Bari Weiss of the Wall Street Journal checks out Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz's “The Gefilte Manifesto” in NY1’s The Book Reader.

Most Jews I know are grateful that our ancestors not only saved our lives by fleeing Eastern Europe, but saved our palates as well. Who in their right mind would choose gefilte fish over, say, wild Alaskan salmon? Or opt for schmaltz over good butter? 

But Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, in their new book “The Gefilte Manifesto,” are here to insist that—excuse the pun!—Ashkenazi Jewish food isn’t chopped liver. According to the Brooklyn-based authors, this cuisine is not bland or heavy, but modern and relevant. “We know that gefilte—like borscht and kvass and so many Old World foods—is excellent when done right," they write. "It comes down to the basics of quality, freshness, care and creativity,” they insist.

In the pages of this beautifully written, accessible cookbook, Alpern and Yoskowitz recover and reinvent Eastern European Jewish classics and add a bunch of recipes that likely would have baffled their great-grandparents. Thus there are instructions — and gorgeous photographs — for sour dills, bagels and home-cured pastrami, and yes, gefilte fish three ways. Right alongside these classics are recipes for making Ashkenazi kimchi, root vegetable latkes and dark chocolate and roasted beet ice cream. 

“Rather than attempting to preserve old recipes and soon-to-be-forgotten ingredients,” they write, “we’re presenting an old approach to a new way of eating. Or is it a new approach to an old way of eating?” Either way, it tastes delicious.

Curious to hear more? Go meet the authors Monday Sepember 12th at the JCC on the Upper West Side! They’ll talk about their book and promise some tasty appetizers straight from the pages of “The Gefilte Manifesto.”