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.
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.