Food that was fit for two proud Jewish Princesses
What do Jewish Princesses make for dinner? Reservations – so the old joke goes. When it s put to Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine, authors of the Jewish Princess cookbook and of the forthcoming Jewish Princess, Festivals and Feasts they smile and shrug. They
What do Jewish Princesses make for dinner? Reservations - so the old joke goes.
When it's put to Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine, authors of the Jewish Princess cookbook and of the forthcoming Jewish Princess, Festivals and Feasts they smile and shrug. They believe there are many women who embrace "old traditional [Jewish] values" and who like to "look after their families as well as themselves".
Lifelong friends - since meeting at the age of eight on a summer holiday - Tarn and Fine hope to introduce their take on Jewish foods to a wider audience. Fine would like them to be the "new ambassadors for kosher cooking".
The two have always loved cooking - and do plenty of it, feeding five children (now aged 11 to 19) between them. Recipes were developed and tested in their home kitchens and their first Jewish Princess cookbook was almost fully written before they took it to publishers.
It became Selfridges' 2007 top Christmas bestseller and they're about to launch themselves and that book onto the American market with a gruelling fortnight-long book tour - shopping time scheduled in.
And now the Jewish Festivals book is also with us.
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Tellingly, their cooking heroes don't include the matriarchs of the Jewish cookery world - Claudia Roden, Evelyn Rose et al - but mainstream favourites Jamie Oliver, (Aussie favourite) Bill Granger and Rick Stein, whose books they term 'modern' and 'now'. On the Jewish cooking side, they point to their mothers as their greatest inspiration. So much so they have dedicated this book to them - "Who do you think taught us the meaning of 'self-maintenance'?
The book is a culinary zip through the calendar of religious festivals, a selection of celebrations (Bar Mitzvah's, Bris's (circumcision ceremonies) and weddings plus some feasts to impress your friends. Each section is prefaced with a tongue in cheek page or three from the Princesses. "Hosting the designer dinner party" includes a checklist of items such as checking the oven is actually on and at the right temperature, having "Pink Stuff" in the fridge and making sure your killer heels are comfy. The Festival pages give the Princesses personal take on the Festival's origins. There are plenty of cartoon style illustrations of the manicured Princess at her many occasions but lacks photos of finished dishes.
The Princesses want to encourage "people back to using real food" as Tarn believes many have become "frightened by cooking". These recipes are mostly simple and straightforward. There are the Princesses' takes on Jewish classics like Hamantaschen - filled triangular pastries eaten for Purim, a fancy dress festival celebrated in Spring. Theirs are filled with prunes and chocolate. The dinner party food is a selection of home-style dishes like vegetable lasagne, halibut kebabs. It's all very do-able.