The Fresser

Three fabulous cookbooks from amazing women to buy this Mother’s Day or for Purim

I’d love to receive any of these gorgeous-looking collections


If you’re looking for a cookbook for your Jewish mother this weekend here are a few of the publications that have caught my eye during the last quarter.

Obviously Mother’s Day isn’t a Jewish holiday, but I’m fully buying into the chance to be pampered this weekend — even for a few hours.

I’m already manifesting that tray of toast and freshly brewed coffee arriving on my bed on Sunday. And smiling teenagers offering to cater to my every whim — I can dream...

The Social Kitchen Table by Dani Tucker

As you’d expect from the super talented Dani — who now offers her services as a party planner and designer — this book (the follow up to her first collection of recipes from her late mother Shally’s collection of notes and cuttings) is total eye candy.

The recipes are set out in a series of menus for specific occasions and themes — think Friday night dinner; Mother’s Day tea; Tel Aviv and Mediterranean meze. For Mother’s Day tea the ideas include custard chiffon cake with passion fruit icing; rainbow tomato tart, almond scones and flower shortbread biscuits.

There are also tips on how to throw a party; templates for invitations tips for how to style up your table. Every photo is a delight. (Not kosher) 

The Sweet Polish Kitchen by Ren Behan

Another eye-catching collection — this time of Polish bakes.

Not surprisingly, many of Ren’s mouth-watering recipes feel reminiscent of Jewish classics. There is a Wild Blueberry Babka, poppy seed-laden cheesecake and sweet onion and poppy seed rolls which immediately made me think of Jewish platzels.

Of course — Poland being the birthplace of our favourite bready snack — there are bagels. Here, a Krakowian-style bagel known as obwarzanek Krakowski — which have been sold in Krakow for more than 600 years. The bread is more decorative than regular bagels, having been twisted before shaped into the all-important circle.

Ren’s research is meticulous and I loved reading her stories of the likely Jewish origins of many of her bakes. (Not kosher) 

The Jewish Holiday Table by Naama Shefi and the Jewish Food Society

This one might be better for Purim as it’s on pre-order until next week. 

Still worth a mention as it’s another beautiful-looking collection of recipes, this time supplied by individual contributors curated by Naama — who founded the Jewish Food Society. The non-profit organisation preserves and celebrates Jewish culinary heritage via their digital recipe archive.

The book follows the festivals from Rosh Hashanah through Chanukah and Purim into Pesach, Shavuot and finally a series of seasonal Shabbats.

The recipes are from a world of influences, mirroring Israel’s melting pot. From a Soviet Seder and Ukrainian latkes to Moroccan lemon chicken for Yom Kippur and Iraqi Shabbat breakfast.

Matzah ball soup for instance comes straight-up (from Mitchell Davis) or with the balls stuffed with chanterelle mushrooms (from Sasha Shor) or in a Mexican-influence soup with chile and coriander as part of Fany Gerson’s Mexican-influenced Ashkenazi recipes. You get the vibe.

It’s hard to pick favourites, but my eyes and stomach were caught by Alon Hadar’s Kadeh (Kurdish cheese and spinach-stuffed bread) and Idan Cohen’s poppy seed babka to be served for his family’s German-influenced Shabbat. (Kosher) (Out next week but available on pre-order)

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