Book and Author: For the last 20 years, New Yorker Levana Kirschenbaum has run a bakery, a kosher restaurant, a catering business and a cooking school. She's also raised three children. When friends told her she should write a cookbook, she'd laugh and answer, "Who has the time?" But, finally, she has added one more accomplishment to her long list. "Levana's Table: Kosher Cooking for Everyone" (Stewart, Tabori &; Chang, $35) is filled with an international array of recipes that truly will appeal to everyone. Many of the recipes reflect Kirschenbaum's Moroccan upbringing, as well as her schooling in Europe. She includes dishes like Moroccan fish soup and chicken tagine, as well as Chinese beef salad and tea-and-ginger-roasted Cornish hens. Although her own family is Sephardic (Mediterranean Jews), her husband is Ashkenazic (Eastern European Jews), so she also includes beloved traditional holiday dishes from both cultures, including potato latkes and harira (Moroccan lentil soup).
Format: One of the best things about this book is its large, spacious layout, meaning an entire recipe is contained on one page. No annoying page-flipping in the midst of cooking. Thanks to publisher Stewart, Tabori &; Chang, the paper is heavy and glossy to the touch and the elegant photographs that accompany many of the recipes are worthy of a magazine cover.
Who Would Read This Book: You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this book. You don't have to keep kosher. You can even be vegetarian! Many of Kirschenbaum's recipes are meatless and several contain tofu, including an intriguing nondairy version of tiramisu that uses silken tofu and tofu cream cheese for the creamy filling. Otherwise, her recipes are clearly written, not overly long and are often accompanied by charming stories about friends and family.
-- Candy Sagon