The best and most recent Jewish cookbooks you should own

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Author Of Cooking alla Giudia
By Benedetta Jasmine Guetta

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.

The books I picked & why

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The Jewish Cookbook

By Leah Koenig,

Book cover of The Jewish Cookbook

Why 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. 

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

By Joan Nathan,

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

Why 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.

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

By Adeena Sussman,

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

Why 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. 

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

By Jake Cohen,

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

Why 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! :)

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

By Faith Kramer,

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

Why 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.

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