Saturday, December 10th, 2011, at 10:30 AM
at the Los Angeles Public Library
Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library, 630 W. 5th St.
Free and open to the public
Joan Nathan speaking on…
“Food of the Jews of France”
Inspired by her own family history, Ms. Nathan set off to learn more about the often hidden history and foods of French Jews. In writing, she came to understand that French Jews hold the traditions of their region side-by-side with the traditions of Jewish cuisine. Within this rich agricultural country, Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Provençal Jewish food developed side-by-side and often melded with French regional cooking.
While the Jews of Alsace cooked with goose fat and sauerkraut, those of the south cooked with oil and garlic. Since some Jewish families in Provence, for instance, have been there for over two thousand years, it is hard to differentiate Jewish from Provençal food customs. Fougasse – a bread with holes, traditionally mixed, kneaded and shaped at home, then brought to a communal oven for baking – was, for example, the holiday bread for Jews. This diversity of origin goes beyond region and all blends together in the French people, including its Jews.
Joan Nathan is the author of ten cookbooks including the recently published Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Knopf, November 2010). She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine, among other publications. Ms. Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in French literature and earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. For three years she lived in Israel where she worked for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. In 1974, working for Mayor Abraham Beame in New York, she co-founded the Ninth Avenue Food Festival. The mother of three grown children, Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, attorney Allan Gerson.