“You could say the relationship was cemented with lox and cream cheese,” says Chef Todd Gray of the first introduction to his future father-in-law.
The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes, co-written by the now-married duo Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, is peppered with food-centric family anecdotes just like this one. But more than that, the project boasts stunning photography and pages upon pages of contemporary notes on classic Jewish dishes. This is where fresh, seasonal, modern American cuisine meets traditional Jewish cooking.
The New Jewish Table is a cookbook first, yes, but it’s also a nod to the duo’s background—Ellen’s family is Jewish; Todd’s is Episcopalian. Born of this blended background is a new, shared perspective, and the book reads like a conversation among friends. Todd and Ellen apply their own two cents to each recipe, many of which have been passed down from their own families.
In fact, The New Jewish Table is all about family history. This book is a celebration of the heritage of food, the way we respect and cherish that heritage—but also the way we tweak it from time to time to keep things interesting, featuring recipes like “Not Exactly Aunt Lil’s Matzo Ball Soup,” pictured on the cover, and the three gorgeous recipes shared below.
—By Alissa Harb