For the past 10 years, following a strictly kosher and mostly vegetarian diet has provided me with more than enough rules about what I can and cannot eat. While I have been aware of nutritional trends and health news, I was hesitant about jumping into the gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, blessed by unicorns and produced with fairy dust “food movements”. I like to eat. And I think that Michael Pollan’s advice to”eat food, not too much, mostly greens” sums everything up nearly perfectly. But when I discovered Simon Miller and Jennifer Robins’ “The New Yiddish Kitchen – Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day” I was intrigued. Could there really be recipes for kreplach, bagels, rugelach, and jelly donuts that would be kosher, delicious, and not leave me in a sugar coma?
The answer, is an unqualified yes. Every single recipe I have tried from this book has been a definite keeper. The dishes appeal to all five senses, and don’t leave anyone out from being able to celebrate a holiday with traditional Eastern European Jewish staples. The Yiddish glossary and holiday menus add some extra zing and may be helpful to novice cooks.With extensive information about potential allergens, substitutions, and Bubbe’s tips, Miller and Robins cookbook is user-friendly and fun to read while browsing the recipes.
“The New Yiddish Kitchen” is more accurately a Jewish cultural cookbook than a kosher cookbook. Although all the included recipes are technically kosher, the laws of kashrut are mentioned only in passing. Interestingly, the authors point out that the matzah recipe can’t be used during the seder, but don’t include a similar warning that the challah can’t be used for hamotzi either. Finding some of the specialty ingredients (cassava flour, palm shortening…) required some detective work, and I will also confess that I was so relieved to find psyllium husk powder at my local health food store that I forgot to look for a hechsher until I brought it home (amazingly enough, it was right there).
“The New Yiddish Kitchen” is a great addition to the kosher cookbook library. While it may not be an instant classic, it is an entertaining and approachable way to delve into the world of gluten-free, paleo Jewish cooking. And isn’t it just cool that such a thing as “gluten-free, paleo Jewish cooking” even exists?!