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The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey    by Janna Gur order for
Book of New Israeli Food
by Janna Gur
Order:  USA  Can
Schocken, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What a beautiful publication is The Book of New Israeli Food, filled with luscious recipes accompanied by lifelike photographs of the dishes in glowing colors. Along with all this is a photographic collection of Israeli scenes that will knock your socks off. Add short history lessons of the origins of the foods and you have the cookbook of the year.

We're told that 'Though Israel is a young nation, its culinary history dates back thousands of years' and that this new book 'chronicles the growth and refinement of Israeli cuisine.' The New Book of Israeli Food includes soups and salads, grilled and savory meals, and desserts. Special sections are devoted to perfect Shabbat meals and Jewish holidays. Of course, Jewish cooking has adapted foods and flavors of the Mediterranean and made them their own. How could they not? Author Janna Gur 'provides us with a look at this uniquely new, fresh, and yet still traditional cooking.'

Open randomly to any page and I defy you to avoid perusing the recipe, drooling at the photos and rushing to the market to buy ingredients. There's the Israeli Breakfast a huge slice of toasted bread serves as a plate for an omelet with labane cheese and marinated peppers. Gorgeous. The Jerusalem Mixed Grill uses chicken livers, spleen, hearts and breast cooked and served in pita bread. Sure worth a try as it looks really good.

Can you imagine Figs Stuffed with Bulgar and Cranberry Salad? Divine. A whole section on grilled meat includes a Lamb Kebob that is sealed for cooking with pita or laffa bread. How about Chocolate and Halva Coffeecake? Now there's a dish I want to try. I love working with yeast and this looks so good. Wouldn't mind the Sufganiyot Hanukkah Doughnuts either. Looking at the little boy pictured biting into one is enough to get the salivary glands working. Cute kid, too.

There is something of interest on all 299 pages. Too much to try to summarize here. Just take my word for it. You won't regret either owning this wonderful cookbook or giving it as a gift. And take a gander at the photo of pomegranates on the bookcover itself. Beautiful.

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