Book Review: Tips and Techniques From a Kosher Cooking Expert
Reviewed by Amy Kritzer, Fri., Dec. 14, 2012
Kosher by Design Cooking CoachBy Susie Fishbein (Mesorah Publications, 351 pp., $36.99)
Renowned kosher food expert and cooking teacher Susie Fishbein has come out with perhaps her best cookbook yet. Though Kosher by Design Cooking Coach, the eighth in the Kosher by Design series, includes 120 new recipes – and delicious ones at that – the true novelty is that Fishbein reveals hundreds of her best cooking tips and techniques. She aims to "free the reader from cookbooks" by improving their competence and confidence in the kitchen.
At the beginning of each chapter is a "Game Plan," as a nod to being prepared for the battle of cooking, which gives the readers the tools they need to be successful. Fishbein starts with all the equipment necessary, from knives – and why you only need three – to pans to scales. Other "Game Plans" include useful procedures such as how to assemble and dress a salad, butterfly a chicken, select kosher cuts of meat, and fillet a fish correctly.
But Fishbein certainly doesn't skimp on the recipes in favor of tips. Traditional favorites are interspersed with what are soon to be new classics. The kosher dishes, including Shakshouka, Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Spice Coffee Braised Brisket, and Gooey Walnut Brownie Pie are all tasty, simple, and allow the reader to put new cooking methods to use. All the procedures needed to properly prepare each item are right there in the chapter. She also offers practical ways to reuse leftovers – something rarely, if ever, seen in a cookbook – in addition to plating ideas to ensure the dish looks as good as it tastes. And there are hundreds of beautiful photos to clearly depict each tip or recipe.
Fishbein's seven previous books have provided kosher cooking fans with meals themed for everything from holidays to fickle teens. But the techniques learned in the latest edition give readers the know-how to cook without the book. Fishbein's ten years of class instructor knowledge is packed into this tome. Both kosher and nonkosher food lovers, or just those who want to learn to be more proficient, will find this Cooking Coach to be their new go-to guide.