"My sister-in-law stuffs Thanksgiving turkeys with a matzah ball mixture," says Faye Levy, food columnist and author of 14 cookbooks. "Instead of making patties and poaching them, she cooks this tasty mixture inside the turkey."
This never struck Levy as odd, because her mother used to make noodle pudding on Thanksgiving.
"Her Thanksgiving dinners were almost like Shabbat meals," she says.
One of Levy's all-time favorite dishes is Thanksgiving potato kugel with asparagus. "I first tried it at the home of a friend from Colorado," she says, explaining that it was his grandmother's recipe.
"In his family, that dish was the essence of Thanksgiving."
"Adventures in Jewish Cooking" by Jeffrey Nathan (Clarkson Potter, $32.50).
When it comes to kosher fine dining, chef Jeffrey Nathan of New York's Abigael's restaurants wrote the book. Now, just in time for Rosh Hashana, he's written "Adventures in Jewish Cooking," a collection of innovative recipes that redefine kosher as a world-class cuisine.
Because my ancestors were from Eastern Europe, specifically Latvia, Lithuania and Vilna, I am Ashkenazi. Just as I thought all Jews spoke Yiddish, a language I delight in because it's so colorful, I grew up thinking Jewish cooking was my mother's brisket and carrot tzimmes, my Granny Fanny's chopped liver and my Aunt Dorothy's blintzes with sour cream. That's not to mention the dishes my brothers and I used to giggle about because their names were so amusing -- knaidlach, kreplach and knishes.
Jewish-themed cookbooks appear in a frenzy about a month before Passover, then die off by May. Mainstream cookbooks also try to cash in on the warming weather's ability to make us imagine nectarine tarts and heirloom tomato salads, long before winter comes to the Chilean tomato export market.