A look at Cooking for the King: Winning Recipes for Shabbos and Yom Tov
By Malka Winner
Every year, my friend and I have the same conversation.
“This year, my Rosh Hashanah is going to be all about ruchniyus,” she says. “So I’m making the menu very, very simple.”
“But it’s still Yom Tov,” I protest. “And you have to make food for meal after meal, so you must be cooking something.”
“True,” she concedes. “But still, ruchniyus, not gashmiyus, that’s what matters! Right?”
“Right,” I say. “But what about the simanim?”
And round and round we go…
This year that conversation is going to be different. Enter Cooking for the King, a new cookbook that takes care of the gashmiyus—while nourishing the ruchniyus. Cooking for the King by Renee Chernin (Brand Name Publishing, 2013), is more than a cookbook. It’s a guidebook to Rosh Hashanah, and indeed to domestic life throughout the year, from the grocery store to the kitchen to the table—and everywhere in between.
“The woman who, day in and day out, manages and cares for her Jewish home holds the key to eternity,” Chernin writes. She acknowledges that a life of chores and housework “can feel fragmented.” But when you flip through the pages and see the beautiful photographs of Chernin’s easy-to-make dishes, you can’t help but be caught up in her enthusiasm.
Organized around the structure of a holiday meal—starting with salad and ending with dessert—the cookbook makes you want to just get busy planning your own yom tov meals. And with numerous, appetizing-looking options in each section, the most discerning chef—or most simple cook—will find recipes that appeal to her.
Chernin takes normal, everyday ingredients and turns them into foods with flair, whether it’s the Harvest Bisque, with its surprise ingredient (an apple), or the Best Rosh Hashanah Meatballs, which you’ll want to make year-round. She turns simanim into side dishes, soup, and salad, making Rosh HaShanah preparations easier, without all the simanim needing to be made individually. Many of these recipes are also sure to become perennial classics.
The recipes are easy to follow; they were developed with busy wives and mothers in mind, providing prepare-ahead instructions, shelf-life information, menu suggestions, complementary side dishes, and more. Chernin even shares tips on how to organize and prepare in Elul.
But the truth is, this cookbook isn’t just for Elul and Tishrei. It can be used throughout the year. The majority of the recipes, like the Pareve Cream of Zucchini Soup, the Roasted Beet Chips, the Brown Sugar Salmon, the Caramelized Onion Chicken, and Good as Gold Potatoes, to name a few, are ones you’ll want to use time and again, regardless of whether there’s a yom tov on the calendar.
Chernin’s book so aptly demonstrates that one can eat to indulge or one can use food “to build a bridge between heaven and earth.” Cooking for the King builds a bridge between recipes for food and recipes for life. This year, Rosh Hashanah preparations will be different; Cooking for the King is a siman of that!
Click here to order online.