8 Cookbooks Sure to Light up Chanukah 2020
Peas Love & Carrots

8 Cookbooks Sure to Light up Chanukah 2020

Each year, before Chanukah, I pull up a comfy chair and review my bookshelves to see which of my favorite cookbooks I’d like to gift for the holidays. I’ve chosen eight, all published in 2020, to light up (or maybe lighten up?) your holiday celebrations.

Chanukah gifts cookbooks Jewish/Kosher
Just a part of my cookbook collection

For those new to my page, WELCOME! Be sure to check for Chanukah recipes under the holiday heading, above. For more on cookbooks I’ve loved and written about in other years, check under REVIEWS—>>> Cookbooks.

cookbooks Kosher Like Me

For those of us running dry on inspiration, after 10 months of cooking during various stages of pandemic lock-downs, I hope these volumes will yield some unexpected inspirations. Each of these has been a source of creativity, joy and illumination of new ideas for me during these long days.

Here are my eight favorites of 2020, in no particular order:

peas love & carrots; THE COOKBOOK is an extension of Danielle Renov‘s blogging and instagram communities where she has more than 70k followers. On-line, she shares recipes, anecdotes and instructional videos from her home in Jerusalem. Lots of us have been waiting for her cookbook and it’s a triumph. Renov’s outspoken and humorous spirit permeates these 254 plus recipes. Her Sephardic/Ashkenzi mashups, via her Israeli lifestyle, are expressed in easy to follow recipes and sumptuous food shots. Did I mention that she is laugh-out-loud funny?

This cookbook covers all courses and is kosher.

Vegetables for Breakfast cookbook
Photo of author, Nancy Wolfson- Moche. Credit: Jessie Adler

Vegetables for Breakfast from A-Z; Change your breakfast, Change your life is a very focused and delicious argument about why eating a certain way can change one’s life. Nancy Wolfson- Moche presents eating as a sacred practice, creating menus and meals filled with meaning and ritual. She teaches health, wellness, culinary arts and culinary medicine to students of all ages.

In her words, “This book invites you to eat vegetables for breakfast. Daily. The vegetable recipes constitute only a part of the meal because… yes, there is more. A complete breakfast includes a whole grain and sometimes a plant based protein dish. Each recipe includes suggested complementary grain dishes, and there are five grain recipes peppered throughout the vegetable recipes.”

Icons denoting cook time, seasons, how-to’s (cooking style used for each prep) and pairings make this practical paperback an inspiring read for anyone looking to improve their breakfast game. I’ll guarantee it.

This book is kosher and mostly vegan (a few recipes include cheese; one has optional egg).

The Tahini Table Cookbook
The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman with Andrew Schloss. Photo: Jillian Guyette

The Tahini Table; Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal is a passionate ode to the versatility of tahini.

Amy Zitelman, one of the 3 “Soom Sisters” of the outstanding American tahini brand called SOOM (the Hebrew word for sesame seed) has partnered with Andrew Schloss to propel those stuck on simple tahini dressings into a whole new world of ideas.

Think dressings and sauces (Tahini Barbecue Sauce!), sandwiches, salads and sides (Tahini Fig Toast!), mains (Whole Baked Fish!). Continue drooling over Jillian Guyette‘s energetic photos as you head into the final chapter of sweets. Dark Chocolate Tahini Brownies and Tahini S’mores Marshmallows are just a couple of the highlights. You’ll never think of tahini the same way again.

This cookbook is kosher style and covers all meal courses. There is no mixing of dairy and meat or  inclusion of non-kosher proteins. A clear label key denotes recipes as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, family friendly and paleo. There are plenty of choices for all preferences here.

Beyond the North Wind Russian recipes
Beyond the North Wind by Darra Goldstein; Photo: Stefan Wettainen

Beyond the North Wind  gets right at the heart of Russian food as award winning author and food scholar, Darra Goldstein, presents 100 traditional but accessibly modern recipes. Goldstein has been immersed in Russian culture and culinary exploration for more than 40 years and writes with an intimacy that takes a lifetime to achieve.

If you’ve got wanderlust and a desire to visit a place so vast that you can’t imagine where to begin, allow  this expert to transport you on a journey to the far northern corners of Russia. Magnificent photography by Stefan Wettainen sets the landscape and the table for homestyle classics and a surprisingly sophisticated culinary story.

About the question of kosher in this book, Goldstein replied, “There are lots of dishes in the Russian Jewish style.” Two recipes mention pork where beef or lamb can easily be substituted. There is no seafood in this book.

Flavour by Ottolenghi
Flavour cover @Ottolenghi

Flavour is the third in Yotam Ottolenghi‘s Plenty series. His next level approach to having vegetable dishes shine focuses on process (how to best cook each veggie), flavor pairings, and how to choose produce. Ottolenghi’s friendly and relaxed voice instructs home cooks on best ways to get weeknight meals on the table with less effort and more impact.

This book is kosher friendly as it is vegetarian.

Snacking Cakes: Simple Treats for Anytime Cravings is Yossy Arefi’s second baking book and a perfect one for all levels of home bakers.

Every recipe in the book is meant to be made in one mixing bowl, no mixer required. These single layer cakes are as easy to whip up as boxed cake mixes. But with recipes for Salty Caramel Peanut Butter Cake or Nectarine and Cornmeal Upside Down Cake why wouldn’t you bake from scratch?

This book is kosher friendly. Most recipes are dairy.

The Dairy Restaurant Jewish NYC
Image used with permission from Ben Katchor.

The Dairy Restaurant by Ben Katchor defies categorizing. It is not a cookbook and not a graphic novel. It’s more of study of the many dairy restaurants that served a community of working class Jewish immigrants in NYC.

Katchor’s charcoal drawings beg our close attention to details of neighborhood street scenes and restaurant interiors that have mostly faded from memory. The evolution of the vegetarian movement, proliferation of kosher dairy restaurants and detailed histories include newspaper advertisements, menus, street addresses and descriptions of establishments most have long forgotten. This is a real gem.

For NYC lovers who enjoy a deep dive into Jewish culinary history and culture, this book is riveting.

CT Chefs Recipes for Restaurant Relief
Photo: Thomas McGovern

Finally, my last recommendation may be one of the most meaningful purchases you make this year. Before you click away, note that Connecticut Chefs Recipes for Restaurant Relief, with 100 recipes from great chefs across the Nutmeg state, is a project that is literally feeding hundreds of out of work restaurant workers and their families during these many months of the pandemic.

100% of the proceeds go towards the delivery of pantry boxes to feed out of work restaurant staff throughout CT.

$25 = 1 Pantry Box (feeds a family of 4 for a week)

Kosher? Definitely not. But there are many vegetarian, vegan and kosher friendly recipes here. Please consider buying or gifting this beautiful e-book here.

CT chefs recipes for restaurant relief
Truffle Mac n’ Cheese Bites; Photo: Craftbird Food Truck

Disclosure: When readers purchase items through some of the links in this post (none for CT Chefs Recipes…), Kosher Like Me may benefit by receiving a small percentage of that sale. There is no cost for the buyer. Thanks for supporting this blogging habit of mine.


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