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Once in awhile I like to review a cookbook. Coincidently, Joan Nathan, a cookbook author, is a member of my kayak group. The group is called the MV Kay-Yakkers because we yak as much as we paddle.

Joan fits right in, and her recent book called QUICHES, KUGELS, and COUSCOUS demonstrates her gift for gab as well as a wonderful combination of stories interlaced with innovative recipes. 

Joan is the author of numerous cookbooks, two of which won the James Beard Award and the IACP Award. She was the host of a nationally syndicated PBS television series and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and other publications.

This latest collection of recipes and stories is more than just couscous and kugel. It combines history, cooking tips, culture, and photography resulting in  a recipe for good reading.


What is Jewish cooking in France?

That is the question that has  haunted Joan Nathan over the years and driven her to unearth the secrets of this hidden cuisine.

Now she gives us the fruits of her quest in her latest extraordinary book, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, a treasure trove of delectable kosher recipes and the often moving stories behind them, interlaced with the tumultuous two-thousand-year history of the Jewish presence in France.

In her search, Nathan takes us into kitchens in Paris, Alsace,
and the Loire Valley; she visits the bustling Belleville market in
Little Tunis in Paris; she breaks bread around the observance of the
Sabbath and the celebration of special holidays.

All across France she finds that Jewish cooking is more alive than ever. Traditional dishes are honored, yet many have acquired a French finesse and reflect regional differences.

The influx of Jewish immigrants from North Africa following Algerian independence has brought exciting new flavors and techniques that have infiltrated contemporary French cooking, and the Sephardic influence is more pronounced throughout France today.

This book is for cooks and non cooks. Beautiful photographs, great recipes and lots of stories mixed together make this a fun read. (You don't have to be Jewish or like to cook either...)

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