Review: Quick & Kosher: The Bride who Knew Nothing/Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes by Jamie Geller

I was given a copy of both books to review and all opinions are my own. Many thanks to Jamie Geller and Feldheim Publishers. 

The day the box with “Quick and Kosher” and “Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes” by Jamie Geller arrived at my office, it immediately put a smile on my face. It was really difficult not to open the box immediately. I subscribe to Joy of Kosher, and I’ve heard of Jamie Geller.  I knew of the books, and have read reviews from fellow kosher food bloggers. Now I would get to see for myself why these books were so popular.

These cookbooks aren’t as good as everyone says: they are better. Whether you have a culinary background or not, whether you are a housewife for 20 years or a newly minted kallah-there is something in here for everyone. How is that possible? It’s because of the reality in the recipes.

Let’s start with “Quick and Kosher: The Bride who Knew Nothing” . The average recipe in this book takes less than 10 minutes of preparation and less than an hour of cooking time.  The ingredients are ones that are familiar, found in most grocery stores, and aren’t terribly expensive. The flavor profiles and pairings are not too outrageous. It’s good, easy, reliable cooking that can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. Consider this book the little black dress of kosher cookbooks, if you will.

There are also lists of must-haves: kitchen essentials, spices, and time saving tips. There are “trade-secret” interviews with the managers of different departments at Supersol, a hugely popular kosher supermarket with branches in the Five Towns as well as Queens. There is stunning photography, and a list translating all the  Yiddish words into English and their meanings.

What is my favorite part? My favorite part is the story behind it all. Jamie, you see, had a high-flying career as a producer for HBO. Cooking wasn’t a part of her vocabulary. Then she started to take her Judaism a bit more seriously, and next thing she knows, she’s getting married. And now that Husband, Shabbat, and Yom Tovim were part of her vocabulary, it meant that cooking had to be as well-and in a hurry. After all, there are times when take-out will just not do.

I also love the comments that she adds to each recipe. Where the recipe came from, what her husband/grandfather/mother/friend said about the recipe. By the time I was finished (I read cookbooks like people read novels) I could completely understand why people loved this cookbook.  The warmth and friendliness, the sense of camaraderie was apparent in every single recipe, on every single page. Jamie kept it real, and it shows.

In “Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes” you get more of  Jamie’s signature style: warmth and wit, impeccable photography and presentation.  For everything that her first book has to offer, this cookbook offers even more. The book is thoughtfully laid out, with no detail spared. Recipes are arranged according to time to complete: you have recipes that take 20, 40 or 60 minutes to make. What I love about these recipes: the side dishes and the garnishes! Each one not only complements the main part of the dish, but is something stand-out on its own.

I love all the little “goodies” this book offers: menu plans for Shabbat and the Yom Tovim, complete with wine pairings. There is the Slick Little Primer on Oils, which gives info about different types of oils used in cooking.  How to Create a Comfort Zone also stood out in my mind after I finished reading it. After all, how many times do people think of a kitchen as merely a functional place? Jamie completely gets it- you want delicious food, you have to be comfortable in your kitchen, with your tools (see the section on the Tool Box for more details) and your ingredients (see Spotlight-What’s New in Kosher).

It doesn’t matter if you have 500 cookbooks or 5. You are going to want to add these two to your collection-then be prepared to use them often. Then, be prepared to buy Jamie’s new book when it comes out in 2013. If “Quick & Kosher: The Bride who Knew Nothing” and “Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes” are any indication, this newest release will be truly worth the investment.

Both books are available via the publisher www.feldheim.com as well as on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. great review! I love Jamie’s first cookbook, but don’t have her second; I wanna go pick it up now!

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