Queue up for the Book Festival of the MJCCA’s most delicious event where bestselling cookbook author Adeena Sussman will share her bounty with a luncheon at 12 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17.
“Shabbat Recipes and Rituals from My Table to Yours” is a 384-page, mouthwateringly illustrated guidepost with considerable heft in many dimensions. Sussman magnifies and elevates Shabbat descriptions and recipes with “Kodachrome” sharp color images (by Dan Perez) that hop off the plate and onto the fork, spoon, or Challah knife.
Sussman tells of her California family’s observance and “specialness” in celebrating the seventh day of the week for rest, welcoming others, reflection, gratitude, and food, glorious food. All about organization, tips, and sentiment, Sussman’s contents range from breakfast and brunch, apps and dips, vegetables and side salads, kugels, pastas and grains, soups, main course salads, fish, chicken, and meat “mains,” stews, cocktails, and desserts. Kugels, for example, are in standard fare like Bubbe’s Extra Crispy Potatoes to “a twist” to Caramel Apple Noodles in a ring.
More exotic recipes are anything but de rigueur. Dushpara (Uzbeki dumpling soup), Cacciucco Livornese (Italian fish stew), Algerian meatballs, Baghdadi chicken curry, Jachnun rolled Yeminite bread, and Tbecha Belsalk with Swiss chard (meat stew) are just a few of the tastes to prepare stateside in one’s own kitchen.
Sussman herself is as much of a treat as are her recipes. Research, trial and error, and vast experience salted with emotion make this book something you value as a house, shower, or cocktail table book. Don’t expect it to remain unsoiled for long, begging for open kitchen counter dripping and folded corners as the most favored resource and promised joy to come.
Sussman, who was born on Shabbat, married later in life, and moved to Israel about a decade ago. In the book, she states, “I cook for Shabbat because it feeds my soul…the recipes paint a picture of Oneg (delight) Shabbat one plate at a time, and they await your attention, interpretation and embrace.”
Don’t leave without dessert. Anyone for Pistachio Frangipane and blood orange galette? Or apricot Tahini shortbread bars? For a fitting conclusion, the book ends with a four-page tribute to Havdalah. Finishing touches indeed.