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Cookbooks Review (Free Cookbook)

Written by Leah Schapira on Friday, 01 July 2011. Posted in Food News

Update: Read Leah's second cookbook roundup.

Summer is the time of the year that I set aside special time to read. Summer is about relaxing—and reading books is one of my favorite ways to chill out and immerse myself in another little world for short while.

Why only during the summer? I have a little problem called “I don’t know how to put a book down once I start.” One day, someone will come up with a shorter term for this problem. During the winter, kids must go to school, homework must get done, and if I get lost in a book, I’ll end up reading for hours and hours. Now summer is different. No buses, no rush. I can stay up reading all day and all night.

One of my favorite types of books to read are cookbooks—I feel as if I’m delving into the world of the chef. Recipes, introductions, and even the acknowledgement page tell you so much about the writer.  One other reason I love reading cookbooks is that I can put it down much faster—and I feel it’s productive.

Next time you’re heading out to the beach, you may consider taking one of these cookbooks along.

Some of my summer picks:


Encyclopedia of Jewish Food


This is our peacekeeper in the house. When the arguments start on why we eat certain Jewish foods, Gil Marks comes to the rescue. It’s a large and heavy book and definitely not something I can take to the beach.  So much information is packed into the encyclopedia that it’s definitely worth the purchase. Cultural observations, funny anecdotes, and loads of recipes fill the pages. While the Google has replaced my need to pick up a regular encyclopedia, the information in this book isn’t found anywhere.   Buy it on Amazon for the best price.


The New Food Processor Bible: 3Oth Anniversary Edition

Norene Gilletz is one of my favorite food people. In general when you get together with food writers, it’s always interesting and fun. When I heard that Norene’s Food Processor Bible was being reprinted, I had to get a copy in my hands.

I think the term “Bible” is perfectly apropos for use in the title. The book literally has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about using a food processor.   It’s completely updated with new recipes, tips, and ideas, variations to recipes, and the nutrition value of every single recipe!

If you don’t like using a processor, the book is still a wonderful cookbook to own with over 600 recipes. By the way—the book has 45 five star consumer reviews on Amazon. So I’m not the only one that thinks it’s worth while buy.  While it’s a thick book, my copy is soft cover so it’s really easy to hold and read while laying on a couch or bed. (I did tell you that cookbook where meant for reading while relaxing!) The only downside is that the book includes no photos.  However, I imagine if there where photos the book would be way too large and heavy to enjoy.


On a Stick


This isn’t a kosher cookbook but it’s too fun to skip.  Matt Amendariz is a food photographer and blogger. With over 80 ways to serve food on a stick, it’s the perfect hors d’oeuvres cookbook. Every single recipes has its own photograph. Not only photos—but photos that will make you hungry. If you appreciate novelty items or love fun and quirky recipes, this cookbook is for you. It might also make you want to pick up a camera and learn to shoot food.


Kosher Elegance


We’ve featured recipes from Efrat Libfroind’s Kosher Elegance, but it’s worth adding the book to our list of summer cookbook. It’s a large coffee table-style cookbook with beautiful photos on each page. This cookbook is for all kind of cooks. For those that artistic and love to spend time in the kitchen creating masterpieces—there are plenty of desserts to choose from. But—there are loads of incredible recipes such as main dishes and salads that are quick to prepare too. If you’re into the presentation of food, this is a complete guide with wonderful presentation ideas. Efrat has sprinkled in many tips and techniques in-between to help make you a better cook.


Plate to Pixels

This isn’t a cookbook per say, but still one of my favorite summer books that I’ve picked up.  Helen Darjelin is pastry chef turned food photographer and blogger that created the ultimate guide to food photography. The photos are beautiful and as you read the book, you feel as if you are in her studio or kitchen, photographing food with her. If you enjoy shooting food and would like to get better at it, there isn’t a better book in the market.

Would you like to win "On a Stick" ? Leave a comment and share with us your favorite cookbook. 

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About the Author

Leah Schapira

Leah Schapira is the bestselling author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking. In 2010, Leah launched, the popular online kosher recipe exchange. Her cookbook career began at the age of 21, when she wrote her first cookbook as a fundraiser to begin channeling her passion for recipes. Leah is also a monthly columnist for Whisk, the popular kosher food magazine published by Ami Magazine, where readers appreciate her humor and wit. She has been featured in The Washington Post, The Star Ledger, and The Blue Lifestyle, among many others. When she's not writing cookbooks Leah enjoys traveling the world with her husband and children.

Comments (25)

  • ShaindyN
    01 July 2011 at 17:28 |

    My favorite cookbook for a quick meal is jamie gellers meals in minute, just open the book and supper is ready in a wink! When I have a few minutes extra to spare I use efrats new cookbook, with each recipe she wrote she also shares the hints n tips..she made it so easy to prepare something nice without worrying u wont be able to copy it

  • jilldushey
    03 July 2011 at 16:44 |

    Aromas of Aleppo is the cookbook that I live by. Everyone knows me for making all my dishes from this book. As a new syrian bride, this cookbook taught me most of what I know today!

  • Mimi
    04 July 2011 at 19:17 |

    My all time favorite cookbook is our personal collection cookbook! Another favorite of mine is the Balabusta's choice- good clear recipes...

