June 5, 2008
Royal recipes for the ‘princess’ in everyone
"We were tasting our borscht recipe and we thought, 'Why not jack it up a little bit?' So we gave it a kick," Tarn said.
That kick: tomato juice and vodka.
The U.K. duo of Tarn and Fine, lifelong friends and co-authors of "The Jewish Princess Cookbook: Having Your Cake and Eating It" (McBooks Press, $18.95), said they've written the book in the voice of a classic Jewish Princess, or JP, an illustrated character in the book whom the authors describe as their shared alter-ego.
According to the cookbook, which was first published across the pond in 2006, being a JP involves adhering to a princess pledge, like "buying lots of evening shoes and wearing them" and "embracing my mishegosses, because they make me who I am." Most importantly, the JP must always abide by the three Ps: staying positive, productive and princess-like in every way.
Tarn and Fine got the idea for their cookbook after a self-proclaimed midlife crisis. Both were successful in their careers (Tarn was an aerobics trainer, while Fine ran a giftware company), but they wanted to try something new.
"We just had so many ideas and things that we wanted to tell people and get out there," Fine said.
Once the writing began to flow, so did the recipes. While many are family favorites handed down from years past, others are traditional dishes with a JP twist. From the basic Chicken Soup With Knaidelach to the Choca-Challa Pudding, the recipes are user friendly and adhere to a 10-ingredients-or-less requirement.
Tarn and Fine write a regular food column for London's Jewish Chronicle and have appeared on several cooking and morning talk shows in England.
The pair said they wrote "The Jewish Princess Cookbook" with the idea of appealing to modern, younger Jews and non-Jews. Tarn likens the positive response from non-Jewish readers to moviegoers who saw the 2004 word-of-mouth hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
"You came out of that film and you didn't think, 'Oh, I need to be Greek to understand this.'" Tarn said. "You read the 'JPC' and it makes you laugh, you can understand the stories -- they're true stories and they're written with honesty, and people just totally relate to it."
Next up: "The Jewish Princess Cookbook: Feasts and Festivals With Family and Friends," which is due out this September in England.
Drawing on the same tongue-in-cheek voice that pervades the "JPC," Fine offers some parting advice to today's aspiring JPs: "Hold your head up high and say, 'Yes, I am a princess.... Yes, I like nice clothes. Yes I like to entertain. Yes, I like to go out and be cultured.' You know, what is wrong with all these things? These are wonderful attributes!"