Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Sivan 5761 - June 6, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
For the Love of Cooking
The Delights of Kosher Middle Eastern Cuisine for Novices and Gourmets

by Rae Dayan
Reviewed by Linda Dayan

"My greatest desire is to teach others that through the care and love that a woman puts into her meals, her table becomes the heart of the home, from which all those around it derive warmth and pleasure. I gain great satisfaction from teaching the energetic generation, who are just starting families, that cooking and serving can bring close ties among all family members." (Excerpt from "For the Love of Cooking.")

Most of us have our favorite recipes and we make them over and over again. That's because our families like them. That's probably also because they are not lots of work to prepare (well, usually...). No, we aren't looking for long, confusing ideas; we get tired just reading the ingredients and would not dream of `whipping up' such dishes. When we think of Sephardic cooking, we really get apprehensive. Somehow, we don't connect `exotic' with `easy'.

Then along comes Rae Dayan and breaks all the rules. She's been cooking and loving it for over 50 years. Everyone who has ever merited eating in her home can attest to how delicious the meals are. But the best part is that the young brides in her cooking class can tell you how they love the simplicity of the recipes (and hearing how their husbands enjoy their wife's new skills). She takes pride in the fact that a woman does not have to spend hours upon hours in her kitchen in order to serve a flavorful and beautiful meal.

After many, many years of cooking and teaching, she finally decided to answer the request of many: "Why don't you write your own cookbook already?" Now we are also the fortunate ones who can benefit.

"The Love of Cooking" published by Targum Press can now give you the chance to expand your cooking options. Many have the misconception that Sephardic cooking is spicy. These recipes are not spicy but very full of flavor. Take a fragrant stroll through this easy-to-follow book. Start with some interesting appetizers that are sure to beautify your table, especially in honor of Shabbos. And save you money, as well.

Try pickling peppers and carrots and other bet-you-never- thought-of vegetables. The process took me about 15 minutes preparation time and after two days, we had a nice variety of pickles to choose from. Dive into her soup section and learn a new twist on chicken soup. Rice is nice, but with Rae Dayan, it's more than that. You can add nuts, peas or chickpeas to liven up this otherwise basic bland dish. The real Sephardic flavor peeks through when we start stuffing vegetables. That's a Shabbos specialty that my children wait for.

So after you treat yourself to this wonderful delight of culinary ideas, treat yourself to compliments galore. Then you can sneak into the kitchen, giggle humbly and say to yourself, "Rae Dayan, thanks!"


Pickling liquid:

6 cups water

2 cups vinegar

4 tbsps. coarse salt

4 green peppers

4 stalks celery

6 cloves garlic

2 lbs. carrots


In a bowl, mix water, vinegar and salt.

Cut green peppers in slices, lengthwise.

Chop 2 stalks celery in 1 inch pieces and halve 3 cloves of garlic.

Place green pepper, celery and garlic into a 2 quart jar and add half of the vinegar mixture. Seal tightly and immediately refrigerate.

Leave in refrigerator for 2 days before serving. Keeps indefinitely in frig.


Peel and slice carrots into 1/2 inch diagonals.

Chop 2 remaining stalks of celery into 1 inch pieces and halve remaining 3 garlic cloves.

Place carrots, celery and garlic in a 2 quart jar and add remaining half of the vinegar mixture. Seal jar tightly and refrigerate for 2 days.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.