The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition
By Amelia Saltsman, foreword by Deborah Madison, photography by Staci Valentine
“This could be my perfect book. Cultural Jewish cooking at its best—so many intriguing recipes—combined with fascinating history, personal family anecdotes, and an emphasis on great seasonal ingredients. In the same way that Marcella Hazan made authentic Italian cooking come to life for non-Italians, Amelia’s new work could have non-Jews preparing dishes like schmaltz-roasted potatoes, Tunisian lemon salad with harissa, salt-grilled chickpeas, and tzimmes every night!”
—Ari Weinzweig, founding partner, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Guided by the Jewish calendar, Amelia divides the book into six micro-seasons that highlight the deep connection of Jewish traditions to the year’s cycles. Today’s sustainability and gleaning projects are founded in the agricultural and social justice lessons of the Bible, and it’s no coincidence that holiday foods are seasons- based—the spring herbs of Passover, for instance, or the autumn pomegranates and apples of Rosh Hashanah. Whether you’re Jewish or not, observant or not, Ashkenazic or Sephardic, this yearlong culinary journey through the Diaspora will have you saying, “This is Jewish food? Who knew?” Want to learn more? Amelia answers 5 questions about The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen.
“Amelia Saltsman has a warmth and a vibrancy that comes through beautifully in this book; her recipes capture the aliveness of ripe, seasonal ingredients, the importance of our farmers, and the diversity of flavors in Jewish food.”
—Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, author of The Art of Simple Food
Already in its second printing, The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen is one of The Washington Post’s Highly Recommended Cookbooks of 2015; an NPR Here & Now 2015 Favorite; one of Zester Daily’s Top 5 Jewish Cookbooks; LA Weekly’s 10 LA Cookbooks for Foodies; a 2015 KCRW Cookbook Club selection; and received a starred review in Library Journal. The book is consistently an Amazon #1 bestseller in its category.
“In this gorgeous book, Amelia Saltsman draws on deep familial ties in Europe and the Middle East to arrive at a modern reinterpretation of Jewish cuisine. Bringing a fresh sensibility to the best Old World delicacies, Saltsman’s seasonal and surprisingly light recipes form the core of the cookbook we’ve all been waiting for. You’ll never view Jewish food quite the same again.”
—Sam Fromartz, author of the award winning In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey
Writer, teacher, and author of The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition and the award-winning The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm, Amelia Saltsman is passionate about helping everyday cooks make the connection between small-farmed foods and real-life meals. In her warm style, Amelia streamlines today’s desire for healthier, sustainable foods; the need to get dinner on the table; and the longing for rich holiday traditions into one seamless whole.
Amelia’s name is synonymous with intuitive, seasonal cooking, and as the Los Angeles-born daughter of a Romanian mother and Iraqi father who were raised in Israel, her food reflects the bold, diverse flavors of her eclectic background. Amelia’s books have made numerous “best” lists, including The Washington Post, Cooking Light, and KCRW’s Good Food, and she has been featured in such diverse outlets as Parade Magazine, Yahoo! Food, Food52, Fit Pregnancy, Vegetarian Times, US Airways, USA Today, Jewish Chronicle of London, The Jerusalem Post, and Los Angeles magazine. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Kitchn, Cooking Light, Huffington Post, Jewish Journal, National Geographic Traveler, and more. Amelia is a frequent guest on KCRW’s Good Food and has appeared on Good Day L.A. Known as an energetic and inspiring teacher, she teaches at such venues as Google’s corporate offices and Rancho La Puerta.
A long-time champion of local family farms, fair food, and farmers’ markets, Amelia is committed to raising the food literacy rate: knowing how, where, and by whom our food is grown; knowing how to cook a simple, healthy meal; and understanding the historical, local, and global impact our food choices have on our families and communities. Amelia served ten years on the California Certified Farmers’ Markets Advisory Committee and Direct Marketing Task Force; contributed to The Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues; and empowers people to confidently “read” their farmers’ markets.
“Great taste and good farming practices go hand in hand,” says Amelia. “When the raw ingredients taste good, it’s the most obvious sign that our food has been grown sustainably and locally, and that it’s at its freshest and most nutritious.”
She’s captured a world of Jewish food through the lens of her diverse family traditions and her own intuitive cooking style, and the result is food that we want to eat now—fresh and modern yet somehow still authentic and comforting.
The recipes are approachable, unique, and weave seamlessly into any kitchen, and the stories are deeply personal and relatable no matter what your background. With “The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen,” Amelia draws us into her culture with the warmest open arms, and the most alluring aromas.
Her seasonally based Jewish cookbook makes the old new again … In her world, recipes are not simply meals — they’re family heirlooms. And cooking them conjures nothing less than life itself.
It’s as if the canon of cultural Jewish cooking has been waiting for her informed infusion of vivid seasonal ingredients.
“The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen” is the book that could make anyone fall in love with Jewish food.
Almost every page makes me want to rush to the kitchen and start making her recipes.