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A Literary Cookbook

retold by Jane Yolen ; by Heidi E.Y. Stemple ; illustrated by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-56656-909-5
Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Veteran storyteller Yolen and her daughter Stemple combine Jewish folklore with culinary tradition in this selection of tales and correlating recipes sure to enhance a Jewish family’s celebrations.

These 18 stories reflect a wide representation of Jewish beliefs and oral history, springing not just from Eastern European Yiddish-speaking lands, but also from the Middle East. “The Pomegranate Seed” (misspelled in the table of contents) is originally from Morocco, and “Rifka and the Magic Pitcher,” a “Red Riding Hood”–type story comes from Iraq. Yolen carefully documents her research and her rationale for retelling each chosen tale. A combination of fabric collage art and paint creates bold, almost abstract figures for both story characters and recipe ingredients. The oversized, glossy-paged volume is divided into four sections: Brunch, Soup, Main Courses and Dessert. Two Israeli recipes, shakshuka (an egg-and-tomato breakfast dish) and pomegranate couscous, give a little Middle Eastern zing to the more familiar offerings, such as challah, noodle kugel and matzo balls. Several of the holidays are also represented: Purim with hamantaschen, Shavuot with blintzes and Hanukkah with latkes. Recipes are kid friendly.

More valuable as an entrée to Jewish literature than as a cookbook, but the recipes are a nice bonus. (Folklore/cookbook. 7-10)