  • TheKosherTomato
    05 July 2011 at 02:15 |

    Culinary Artistry is a great cookbook that one of my chefs gave me many years ago and I still use it to this day. It has a great reference on flavors that pair well together, things that are in season and a variety of well known chefs have contributed to the book and its recipes. I would love to win "on a stick" because I am learning every day how to photograph food and it is another passion of mine combined with cooking. :)

  • njmom
    05 July 2011 at 14:13 |

    Culinary Artistry reminded me of their second book. Flavor - its the ultimate food pairing book. I don't own it but have taken it out of the library a couple of times.

  • bestmom
    05 July 2011 at 14:33 |

    Dining In is my favorite cookbook. The recipes are clear, easy, and great for everyday use.

  • CookMama
    06 July 2011 at 02:45 |

    There are two cookbooks that I really enjoy using. For a kosher one, I keep going back to my favorite Crowning Elegance. Great pictures and recipes. As for baking I LOVE a cookbook that I bought many years ago called Great Desserts. It is designed to show you the entire range of desserts, from the simplest fresh fruit salads to the supremely elegant. All techniques are covered and it is illustrated by a step-by-step series of color photos. Truly a one of a kind cookbook. The authors are Christian Teubner and Sybil Grafin Schonfeldt.

  • breadandbutter
    06 July 2011 at 14:49 |

    Although I have stacks of cookbooks and food mags, my favorite go-to cookbook is still The Heimishe Kitchen by Nitra

  • plums
    06 July 2011 at 16:12 |

    i love love cook books. they are so entertaining adn great tools to have for balabustas like myself. my favorite cook book is spice and spirit and aristocratic fruits that teaches you art of carving fruits/veg and also includes simple recepies.

  • love2cook
    06 July 2011 at 19:54 |

    I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read your blog. Cookbooks are my favorite hobby! I really enjoy KBD short on time. I think I have made every single recipie and each time I look at it I say "hey how come I haven't tried this one yet?" Super easy and very doable!

  • Tina
    06 July 2011 at 21:32 |

    I have a huge collection of cookbooks; my go to one is Silver Spoon-kosher cooking for the discerning palate. Absolutely love this one. Recipes are easy, tasty, and always a hit with the family. It has some nice tips too. This was done as a charity project and it is very professional. Co-authored by Leah Schapira and Devoiry Ginsberg.

  • rochelboyd
    07 July 2011 at 00:39 |

    I'm a self-professed cookbook addict. There are so many I love. One of my favorites is Crowning Elegance: A Kosher Culinary Experience. The pictures aren't great; but, the recipes never fail to impress.

  • hindyg
    08 July 2011 at 12:44 |

    I collect cookbooks. I love all kinds. My favorites are by Claudia Roden. I love that the cookbooks have a story to tell and that there are all sorts of interesting recipes.
    I also just got Aromas of Aleppo. Looking forward to cooking from it!

  • sugarspice
    11 July 2011 at 19:38 |

    I own 100+ cookbooks but find the some of the most useful ones to be Balabustas Choice, Silver Spoon & Dining In/Dining In Again. There are lots of beautiful coffee table cookbooks which are great to flip through and drool over but not easy and practical... I love them all!

  • CHEF102
    19 July 2011 at 03:47 |

    Luv the What's Cooking. Nitra cookbook is great too. The best is still my own collection. I'm still working on putting together our own family cookbook!

  • ShaindyN
    25 July 2011 at 03:29 |

    Who wo. The prize?

  • yummmyfood
    27 July 2011 at 13:50 |

    I love Spice it Right!! great recipes

  • bassy
    27 July 2011 at 13:55 |

    i love dining in and whats cooking. also kosher by design! all have great tasty and easy recipes!

  • sheina29
    27 July 2011 at 14:01 |

    The purple N'Shei cookbook....Spice and Spirit!

  • shayndya
    27 July 2011 at 14:16 |

    For Jewish food - Spice and Spirit
    For vegetables, eggs and basics - Betty Crocker!

  • ruthy
    27 July 2011 at 14:17 |

    Such interesting suggestions of worthy cookbooks. I too love cookbooks and in Toronto there is a store called The Cookbook Store on Yonge St that is wall-to-wall cookbooks and it's a really great place to visit.

    Not that I am such a tremendous fan per se but I do reference Ina Garten's cookbooks quite a lot for inspiration because the recipes are real, basic, tasty and crowd pleasing.

  • nlevin84
    27 July 2011 at 15:25 |

    best cookbook is "whats cooking"! it has all these basic easy and delicious recipes that always come out gr8! for more differant recipes that arent as simple I love the "dining in" and "dining in again"

  • sheva
    27 July 2011 at 16:11 |

    I use kids in the kitchen and quick and kosher. But I have lots of recipes from the mishpacha magazine. I love recipe books. I am always looking for new ones that are simple.

  • RochelS
    27 July 2011 at 16:33 |

    I love Quick & Kosher!! Easy to follow and good food!!

  • RC
    27 July 2011 at 18:48 |

    My favourite cookbook (that I would like to own) is kosher elegance. I like to think that I'm a good cook but love the idea of tips and ideas with the kosher consumer in mind. As for on a stick.... What could be better than fiddley bits and pieces with gorgeous pictures!

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