A Culinary Journey
by Janna Gur
photography by Eilon Paz
In this stunning work that is both a coffee-table book to browse and a complete cookbook, Janna Gur brings us the sumptuous color, variety, and history of today’s Israeli cuisine. It is beautifully illustrated by Eilon Paz, a photographer who is intimate with the local scene.
In Gur’s captivating introduction, she describes Israeli food as a product of diverse cultures: the Jews of the diaspora, settling in a homeland that was new to them, brought their far-flung cuisines to the table even as they looked to their Arab neighbors for additional ingredients and ideas. The delicious, easy-to-follow recipes represent all of these influences, and include some creative interpretations of classics by celebrated Israeli chefs: Beetroot and Pomegranate Salad, Fish Falafel in Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise, Homemade Shawarma, Chreime–North African Hot Fish Stew, Roasted Chicken Drumsticks in Carob Syrup. With favorite recipes for the Sabbath (Sweet Challah Traditional Chopped Liver, Chocolate and Halva Coffeecake) and for holidays (Balkan Potato and Leek Pancakes, Flourless Chocolate and Pistachio Cake), this book offers a unique culinary experience for every occasion. All of this is enriched by Paz’s vibrantly colored photographs and by short narratives about significant aspects of Israel’s diverse cuisine-- such as the generous and unique Israeli breakfast (which grew out of the needs of Kibbutz life), locally produced cheeses that now rival those of Europe, and a dramatic renaissance of wine culture in this ancient land.
“In less than thirty years,” Janna Gur writes, “Israeli society has graduated… to a true gastronomic haven.” Here, she gives us a book that does delectable justice to the significance of Israeli food today–Mediterranean at its heart, richly spiced, and imbued with cross-cultural flavors.