The best and most recent Jewish cookbooks you should own

Who am I?

I’m a food writer and photographer, and my area of expertise is Jewish cuisine. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to cookbooks and I think I own all of the available literature on kosher/Jewish cuisine. I was born in Milan, but I live and work in Santa Monica, California, where I also own a tiny business, Café Lovi. In 2009, I co-founded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, I have been spreading the word about the marvels of Jewish food, and Italian Jewish food in particular, in Italy and abroad. Cooking alla Giudia is my English-language debut.


I wrote...

Cooking alla Giudia

By Benedetta Jasmine Guetta,

Book cover of Cooking alla Giudia

What is my book about?

Cooking alla Giudia is the ultimate tribute to the wonderfully rich, yet still largely unknown, culinary heritage of the Jews of Italy. From Roman deep-fried artichokes to Venetian sarde in saor, Apulian orecchiette pasta, and Sicilian caponata, some of Italy’s best-known dishes are Jewish in origin. But little is known about the Jewish people in Italy and their culinary traditions.

With a collection of over 130 kosher recipes from all regions of Italy, including plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, Cooking alla Giudia aims to tell the story of how the Jews changed Italian food. Highlighted throughout the book are menus with regional Italian specialties, along with short, useful guides to the Italian cities with Jewish history.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Jewish Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did I love this book?

There is a reason why this book is called The Jewish Cookbook: it’s because this is the Jewish cookbook you need to have. Among the recently published books on the topic of Jewish cuisine, Leah’s is well researched, comprehensive and extensive (over 400 recipes from the Middle East to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa!) yet accurate. The photos are beautiful too. I believe I own pretty much all the classic Jewish cookbooks, but this one is by far one of the best on the topic and one whose recipes I’ll be cooking from over and over again. 

By Leah Koenig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewish Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich trove of contemporary global Jewish cuisine, featuring hundreds of stories and recipes for home cooks everywhere

The Jewish Cookbook is an inspiring celebration of the diversity and breadth of this venerable culinary tradition. A true fusion cuisine, Jewish food evolves constantly to reflect the changing geographies and ingredients of its cooks. Featuring more than 400 home-cooking recipes for everyday and holiday foods from the Middle East to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa - as well as contemporary interpretations by renowned chefs including Yotam Ottolenghi, Michael Solomonov, and Alex Raij - this definitive compendium of Jewish cuisine introduces…


Book cover of King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World: A Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did I love this book?

Joan Nathan is really an authority on Jewish cooking and her latest book, King Solomon's Table, is a wonderful compendium of Jewish recipes from all around the world and across the ages. The book manages to be both culturally informative and mouth-watering, thorough to a T, and at the same time approachable also for the less experienced home cooks.

This book makes a great gift for friends – newlyweds in particular - and is an amazing conversation starter as well: it fits equally well on a coffee table as in the kitchen.

By Joan Nathan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King Solomon's Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A definitive compendium of Jewish recipes from around the globe and across the ages, from the James Beard Award-winning, much-loved cookbook author and “the queen of American Jewish cooking” (Houston Chronicle)

Driven by a passion for discovery, the biblical King Solomon is said to have sent emissaries on land and sea to all corners of the ancient world, initiating a mass cross-pollination of culinary cultures that continues to bear fruit today. With Solomon’s appetites and explorations in mind, in these pages Joan Nathan gathers together more than 170 recipes, from Israel to Italy to India and beyond.

Here are classics…


Book cover of Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen: A Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did I love this book?

Sababa is an Arabic word used in very colloquial Hebrew: it means something along the lines of “everything is cool.” Nothing describes Adeena’s book better than the title of the ebook itself: Sababa is really pretty cool, and so are all the recipes in it. Adeena takes the readers on an imaginary journey to shuk hacarmel, the vibrant street market of Tel Aviv, to shop for ingredients, and proceeds to share recipes for dishes that are fresh, healthy, full of bright and bold flavors. If you are going to read one book about modern Israeli cuisine, this should be it. 

By Adeena Sussman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sababa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"We should all be cooking like Adeena Sussman."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Sababa is a breath of fresh, sunny air."
--The New York Times

In an Israeli cookbook as personal as it is global, Adeena Sussman celebrates the tableau of flavors the region has to offer, in all its staggering and delicious variety

In Hebrew (derived from the original Arabic), sababa means "everything is awesome," and it's this sunny spirit with which the American food writer and expat Adeena Sussman cooks and dreams up meals in her Tel Aviv kitchen. Every morning, Sussman makes her way through the bustling stalls…


Book cover of Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did I love this book?

