Academic Studies Press is pleased to congratulate Hélène Jawhara Piñer on two years since the publication of her cookbook, Sephardi: Cooking the History! To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of our favorite reviews and media of the book from the past two years.

Food has so [much] power. … When you have lost everything… you cook and you eat to remember.

— BBC, The Food Chain

In this extraordinary cookbook, which is also a winner of the 2021 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Prize for Best Jewish Cuisine Book, chef and scholar Hélène Jawhara-Piñer combines rich culinary history and Jewish heritage to serve up over fifty culturally significant recipes.

Each creation and bite of the dishes herein are guaranteed to transport the reader to the most deeply moving and intriguing aspects of Jewish history. Piñer reminds us that eating is a way to commemorate the past.

— Julie Giuffrida, Los Angeles Times

“The recipes in Sephardi reflect the lush and multifaceted culinary traditions of the Iberian Peninsula, influenced by Celtic, Iberian, Roman-Mediterranean, Germanic and North African flavors and techniques. Many of the recipes are the first recorded versions of dishes that are still made today — peot (challah), adefina (Sabbath stew), puchero (chicken soup) and even matzo — albeit with some modernized techniques.”

— Jewish Book Council

“Can you tell if someone’s Jew­ish from how they pre­pare their food? Can you tell a Sephar­di from an Ashke­nazi by what they are eat­ing? Had major Jew­ish thinkers, like Mai­monides, have any­thing to say about food, apart from dis­cussing kashrut? Hélène Jawhara Piñer has spent years research­ing such ques­tions and now offers read­ers a tasty Sephar­di buf­fet — some fifty recipes of the Jews of Spain and their dias­po­ra, from the thir­teenth cen­tu­ry onwards — as a frame­work for her answers.”

BBC’s World’s Table

“Simply put, she is the person chefs, like Zahav’s Michael Solomonov, go to when working with Sephardic cuisine.” “Fried foods are the norm when celebrating Hanukkah, and the Sephardic “isfenğ” is no exception, packed with as much history as crunch.” “This year, take a trip back to 13th Century al-Andalus (modern-day Andalusia, Spain) when Jews – and Muslims – both indulged in isfenğ.”

— Sheldon Kirshner, Times of Israel

“Hélène Jawhara Piñer’s cookbook, Sephardi: Cooking the History, is unique. … Published by Cherry Orchard Books, an imprint of Academic Studies Press, this is a volume worthy of its distinctiveness. The recipes in this unusual volume are derived from eclectic historical sources ranging from medieval cookbooks and literature to poetry and Inquisition trials. … Lavishly-illustrated… the recipes are straight-forward and easy to follow. … These are mouth-watering dishes that have passed the test of time and are still prepared in Sephardi households.”

Jewish News: Food & Travel

“Hélène Jawhara Piñer, who has a PhD in history, medieval history and the history of food, has meticulously researched the history of the Sephardic Jews. Using sources from the 13th century onwards, such as medieval cookbooks, Inquisition trials and poems, she has recreated recipes (adapted for modern cooks) and created new ones to ‘bear witness to the culinary richness of the Sephardim, conversos, who were able to bring their cuisines to life wherever they went’. A feast for the senses as well as the memory.”

Events & Media

Bring the rich Sephardic culinary tradition into your own kitchen, and try out three recipes from Sephardi: Cooking the History excerpted on Converso Fish Pie; Berenjenas Confitadas Con Canela and Jewish Book Council: Muhal­labiyye (almond rice pudding).

Hélène Jawhara Piñer discusses Sephardi: Cooking the History with Mike Solomonov in a virtual conversation hosted by the National Museum of American Jewish History on November 17, 2021.
Feature in TABLE Magazine: Eat to Remember
Hélène Jawhara Piñer cooks from Sephardi: Cooking the History and discusses Sephardic culinary history with Rob Eshman from The Forward in a virtual conversation co-hosted by the Jewish Arts Collaborative of Boston and The Forward.
Interview with Hélène Jawhara Piñer in Forward: The deepest secrets of Sephardic cooking are buried here