"She is a writer, historian, anthropologist, and extraordinary cook, but above all she is a tireless custodian of a wonderfully rich culture."
— Alice Waters
What is Jewish cooking in France? In a journey that was a labor of love, Joan Nathan traveled the country to discover the answer and, along the way, unearthed a treasure trove of recipes and the often moving stories behind them.
Nathan takes us into kitchens in Paris, Alsace, and the Loire Valley; she visits the bustling Belleville market in Little Tunis in Paris; she breaks bread with Jewish families around the observation of the Sabbath and the celebration of special holidays. All across France, she finds that Jewish cooking is more alive than ever: traditional dishes are honored, yet have acquired a certain French finesse. And completing the circle of influences: following Algerian independence, there has been a huge wave of Jewish immigrants from North Africa, whose stuffed brik and couscous, eggplant dishes and tagines—as well as their hot flavors and Sephardic elegance—have infiltrated contemporary French cooking.
All that Joan Nathan has tasted and absorbed is here in this extraordinary book, rich in a history that dates back 2,000 years and alive with the personal stories of Jewish people in France today.
"When Joan Nathan decides to dig into Jewish heritage anywhere in the world, we readers should just fasten our seat belts and get ready for a glorious ride. Discovering the unexpected, meticulous research and superb recipes hallmark all of Joan's work, but this book may be the most intriguing. She opened the door to what you might call a secret cuisine of France, and to stories we've never heard before. On any given day, you'll have to debate over taking this book to a big comfortable reading chair, or propping it up next to the stove. I am doing both."
— Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table
"It’s a pure pleasure to follow Joan Nathan’s culinary journey through the cities, towns, and back roads of France. This is a comprehensive book, overflowing with adventures, charming photographs, and alluring fare."
— Patricia Wells, author of "Salad as a Meal"
"Joan Nathan offers a feast for the mind as well as the senses. Quiches, Kugels and Couscous is not only a culinary tour through Jewish cooking in France, but also a cultural history, a memoir of the author’s love affair with French and Jewish cooking, and an ethnographic exploration of contemporary Jewish identity in France by way of the kitchen. I’ve learned a lot, and especially love the North African recipes!"
— Susan Rubin Suleiman, Harvard University, author of "Crises of Memory and the Second World War"
"Documenting traditions, recipes, and rituals ensures their survival; it is vital work. Joan Nathan’s beautiful new book goes to the heart of French Jewish life. She is a writer, historian, anthropologist, and extraordinary cook, but above all she is a tireless custodian of a wonderfully rich culture. "
— Alice Waters
"I have loved cooking with and for Joan Nathan for years. She always reminds us that no matter how, what or where you cook, it will reflect your cultural heritage. Here, with so much depth and humanity, Joan shows how two great cultures intersect in the kitchen, resulting in wonderful flavors and stories. Inspiring!"
— Daniel Boulud