Monday, January 14, 2013

New Book: Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook

Be quick! Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook retold by Jane Yolen; recipes by Heidi E.Y. Stemple; illustrations by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin is back in stock at Amazon. It has been mostly out of stock since its release date a week ago so I haven't talked about it yet here. I was also looking for a table of contents and didn't find it. It has to be somewhere--I just haven't found it with an easy search, all I have time for these days.

Anyway, I'm not Jewish but I enjoy Jewish folklore and realize that a goodly portion of my larger folklore purchases the past year have been Jewish folklore related. I'll need to write more posts on The Heart Is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale (Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology) and the three volume set starting with Folktales of the Jews, Vol. 1: Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion. So much so that I have been acquiring the three volumes, still need the first one because I always seem to work in reverse. I started with the third volume thanks to Cinderella and other research. All are wonderful books, some of the best I've used when it comes to Jewish folklore. When I get a chance to splurge again, I'll acquire it.

But this is about much lighter and edible reading. So onto the book description:

Master storyteller Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple have teamed up to bring the magic of their acclaimed Fairy Tale Feasts to the time-honored and delicious traditions of Jewish storytelling and cuisine. Here you’ll find Yolen’s dynamic, enchanting retellings of Jewish tales from around the world paired with Stemple’s recipes—for everything from challah to matzo brei to pomegranate couscous, tzimmes chicken, and rugelah, in creative versions of classic dishes that any family will delight in cooking together. And Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts is more than collection of stories and recipes: Yolen and Stemple imagine their readers as co-conspirators. Throughout they share fun facts and anecdotes about the creation of the stories and the history of the dishes, designed to encourage future cooks and storytellers to make up their own versions. Readers of all ages will learn about Jewish folktales, culture, and cooking, all the while captivated by the humor and wisdom of these enduring stories (and ready to eat!).

All the stories have been retold by the amazingly prolific Jane Yolen, who has been called “America’s Hans Christian Andersen.” She is the distinguished author of over 200 books, including Fairy Tale Feasts, Owl Moon and Devil’s Arithmetic. Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that “throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture.” Folklore is the “perfect second skin,” writes Yolen. “From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world.” Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: “I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told.”

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