The latest Phaidon exploration of cooking and culture is The Jewish Cookbook (Phaidon, $49.95), by Leah Koenig, author of several highly praised books, including Modern Jewish Cooking. Her latest work has all of the Jewish recipes you’d expect: gefilte fish, latkes, dumplings, and kugels, as well as many dishes influenced by a wide range of international tastes, reflecting the diverse population of contemporary Jewry. This diasporic quality comes through in recipes from Morocco to Mexico, as well as one for Groundnut Stew, from the Abayudaya, a small Jewish community in Eastern Uganda. The sheer volume of recipes Koenig has gathered makes this a stand-out collection. In addition, the dishes are clearly labeled for readers who want specifically vegetarian, vegan, dairy, or gluten free foods, making this a handy and reliable reference.
Stephen Markley’s debut novel Ohio (Simon & Schuster, $27), set in a small Northeastern Ohio town, depicts a community deeply affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the great recession, and the opioid crisis that has gripped middle America. As four former high school classmates all come home with various motives, we learn what happened to all of them, propelling them to a violent resolution.
In Andre Dubus III’s novel, Gone So Long (W.W. Norton, $27.95), a man who spent most of his life in prison after an act of impulsive violence seeks out the daughter he was separated from forty years earlier. Dubus, who is excellent in exploring the psychological and moral dimensions of his characters, describes the two characters’ paths toward an inevitable and frightening mental/emotional collision.