Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous (eBook)
What is Jewish cooking in France? In a journey that was a labor of love, Joan Nathan traveled the country to discover the answer and, along the way, unearthed a treasure trove of recipes and the often moving stories behind them.
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 with Jewish families around the observation 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 have acquired a certain French finesse. And completing the circle of influences: following Algerian independence, there has been a huge wave of Jewish immigrants from North Africa, whose stuffed brik and couscous, eggplant dishes and tagines—as well as their hot flavors and Sephardic elegance—have infiltrated contemporary French cooking.
All that Joan Nathan has tasted and absorbed is here in this extraordinary book, rich in a history that dates back 2,000 years and alive with the personal stories of Jewish people in France today.
About the Author
Joan Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in French literature and earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. For three years she lived in Israel, where she worked for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. In 1974, working for Mayor Abraham Beame in New York, she cofounded the Ninth Avenue Food Festival. Ms. Nathan is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and other publications. She is the author of numerous books including Jewish Cooking in America and The New American Cooking, both of which won the James Beard Award and the IACP Award. She was the host of the nationally syndicated PBS television series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on the book. The mother of three grown children, Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C., and on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Allan Gerson.
Praise for Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous…
“If the very act of cooking connotes love, then the combination of recipes with stories is an open
acknowledgment of the emotional bonds that food creates. As is her wont, TV host and award-winning cookbook author Nathan (Jewish Cooking in America, 1994, plus eight others) not only plunges into her collection of 200 recipes but also narrates, factually and with no small sentiment, the history of Jews in France. First, it’s a highly personal mission, prompted by her stay as a teenager in France in the 1950s. It’s also a motley narrative, filled with stories of persecution as well as joy, documented with personal accounts of the Holocaust and memories of kosher cooking (i.e., adhering to Jewish dietary laws). Food items represent the influence of Alsatian, Provençal, Moroccan-Tunisian, Algerian, and Eastern European cuisines—a well-functioning melting pot that yields brik (a North African turnover), borscht (the French equivalent of this Russian beet soup), Alsatian pear kugel (noodle casserole) with prunes, and cholent, a Sabbath beef stew. Just as compelling are the people who populate these pages: Ariel, a Jewish policeman in Auch, France, who craves a kosher version of lasagna; the Baroness de Rothschild; Daniel Rose, a young American chef in Paris whose 16-seat Spring restaurant is garnering raves. Historical and recipe photographs plus illustrations round out this very memorable collection. Appended are a sampling of French Jewish menus, a glossary of terms and ingredients, a source guide, and a bibliography.”
—Barbara Jacobs, Booklist (starred review)
"An absorbing exploration of French Jewish food by one of America's foremost culinary historian-journalists, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous presents a rich array of dishes, each of them supported by material which explains their place in local culture and the ways they have been influenced by French cuisine (and sometimes vice versa). From Parisian gefilte fish and Rosh Hashanah chicken with cinnamon and apples from Metz, to Alsatian pot-au-feu and Italian- and Tunisian-derived spaghetti with bottarga, preserved lemon, and harissa, this is French food and Jewish food from a wonderful perspective."
—Kitchen Arts & Letters