Food Cultures of Israel: Recipes, Customs, and Issues

Greenwood. (Global Kitchen). Nov. 2020. 227p. ISBN 9781440866852. $63. REF
Ashkenazi (The World Cookbook) explores factors affecting the cuisine of Israel, including geography, climate, technology, immigration, and cultures both Jewish and non-Jewish. He defines Israeli food as Middle Eastern fare eaten in Israel that has been “heavily influenced by and blended with non–Middle Eastern, largely European food practices, as well as by religious influences.” Ashkenazi’s definition of Israel includes “all Israelis: Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel”; the food culture of Palestine is not included in the scope of this book. Tracing food history using archaeological evidence and religious sources (e.g., the Bible and the Qur’an), the author spends considerable time discussing food rituals; the history of rules about food, and their historical and contemporary observance; and the impact of collective living on food culture. Chapters discuss important dishes, ingredients, meal structure and organization, dietary issues, and more; recipes appear as sidebars. An extensive bibliography (1971–2016) includes English and Hebrew sources, and a detailed index facilitates easy use.
VERDICT Fascinating and of interest to kitchen hobbyists and students of anthropology, nutrition, food sciences, or religion/divinity/ministry. Consider placing this book in the circulating nonfiction section for maximum usage.
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