Sure, the children\’s shelves at bookstores are crowded with schlocky merchandising tie-ins and humorless \”P.C.\” stories that groan under the weight of their own environmental and multi-culti lessons. But look a bit more carefully; you\’ll find the kinds of books that create those magical moments between adults and children.
I love cookbooks, but on lazy summer days, I usually read fiction — few cookbooks are engaging enough to replace a good novel. And when I go into the kitchen at all, it\’s usually just to stand in front of the open freezer. But when I do find a cookbook that captures me, cooking with it is just a plus.
You can write a decent Jewish cookbook by collecting the recipes of decent Jewish cooks, or you can write a truly fine Jewish cookbook by compiling the recipes of fine cooks who happen to be Jewish. Make sense? It will when you consider two of the newest entries to the Jewish cooking market.
The author has managed to pack an awesomely dense amount ofclichés, stale humor and annoyingly cute literary mannerismsonto each page, but the end product is curiously weightless.
For the next few weeks, you will be hearing about girls and sex. \”Oprah,\” \”Leeza,\” \”Charlie Rose,\” The New York Times, even The Jewish Journal — media great and small will focus airwaves and inches on a topic that, while hardly new, rarely gets serious, sustained attention.
As a writer, Frankiel is co-author of the recently published \”Minding the Temple of the Soul,\” as well as \”The Voice of Sarah,\” an elegantly written response to the notion that traditional Judaism is the sound of only men talking.
Remember that great scene in \”Inherit the Wind,\” when Clarence Darrow asks William Jennings Bryan if a book that details rape, incest, slaughter, nudity and sodomy should be banned? The fundamentalist Bryan answers, \”Of course!\” and Darrow, with a flourish, whips out a copy of the Bible and declares, \”Then you must ban this book!\”