18 January 2014

Weekend Cooking: The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home by Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman

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The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home by Nick Zukin and Michael C. JusmanMichael C. Zusman and Nick Zukin's The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home is a salute to the modern delicatessen--no longer kosher and with vegetarian meals on the menu but still rooted in the immigrant foods of a hundred or more years ago.

Did you know that there was no Jewish cuisine before the end of the 1800s? It was only after European Jews settled into the tenements of New York City and started living side by side with immigrants from all over, that various Old World dishes were melded into what we now think of as classic deli. The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home explains this and much more about the history of the foods that have graced the tables of American Jews for well over a century.

Unfortunately, authentic delis have been on the decline as a result of a number of socioeconomic factors and because today's eaters are often hyper-aware of health issues. As a consequence, American delis have had to adapt or go under. Zusman and Zukin characterize current delis as being a combination of traditional and artisan, with vegetarian versions of meaty classics and the addition of more salads. The good news is that you'll still find pastrami and brisket on the menu as well as a full array of whole-grain breads.

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home, p. 95 (c) Caren AlpertThe Artisan Jewish Deli at Home covers everything from little dishes like pickles to the ubiquitous rugelach that goes with your after-dinner coffee. You'll find recipes for baked goods, soups, sandwiches, slaws, spreads, and salads. I particularly love the number of variations that Zusman and Zukin provide, so once you've mastered how to make latkes, for example, you can try them crispy or fluffy and with peppers or zucchini.

Some recipes are modern versions of old standards, such as brisket roasted with cider and butternut squash; others hark back to my grandmothers' kitchens (who makes schmaltz anymore?). Don't worry if you've never had kreplach or knishes, Zusman and Zukin explain everything, providing clear directions and photographs. Plus you'll find informative features throughout the cookbook that fill you in on ingredients and techniques as well as the history of some of the recipes

Despite the Yiddish words, you don't need to go to a delicatessen to find most of the ingredients to make the recipes in this book. A well-stocked supermarket will have you covered. If you're stuck, however, turn to the back of the book for recommended online sources.

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home, p. 150 (c) Caren AlpertWe loved the zucchini latkes, the bialys, and some of the soups and salads. I'm looking forward to trying the brisket variations (though I can't believe any would be better than my mom's!) and to bake more of the bread recipes. I don't think this cookbook has left my kitchen in a month; there are so many great choices for everyday eating and casual entertaining.

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home presents the best that modern delis have to offer. Whether the recipes remind you of your childhood or you're relatively new to the cuisine, Michael C. Zusman and Nick Zukin have put together a one-stop resource for everyone who's ever craved a good Sunday morning blintz or a warm chocolate babka fresh out of the kitchen oven.

Note on the photos: The photos were scanned from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home; all rights and copyrights remain with the photographer, Caren Alpert.

Recipes and more photos: Visit the Artisan Jewish Deli on Tumblr or Facebook.

Andrews McMeel, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781449420079
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


jama 1/18/14, 6:33 AM  

This sounds rich and interesting. Love books featuring history + recipes. My mouth is already watering hearing about the zucchini latkes!

rhapsodyinbooks 1/18/14, 7:01 AM  

My previous attempts at kreplach was so abysmal, I feel loath to try again, but maybe this cookbook would help. It would be fun to try to make bialys from scratch!

Tina 1/18/14, 7:03 AM  

Since I am on a brisket quest the mention of a new recipe for one, in this book, is very appealing. I did not know there wasn't an established Jewish cuisine until after 1800.
I like a cookbook with more than recipes, the ones with stories. Sounds like a good one.

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/18/14, 7:29 AM  

We have some decent delis in our neighborhood, and this sounds like such an interesting book.

Col Reads 1/18/14, 9:13 AM  

One thing I really crave here in central PA is decent deli food -- I would probably buy the book for the knish recipe alone!

Unknown 1/18/14, 10:01 AM  

I love going to deli's - but don't end up going there too often. I love how they always have something a little different that what I would find in the typical chain type place. This book sounds like an interesting cooking experience.

Unknown 1/18/14, 10:09 AM  

I have never been to a Jewish deli before. There aren't any that I know of in my area. I often see them on TV, though, and some of the dishes look so good!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 1/18/14, 10:17 AM  

YUM - that brisket roasted with cider and butternut squash sounds delicious!

Esme 1/18/14, 10:40 AM  

You now have me craving lox and cream cheese. Brisket sounds great. I have my dad staying with me, you have given me a new idea for dinner.

Cecelia 1/18/14, 10:56 AM  

I grew up on the West coast and didn't know that I was missing deli experience until I came East for college (I still don't know if I've ever been in an 'authentic' Jewish deli!). I'd take a look at this cookbook, but I'd be even more interested in a recommended deli tour of NYC for when I'm there in May for BEA!

Kailana 1/18/14, 1:34 PM  

A book that includes recipes and history would be really interesting!

Laurie C 1/18/14, 4:50 PM  

Most of what I know about authentic Jewish delis comes from fiction and television, too. This book sounds great! We make latkes, challah, and noodle kugel, or at least we used to in the days before low-carb dieting, so I like the idea of the more healthful recipe variations.

Jackie McGuinness 1/18/14, 7:11 PM  

As an ex-Montrealer which has a huge jewish population I so miss this kind of food. My sister's ex-MIL made schmaltz and knishes!!!
What about stuffed chicken I can't find it anywhere, kinda like mock chicken but better!

Lit Addicted Brit 1/19/14, 7:11 AM  

Visiting traditional style delis is always one of our favourite treats whenever we're in America so this book sounds like the perfect way to indulge a little when we can't get the real thing in the UK!

A book I'll try to hunt down, definitely.

Rhiannon 1/19/14, 11:08 AM  

I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of sampling any Jewish foods beyond bagels. This cookbook looks like a great way for me to expand my ( and my family's) culinary horizons.

This is my first time participating the Weekend Cooking Link up. My link is for a great new book I just reviewed called "The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian." Although it is geared a young (teen) women, it provides a lot of information, easy recipes, and advice on vegetarianism.

nishitak 1/19/14, 12:16 PM  

Hope it's not too late linking up my post to this one.

I don't know much at all about Jewish food so this book sounds very interesting for sure.

Sue Jackson 1/19/14, 1:11 PM  

What a coincidence!

I just heard an interview with the author on NPR this week - it was great, and he sounds like a fascinating person. Glad to hear the cookbook is just as good.

Here's the link to the interview:



Book By Book

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Debbie 1/19/14, 1:13 PM  

I find the fact that authentic delis are in decline, very sad.
Would love to get my hands on that cookbook!

bermudaonion 1/19/14, 5:18 PM  

I can't remember the last time I was at a great deli. This book sounds terrific!

Angela's Anxious Life 1/23/14, 12:58 AM  

I am quite pleased to come across this blog hop! I love to cook and read so I am sooo in now. Thanks for hosting!

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