This month’s Kosher Connection recipe link-up is dedicated to cookbook author and food historian Rabbi Gil Marks. To honor him, we are offering up our best “get well” recipes, along with our heartfelt wishes for him to have a refuah shelaimah.
Every kosher food blogger is indebted to Gil for pioneering in kosher food journalism. Before we were all blogging, before there was a Joy of Kosher Magazine, there was The Kosher Gourmet Magazine. Gil was way ahead of his time with this magazine, which he launched in the late eighties. (As you can see from the above photo, I still have back issues of the magazine. I regularly make the cranberry applesauce from the Cheshavan-Kislev 5748 issue. I highly recommend this recipe for Thanksgiving or Chanukah.)
In the late nineties, Gil began publishing a series of cookbooks: The World of Jewish Cooking, The World of Jewish Entertaining and The World of Jewish Desserts. His next collection of traditional Ashkenazi and Sephardic recipes had a twist: all the recipes were vegetarian. This inventive book, Olive Trees and Honey, won a James Beard award.
Gil’s books are characterized not only by a tremendous curiosity about global Jewish cuisine, but also by a scholarliness about the origin of recipes. His most recent book, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, is a fascinating read. I treasure my copies of his books for their fascinating information and practical recipes. His book on entertaining has very valuable advice for planning large gatherings (see the chapter, “Guide for the Perplexed Host”).
I had the privilege to take a class with Gil in the late nineties and found him to be a charming as well as knowledgeable teacher.
Back in 2010, when Gil had just released his Encyclopedia, I sent him a query about a Ukrainian cookie called Kosicky or Koshyky. He was very nice about it. He promptly e-mailed me back, telling me that he hadn’t heard of the cookie, and that he asked his Ukrainian contacts, and was not able to get the recipe from them, either. Rather than give me nothing, he sent a recipe for a Ukranian butter cookie called Kolachka, and gave some sage advice about prying the recipe from my friend’s mother. So kind!
For this linkup, I am offering a quick and easy recipe for vegetable miso soup along with my wishes for Gil to have a speedy recovery.