Goldstein’s long culinary career as a cook, chef, and food writer has had a strong Mediterranean focus, from her Square One restaurant in San Francisco to books on the food of Jewish communities in Italy and North Africa. Her impressive, authoritative survey of Jewish food across the entire Mediterranean seeks to fully acquaint American cooks with the rich heritage of diverse communities. These include not only the Sephardic descendants of Jews who were expelled from Portugal and Spain, but also the Maghrebi Jews of North Africa and the Mizrahi Jews of Middle Eastern lands such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.
Goldstein’s easy confidence with the material and her knowledge of just how widely these dishes vary across the regions and between cooks give her writing an inviting informality that urges readers to make this food their own. Zucchini peel with garlic and pepper from Spain; chicken meatballs with rose petals from Tunisia; Persian haroset with dates, raisins, almonds, and pistachios. Absorbing and very well done.
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