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Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World [Hardcover]

Gil Marks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 16 2004
"A land of wheat and barley, of grape vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey . . . you shall eat and be satisfied."?—Deut. 8:8-10

A Celebration of Classic Jewish Vegetarian Cooking from Around the World

Traditions of Jewish vegetarian cooking span three millennia and the extraordinary geographical breadth of the Jewish diaspora—from Persia to Ethiopia, Romania to France. Acclaimed Judaic cooking expert, chef, and rabbi Gil Marks uncovers this vibrant culinary heritage for home cooks. Olive Trees and Honey is a magnificent treasury shedding light on the truly international palette of Jewish vegetarian cooking, with 300 recipes for soups, salads, grains, pastas, legumes, vegetable stews, egg dishes, savory pastries, and more.

From Sephardic Bean Stew (Hamin) to Ashkenazic Mushroom Knishes, Italian Fried Artichokes to Hungarian Asparagus Soup, these dishes are suitable for any occasion on the Jewish calendar—festival and everyday meal alike. Marks's insights into the origins and evolution of the recipes, suggestions for holiday menus from Yom Kippur to Passover, and culture-rich discussion of key ingredients enhance this enchanting portrait of the Jewish diaspora's global legacy of vegetarian cooking.

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Review

“…doesn’t shy away from recognising the cultural, historical, and religious relevance of traditional foods” (Jewish Tribune, 14th October 2004)

From the Inside Flap

For more than three millennia, vegetarian cooking has been a central component of the rich fabric of Jewish culinary tradition around the world. Olive Trees and Honey is a tribute to this vital realm of Jewish heritage, showcasing an authentic collection of vegetarian dishes that have graced Jewish tables across the ages from Alsace to Uzbekistan, and are still very much alive today—at holidays, rituals, festivals, and everyday meals alike.

In virtually any kitchen today, cooks need to possess a broad repertoire of vegetarian dishes for themselves or their guests—for health, theological, philosophical, or other reasons. In Olive Trees and Honey, eminent Jewish cooking expert Gil Marks presents a magnificent treasury of meatless fare suitable for any table: 300 simple, enticing recipes that accentuate signature flavors of time-honored dishes. The classics here—soups, salads, pastas, legumes, vegetable stews, egg dishes, and more—represent every part of the menu from an expansive global palette.

From savory pastries like Syrian Miniature Lentil Pizzas to hearty entrées such as Moroccan Mashed Potato Casserole, nourishing Romanian vegetable stews to wholesome legume dishes like Tunisian Chickpeas with Greens, Marks brings the world of Jewish vegetarian cooking to the home kitchen. For those observing kosher laws, each recipe is labeled as Dairy or Pareve. Many recipes include tips and variations for years of fresh, inventive meals.

Through brief chronicles of the Jewish diaspora's vegetarian legacy in diverse corners of the world and sidebars woven throughout the book, Marks sheds light on the origins and evolution of cuisines and dishes—and of the communities that created them. There are chapters on suitable recipes for key Jewish holidays and on essential ingredients and seasonings. Maps in each chapter chart the paths of several unique gustatory traditions through history.

Perfect for the vegetarian kitchen or as a complement to meat-based menus, the exquisite dishes in these pages will enrich any diet and bring warmth to any table. At once a practical guide to Jewish vegetarian cooking and an illuminating portrait of its journey across continents and centuries, Olive Trees and Honey is a celebration of this enduring global mosaic.


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The French province of Alsace, the site of the original area of Ashkenaz, lies between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading, great food Oct. 14 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is one of our favourite and most-used cookbooks. Every recipe I have tried from it in the course of several years has been successful, and the historical and ethnographic information about different Jewish groups and their cuisines is just fascinating. Great for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and for anyone who wants to expand their perception of "Jewish food" beyond the usual clichés developed by Eastern Ashkenazi Jews in North America.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Don't Have to be Jewish April 21 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have had this book since it came out and it remains one of my all-time favourites. Gil Marks has left no stone unturned and it is by far the best Jewish Vegetarian cook book ever written. One can easily use it for any holiday or for every day meals; the recipes are perfectly wrought and there is a plethora of culinary lore to keep in all the more interesting. I really like all of the author's books, but this is my favourite.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Don't Have to be a Vegetarian Nov. 14 2004
By Sharon Boorstin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was introduced to this wonderful book as a resource for an article that I'm writing about Sepharidic dishes for "Jewish Woman" Magazine. What a treasure trove! Not just of vegetarian Jewish recipes, but of the lore behind them. Marks talks about the history of cooking among Jews from Italy to Uzbekistan, and explains the "why" and "how" of typical ingredients from anise to yogurt. This is one of those rich, evocative cookbooks that you'll want to read in bed, like a good novel.
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vegetarian recipes with "meaty" prose Sept. 7 2005
By Ruhama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having endured a rather bland week of institutional vegetarian menus, I returned home from a Jewish gathering eager to follow "eco-kashrut" but unwilling to eat one more bite of tofu. I immediately began searching for vegetarian recipes that might actually have some zest and pizzazz, and found that this book fills the bill. Olive Trees and Honey offers time-tested (some, over millenia) kosher vegetarian recipes from the Greater Mediterranean region, served with a rich fare of agricultural and social history. Learning the paths that various ingredients have taken around the globe is fascinating, and definitely fun to share with Sabbath dinner guests.
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Dec 23 2005
By Evelina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I think this book amazing, it is definitely my favorite vegetarian cook book. I've tried about 10 recipes from it, and all of them turned out absolutely amazing, getting great reviews from my family. The Syrian spinach soup is my favourite so far. My dad isn't too much into spinach, but after trying this soup, he has changed his mind and has asked me to make it over and over again. The dishes offered by Gil are very versatile and diverse, coming from all corners of the world where Jewish people have lived and traveled through the ages. I was very impressed to find Bukharan and Georgian recipes -- two cuisines that haven't got much exposure in the western world.

You can tell that Gil has put a lot of thought into every single recipe, he puts some variations after every recipe, as well as the history behind it. I'm really looking forward to trying out more recipes from this book.

A plus for vegans -- every recipe is marked with either D for dairy-containing dishes or P for non-dairy (although they might have eggs). That said, Gil offers non-dairy alternatives for most of the dairy recipes.

Thanks Gil for the great book! :0)
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite cookbooks! Nov. 29 2005
By G. Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have a good number of Jewish cookbooks and vegetarian cookbooks, but this one is probably my favorite in both categories. The text and headnotes before the recipes are interesting, and virtually all of the recipes that I've tried so far have been terrific. I have particularly enjoyed the soups, including a fabulous red lentil soup, an Egyptian potato soup, and a Greek barley soup. Many of the recipes include variations which provide interesting and easy ways in which to change the nature of the dish. I highly recommend this book!
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, Educating and Delicious!! May 4 2005
By S.C. Fiennes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great cookbook! I own way too many "Jewish" cookbooks and this one is by far my favorite because it covers so many 'cuisines'-not just your usual Jewish (American) fare. Plus, it's arranged in a very logical way (by ingredient) AND it doesn't assume the reader is familiar with the ingredients. There is a valuable culinary education in here as well as historical tidbits that will delight any Jewish cook! As a former vegetarian I am always trying to find interesting and new ways to get vegetables onto the table and this book definitely has some great dishes.

I have tried many of the recipes and so far they have been very accurate and the results have been very good.

I was also happy to see recipes for "cardoons"-an edible plant that I grow in my garden but most people (unless they're Italian) have never even heard of! This was proof for me that this book covers a very wide range of vegetarian fare.

Very well done.
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