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Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Hardcover – Nov 16 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (Oct. 29 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764544136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764544132
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'aǪdoesn'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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
I'm not Jewish, nor am i vegetarian, but i have a wide-ranging interest in food-writing and a considerable cook-book collection. I would like to state that this is a really good book. Not only a compelling read, but the recipes are clearly written, accessible to the average home cook, and delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and i think you will be too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything I make from this book turns out wonderfully. It is one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks. It is great reading the history of the dishes and ingredients. Lots of history on the migration of the food and people. Highly recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa399fc84) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35db5d0) out of 5 stars You Don't Have to be a Vegetarian Nov. 14 2004
By Sharon Boorstin - Published on
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.
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35db624) out of 5 stars Great Book Dec 23 2005
By Evelina - Published on
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)
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35dba5c) out of 5 stars Vegetarian recipes with "meaty" prose Sept. 7 2005
By Ruhama - Published on
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.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35dba44) out of 5 stars One of my favorite cookbooks! Nov. 29 2005
By G. Nichols - Published on
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!
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35dbf00) out of 5 stars A treasure April 25 2005
By Michael Friedberg - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is such a wonderful book. First of all, I just made the "Turkish Leek Patties" for Passover and they were the hit of the sedar. The recipe worked perfectly. His recipes are flexible, so you can adjust the amount of garlic or parmesan, for example (I went with full garlic and cheese, fyi). They all sound so good, so you can sit with the book for an entire afternoon and want to make everything. I brought the book with me and two separate relatives sat with the book for at least an hour each. It's entirely readable because it's so fascinating. The book is filled with recipes and great cultural tidbits from the entire Jewish diaspora. And while I started out by mentioning a dish I cooked for the holidays, this book is so much more than that. There's an amazing section on savory pastries (I made turnovers with an Iraqi Chickpea filling, but I can't wait to make more) and delicious recipes for "Ashkenazic Stewed Carrots" and "Sephardic Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes." That's all I've made so far, but I had to share my experiences because I rarely get so excited about cookbooks. Finally, the cover is gorgeous and the recipes are easy to read, so why don't you have this book???