte fish, I tried). Of course, there is the typical American and Asian stuff (the Soba Noodles with Tofu looks amazing).

I think the best feature in the book is that the recipes are given multiple versions and variations; ways you can dress them up or down. Don't feel like roasting the chicken? You'll get steps to make it in your slow-cooker. If you made a big batch of challah dough, you'll find more than a handful of suggestions to dress it up in different flavors. It makes the book that much more practical and user-friendly.

The book is also well organized. The recipes are divided in 5 categories: soups and starters, sides and salads, mains, desserts, and challah. The begining of each chapter has a summary of all the upcoming recipes within that section divided into meat, parve and dairy. This is a handy feature when you need to look up a recipe quickly.
Also, each recipe has approximate cook time and yield amount. The steps are numbered and the fonts and colors are just right (important when you're cooking and reading). The book is also a good size, making it a comfortable companion in the kitchen.

Now that I gave you a pragmatic overview of the book, I want to talk about what makes it extra special: the stories. Jamie made this book personal and memorable, you'll giggle your way through the pages with her characteristic humor. Her conversational tone makes you feel like your reading stories from your best friend. Even more, Jamie weaves in spiritual nuggets of information on Jewish life; from the significance of challah (love the shalom bayis challah recipe) to the beauty of keeping kosher. To me, food and spirituality are interconnected, and there is nothing more beautiful than true Jewish hospitality, especially using Jamie's fabulous recipes.

"What's important is that food brings us together, and we all want to share our best, most delectable meals with the people we love. And when it's kosher, we're also pulling in thousands of years of love and tradition" (Jamie Geller, p.6)

What can I say? It's really fabulous. I see the love and work Jamie put into. I'm happy it's part of my collection. I look forward to cooking with it and nurturing those around me with meals from its pages.

I even get to give one away! Yep, just in time for Chanukah.

So let's get this giveaway going.


1. Leave a comment, say anything you'd like. What are you cooking for Chanuka?

2. Follow the kosher spoon by subscribing to the email list here and/or to the RSS feed here

3. Follow the kosher spoon on instagram

4. Share the giveaway with friends, and leave a comment letting me know. (Through any and all social medias you use)

Do one or all. Remember to leave a separate comment for every entry.

The winner is: molly pitcher! Congrats!

*disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book. All opinions are really, seriously, truthfully my own.


  1. I e-mailed my mom and told her to enter. I also posted on facebook,

  2. I tweeted:

  3. Hello Sina
    As u know I don't know my way around the computer as I should. I am subscribing to u right here.
    And of course u know I follow u and admire all ur wonderful art in the kitchen. Now I actually have to taste your food:) love liraz

  4. The stories are great in the cookbook. Makes it personal :)

  5. I follow you too and already have this wonderful book. Personal and filled with terrific recipes. Cooked a goose for Chanuka. The remaining days are dairy days for me.

  6. I already follow you! This is a great book, I have a copy and enjoy the personal stories and the recipes look superb.

  7. you can never go wrong at Chanukah with classic latkes with applesauce or sour cream!

  8. also subscribed by email

  9. What is that green tea in the background, it is so green. Awesome pictures by the way.

  10. Best of luck to all who enter! Sina, love the photo!


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