Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews

Eat Something is a whimsical look at Jewish American food culture along with a number of collected recipes. Due out 3rd March from Chronicle Books, it's 240 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.

While this book does indeed contain recipes and cooking instructions, it is primarily (and charmingly) a running commentary on Jewishness, identity, food, and family. It is celebratory in a way, in that it emphasizes the things we have in common and our mutual humanity. There are a number of tongue in cheek comments about the prevalence of ordering way too much Chinese takeaway every Sunday night (my mixed family did that too), but they're said warmly and kindly. This book is humor filled, maybe trying a little too hard for some easy laughs, but there's not a mean-spirited word to be found. This is a comforting and friendly book, and I have no doubts whatever that I would enjoy sitting down to an overloaded brunch buffet with the authors.

The book has an interesting arrangement. The recipes are arranged around a fictitious lifetime: The Early Years (bris, Hanukkah, visiting the grandparents in Florida, sick days), Awkward Years (Mitzvah, Last Supper (before summer camp), Christmas Dinner, Sunday Chinese takeaway), Young Adult Years, Grownup, etc etc.

The recipes are arranged thematically around different lifetime milestones or holidays. The book includes both a recipe list with the table of contents and a cross referenced index at the back.

Recipe ingredients are listed in a bullet sidebar with both metric and American standard measures given (yay!). Info and tips about the ingredients or the recipes themselves are given in sidebars below the preparation information. Yields are stated in the header info. Nutritional information and special diet concerns/allergens (nuts, celery, wheat, etc) are not given.

These are yummy and (mostly) made from easily sourced ingredients.

I am very much a visual learner and one of my concerns with several cookbooks I've reviewed recently has been the lack of photography and serving suggestions. I know that photography can increase the cost of a published book significantly but it enhances the end result so much that in my case at least, it's a necessary part of any cookbook which I buy and use. This book is somewhere in the middle. There aren't many photos, but the ones which are included are clear and appealing.

Four stars. This is a good niche cookbook with a wide variety of goodies included.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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