Portico: Cooking and Feasting in Rome’s Jewish Kitchen

Norton. Aug. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780393868012. $37.50. COOKING
Koenig (Little Book of Jewish Sweets), a veteran cookbook author who specializes in exploring global Jewish cuisine, takes readers to Italy for an in-depth look at the culture and food of Roman Jews. This unique culinary tradition was developed over 2,000 years of lives filled with both prosperity and struggle. Koenig’s well-researched journey delivers a wealth of history, detailing waves of immigration that shaped Roman Jewish cuisine. Recipes are kosher and deceptively simple, leaning on quality ingredients to provide comfort and flavor. The photographs by Kristen Teague are a mix of environmental and food frames that deliver a strong sense of place and will make one’s mouth water. Vignettes throughout the book discuss various topics, from cleaning artichokes to Rome’s Jewish restaurants, and will likely delight readers. This travelogue cookbook highlights a hidden gem of Italian Jewish culture and is recommended for those readers and home cooks who are looking to gain a wealth of knowledge and delicious recipes.
VERDICT Koenig’s diligence with details will likely delight home cooks, especially those who keep kosher, armchair travelers, and history buffs looking to explore a lesser-known side of Jewish cuisine.
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