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About the Author

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About the Author

Everyone buys other ethnic cookbooks, but with few exceptions, traditionally the only market for Jewish cookbooks has been Jews. Most Jewish food is thought to be dreary and unrefined: a marginalized ethnic cuisine.

After all, beauty and glamor have traditionally been disassociated with Jewishness. From Lauren Bacall to Ralph Lauren, from Bob Dylan to Janis Ian, Jews have felt a need to reinvent themselves with new names to appear more glamorous or more hip. By and large, art and aesthetics that were Jewish were not considered beautiful or desirable. And neither was Jewish food.

This was certainly true in my family - all great cooks. Outside of holiday meals, we never served Jewish food for special occasions - it wasn't special enough.

What changed all this for me - and I think for many others - was the civil rights movement and the interest in multiculturalism that it spawned. Being involved with other minorities made me re-examine my own culture. Moved watching other minorities reconnecting with their roots made me want to re-establish contact with my own, to rediscover where I came from.

What I wanted to do in Jewish Holiday Cooking was to explore some of the delicious possibilities of Jewish cuisine, to open it up to Jews and non-Jews too. I employed the techniques and ingredients that I worked with in other cuisines. It is not a compendium of other Jews' creative recipes, but rather my own, a very personal journey - what I call "the autobiography of one palate." Here are all the culinary influences that nourished me and resonate within me, written in my culinary mother tongue: Jewish.

Cuisine connects us to our past - and Jewish cuisine is above all a bubbe cuisine, a grandmother cuisine. My grandparents and parents are all gone now, but I continue to create new Jewish food memories for my daughter.

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