Some of Israel’s top chefs were on hand at Thursday’s Tel Aviv launch of Joan Nathan’s latest cookbook, “King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World.”
Surrounded by Yisrael Aharoni, Gil Hovav, Sherry Ansky, Amit Aharonson, Uri Jeremias, Gil Schatzberg and Avivit Priel, they sipped Recanati’s Chardonnay and Rosé wines under the umbrellaed outdoor tables of Lehamim, munching on savory pastries made at the flagship bakery and cafe owned by baker Uri Scheft, who was also present with his book, “Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking.”
“We never get to do things like this,” said Scheft, whose chain of Lehamim bakeries includes the Breads Bakery in New York City’s Union Square.
For Nathan, the Israel visit and Tel Aviv book launch — organized by local food writer Adeena Sussman — was an opportunity to do what she loves best, taste and sample food, whether at local haunts, famed restaurants or in the markets of various cities.
(Nathan spent a couple of hours after the launch wandering around the nearby Sarona Market, tasting cheeses, sampling dried fruit and nuts as well as the many flavors of tahini-based halva.)
In “King Solomon’s Table,” she shares over 170 recipes from a diverse array of cultures — all through a Jewish perspective, including some from Israel.
She reflected on her long relationship with Israel and Israeli food, remarking that when she first began coming to visit, “Moroccans ate Moroccan food, Yemenites ate Yemenite food,” said Nathan. “Now it’s all a melting pot.”
Nathan’s first cookbook was “The Flavor of Jerusalem,” which she co-wrote with Judy Stacey Goldman in 1974.
“It was a while back,” she said. “Food and flavors were a different kind of experience back then.”