Michael Solomonov & Steve Cook // Israeli Soul
“This is our heritage and this is where we're from. It's part of our lineage, and it's something that we need to like be able to pass down—and I get to explain who my grandmother was by making her pastries with my kids.”
— Michael Solomonov
This week, we're excited to welcome Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook to SALT + SPINE, the podcast on stories behind cookbooks.
Michael and Steven are the award-winning pair behind Philadelphia restaurants Zahav, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, and Federal Donuts. Their first cookbook, Zahav, was widely praised and won Cookbook of the Year from the James Beard Foundation.
In their latest cookbook, Israeli Soul, Michael and Steven travel to Israel—where they ate more than 80 meals in eight days—to highlight some of the “tiny eateries and hole-in-the-wall shops” across the country serving incredible foods. Along with documentary-style photography and modern recipes, the book takes a deep look at Israel’s culinary history and generations of families who have passed down recipes from their heritage, building the young country’s cuisine.
We talked about what the term “Israeli Soul” means; here’s Steven:
The book is also published the same year Israel marks 70 years of statehood, and efforts to promote the young country’s cuisine have sometimes met resistance. Michael responds in our interview:
Plus, we talk with Reem Kassis, author of The Palestinian Table, about the humble friendship she and Michael Solomonov have built recently and how food can assist in discussing complex, difficult topics.
And, we stop by Omnivore Books in San Francisco to chat with Celia Sack.
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Podcast transcripts coming soon.