In this extraordinary cookbook, chef and scholar Hélène Jawhara-Piñer combines rich culinary history and Jewish heritage to serve up over fifty culturally significant recipes. Steeped in the history of the Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spain) and their diaspora, these recipes are expertly collected from such diverse sources as medieval cookbooks, Inquisition trials, medical treatises, poems, and literature.
Original sources ranging from the thirteenth century onwards and written in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Occitan, Italian, and Hebrew, are here presented in English translation, bearing witness to the culinary diversity of the Sephardim, who brought their cuisine with them and kept it alive wherever they went. Jawhara-Piñer provides enlightening commentary for each recipe, revealing underlying societal issues from anti-Semitism to social order. In addition, the author provides several of her own recipes inspired by her research and academic studies.
Each creation and bite of the dishes herein are guaranteed to transport the reader to the most deeply moving and intriguing aspects of Jewish history. Jawhara-Piñer reminds us that eating is a way to commemorate the past.
Hélène Jawhara Piñer holds a doctoral degree in Medieval History and the History of Food.
In 2018, she was awarded the Broome & Allen Fellowship of the American Sephardi Federation (asf), dedicated to recognizing outstanding academic accomplishments and services to the Sephardic community, as well as encouraging continued excellence in the field of Sephardi studies.
As a research associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance(CESR) and of the Cooking of Recipes of the Middle Ages (CoReMa) research program in Tours, Dr. Jawhara-Piñer's main research interest is the medieval culinary history of Spain through inter- and multiculturalism, with a special focus on the Jewish culinary heritage in Arabic.
Her recipes have appeared in Sephardi World Weekly, Tablet Magazine, The Forward, and S&P Central's Newsletter. She attended The Great Big Jewish Food Fest (May 2020) as a presenter for an historical-cooking demonstration.
With the collaboration of the ASF, she gives live historical cooking classes for the show "Sephardic Culinary History with Chef Hélène Jawhara Piñer," available on Chaiflix.