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The Way to a City’s Heart - A Book Review

TEL AVIV FOOD by Debrah Marcus

Self-published, 2015 Softback. 112 pages.
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Reviewed by Vera Freudmann

The title on the cover of this book is 'Tel Aviv Food' but could equally well be 'Celebrating Tel Aviv'.

Debrah Marcus has written a hymn to her beloved city. The peg on which she chooses to hang this beautifully produced softback is the food of Tel Aviv, and indeed there are recipes on almost every page. There are also many photographs of Tel Aviv itself, some of them over a double-page spread. The location photography is outstanding, illustrating Tel Aviv's vibrant non-stop culture and renowned architecture. There are fewer food photos but the dishes shown look enticing and colorful.

Ms. Marcus's passion for her city is obvious, as is her love of its culinary traditions. In a foreword, she explains that her aim was not to write an haute cuisine cookery book; rather to showcase the food that Tel Avivians eat daily, made with ingredients which are readily available in local supermarkets, corner shops and open-air markets. So what you will find here are dishes you probably know, many of them typical of the food found all over Israel, some with a special twist or the author's own personal take on a familiar item.

The book is divided into sections, pairing aspects of Tel Aviv life with the courses of a meal. In the first section, 'Culture – Soups', we find soups featuring Israel's abundant fruits and vegetables; avocados, oranges, peppers, tomatoes. The second section deals with 'Architecture – Starters' and here you will find a recipe for smoked mackerel pate which sounds delicious and looks easy to prepare. The third section, 'Recreation – Salads', is, not surprisingly, the longest one and has suggestions for the familiar and the unfamiliar, some with cute titles such as Looks Aren't Everything Mustard Potato Salad and Not Necessarily Chinese Cabbage. The 'Business' section is paired with 'Main Courses' and offers a variety of dairy and meat recipes. On one double-page spread you can find recipes for Everyday Schnitzel and Not Your Everyday Schnitzel, which look utterly delicious. And finally, 'Nightlife – Desserts' (what else?) comes up with some favorites and some intriguing ideas new to me, at least, such as Not Quite Ice Cream. And I can't wait to try the Dependable Lemon Meringue Pie; the recipe looks so much easier and quicker than the one I currently use. Or don't, because it takes so long to make!

This book would make a wonderful gift. It would appeal to anyone living in Israel but still unsure of how to prepare the native food of their adopted country. And it would make a particularly excellent gift for friends and relatives abroad. The alluring photos of Tel Aviv and its food might well lead to a desire to experience these in person. But even if this book remains on a kitchen shelf or on a coffee table, it will be a decorative and informative photo guide to Tel Aviv's food and architecture, pleasing to anyone who opens it.

Tel Aviv FOOD can be purchased directly from the author, Debrah Marcus, at NIS90 – tel: 050 770 0740; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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