Photo Credit: Mesorah Publications

Title: Good Food
By Sina Mizrahi
Published by Mesorah Publications

 

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With the holiday season upon us, homemakers and aspiring chefs everywhere are planning menus, reading recipes, and taking stock of their pantries. We are all looking for that unique balance; a mix of the comfortable and the exciting, something new and something old. In the many meals we will serve this season, we aim to incorporate the traditional foods that our families know, love and expect, and maybe something a little exotic to tantalize the palate as well.

Enter Sina Mizrahi’s beautiful new cookbook, Good Food. An amalgam of the recipes of her childhood, Sina gives us a glimpse into the flavors of Sephardic cooking. As the daughter of Libyan and Moroccan parents and married into a family which contains Turkish, Syrian and Moroccan backgrounds, the fragrances and flavors of these faraway places are redolent in her recipes. She balances that with her upbringing in Canada and her current residence with her own young family in New Jersey. The result of this cultural diversity is a cookbook with Muhammara and Libyan Mafrum resting side by side with Working Mama Meatballs and Pretzel Chicken Strips.

Sina’s cookbook is not just a pleasure for the palate, it’s a feast for the eyes as well. The photography and styling were done by Sina herself and reflect her aesthetic – simple, accessible and fresh. The recipes are heavy on herbs and spices, and Sina offers a guide to making your own spice blends and an explanation of the flavor profiles of herbs and spices.

The book has a little something for everyone, with a mix of recipes at varying levels of difficulty and skill, many of which are suitable for a simple family dinner but can also be dressed up for guests or holiday meals. Sina stresses that her recipes are guidelines to be used and adapted, to fit the needs of your own family. To that end, she includes tips, tricks, and ideas for substitutions where possible.

When I met Sina at the cookbook launch for Fleishig magazine and asked her what her message was for readers, she told me that when she first considered writing a cookbook, a friend advised her: “There are a million cookbooks out there. Write the one that you would use to teach your daughter how to cook.” And that’s exactly what she did.

Exotic Middle Eastern cooking can sometimes feel intimidating and inaccessible to a person who grew up on farfel and tzimmes. With this lovely new cookbook, Sina offers us a taste from the table of her Mediterranean kitchen and shows us all that we too can expand our culinary horizons!

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Yael Zoldan is an author of literary essays and children's picture books. Her popular Shimmy Shambone children's series is available in bookstores and online.