I have never met Jake Cohen but his book, Jew-ish, makes me wish we were friends, and not only because he has the best book title pun ever. Jew-ish offers a brilliantly modern take on Jewish food and Jake’s personality really shines through every page of it. Jake’s enthusiasm for Jewish food is contagious. I often get annoyed when authors tweak traditional recipes in extravagantly creative ways, but the liberties that Jake takes on Jewish dishes really add a new dimension to them. I thought I’d dread things like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach (rugelach? salty? is it even legal?!), but I must say I’m a fan now: I’m a Jew-ish convert! :)

By Jake Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jew-ish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Jew-ish, he reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband's Persian-Iraqi traditions to offer recipes that are modern, fresh, and enticing for a whole new generation of readers. Imagine the components of an everything bagel wrapped into a flaky galette and latkes dyed vibrant yellow with saffron for a Persian spin on the potato pancake, plus best-ever hybrid desserts like Macaroon Brownies and Pumpkin Spice Babka! From elevated, yet approachable classics like Jake's Perfect Challah, Roasted Tomato Brisket, Short Rib Cholent, and Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup to innovative creations like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach,…


Book cover of 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did I love this book?

Every week on Thursday afternoon I find myself thinking “what will I cook today, to celebrate Shabbat tomorrow?” Even as a food writer, sometimes I run out of ideas. Since December last year, when 52 Shabbats came out, I have a new resource to refer to when I need inspiration. Faith's book includes a variety of classics and new dishes, organized in a way that makes dinner planning a breeze. In particular, I enjoy the fact that the main course recipes are organized by season, with reference to other courses that would complement them well.

The recipes are easy to follow, even if you have never cooked or tasted that specific Jewish dish before.

By Faith Kramer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 52 Shabbats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS SEEN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Gorgeous" —The Washington Post 

Whether you are a longtime host of weekly Shabbat dinners or new to this global Jewish tradition, 52 Shabbats will spice up your Friday night in one way or another. This book offers a holistic scope of the Shabbat tradition for every reader, Jewish or otherwise. In it you'll find:

Over fifty primary recipes to anchor your menuMore than twenty recipes for side dishes, accompaniments, and dessertsShort essays that detail global foodways and historiesExplanation of the Shabbat ritual

Faith Kramer outlines recipe pairings in a mix-and-match friendly format, incorporating…


You might also like...

Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

Book cover of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

Christina Ward Author Of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

New book alert!

Who am I?

For me, history is always about individuals; what they think and believe and how those ideas motivate their actions. By relegating our past to official histories or staid academic tellings we deprive ourselves of the humanity of our shared experiences. As a “popular historian” I use food to tell all the many ways we attempt to “be” American. History is for everyone, and my self-appointed mission is to bring more stories to readers! These recommendations are a few stand-out titles from the hundreds of books that inform my current work on how food and religion converge in America. You’ll have to wait for Holy Food to find out what I’ve discovered.

Christina's book list on the hidden history of America

What is my book about?

Does God have a recipe? Independent food historian Christina Ward’s highly anticipated Holy Food explores the influence of mainstream to fringe religious beliefs on modern American food culture.

Author Christina Ward unravels how religious beliefs intersect with politics, economics, and, of course, food to tell a different story of America. It's the story of true believers and charlatans, of idealists and visionaries, and of the everyday people who followed them—often at their peril.

Holy Food explains how faith pioneers used societal woes and cultural trends to create new pathways of belief and reveals the interconnectivity between sects and their leaders.

Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

What is this book about?

Does God have a recipe?

"Holy Food is a titanic feat of research and a fascinating exploration of American faith and culinary rites. Christina Ward is the perfect guide – generous, wise, and ecumenical." — Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams

"Holy Food doesn't just trace the influence that preachers, gurus, and cult leaders have had on American cuisine. It offers a unique look at the ways spirituality—whether in the form of fringe cults or major religions—has shaped our culture. Christina Ward has gone spelunking into some very odd corners of American history to unearth this fascinating collection of stories…


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