Joyce Goldstein of two posts back has just written a a new cookbook published by University of California Press, The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home. It is a little too early to decide, but this could be a candidate for my all time ten favorite recipe books. I love Mediterranean food, and I love grandmothers, peasant recipes. Eating at restaurants that serve fresh everything with a thousand ingredients, but I have the opportunity for precious little of that. My cooking, especially at my age, food that is more simple, straight forward. For me, butter is an accent. I am the cook who opens the refrigerator and says, “Now what can I cook?” This book does tell how to make every thing kosher.
Horrors, this well researched cookbook has no pictures. This has caused a rash of criticism. Readers have become accustomed to photos of every recipe, and of videos. I admit I took a bread baking class on-line and it was videos which were very valuable to see the kneading and mixing parts. Photos are only recent entries to cookbooks. Ms. Goldstein’s book is so well crafted that one does not need pictures. Pictures developed in my mind. How many times have you cooked something that in no way looked like the photo, but was great tasting none the less. I would say 100%. For myself mainly because among other reasons, I do not plate well. Without pictures there is no disappointment when you put the meal on the table. I want to tell the picture people, just try that ancient skill of reading. These picture people are probably the same people who eat out all the time anyway.
This book is a case of the book is better than the movie.