The World Religions Cookbook
by Arno Schmidt, Paul Fieldhouse
May 2007, 296pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33504-4
$61, £47, 54€, A84
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34263-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Expect high demand for this one-stop volume that overviews the world’s major religions in turn, explains dietary restrictions, provides a host of recipes for the religion’s holidays and events, and offers insight into what the religion’s founder or major figures might have eaten.

Food is central to daily religious practice and holiday celebrations the world over. For instance, Orthodox Jews keep kosher, Muslims feast after fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, and Hindus leave food offerings in the temple for the dieties. For many, food is seen as nourishment for the body and soul. This cookbook illuminates the food practices of followers of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. The narrative and nearly 300 recipes give a flavor of what is often eaten for sacred occasions and why. This volume will be useful for a range of cooks and purposes. It is targeted to middle school age to adults. Those looking for more and different recipes for religion class assignments and International Week Food Festival or even for browsing will be richly rewarded with a one-stop resource.

Each chapter covers a religion or two with similar food practices. A brief overview of the religion is followed by a discussion of any dietary restrictions. Then the recipes are organized by holiday or special occasion, featuring from appetizers to desserts. Recipes are culled from a variety of countries and cultures where the religion is practiced. The recipes are contextualized and have clear instructions for the novice cook. A final section in some chapters allows readers to recreate what the religion’s founder or major figures might have eaten during their lifetime. A glossary defines what might be unfamiliar cooking terms and food and kitchen items. An introduction, list of recipes, conversion measurements, bibliography, index, and illustrations round out the cookbook.


"Fieldhouse and chef Schmidt compile approximately 280 recipes from the traditions of Buddhism and Shintoism (e.g. Myanmar tomato soup with lemon grass), Christianity (Italian Christmas salad), Hinduism and Sikhism (steamed rice in banana leaves), Islam (pomegranate mint tea), and Judaism (matzo kugel with apples). The book is introduced with a discussion of religion and food choice and a comparison between the food rituals of the different faiths. Each following chapter offers more detail on the role of food for each religion's followers. A glossary is included."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2007

"We are the ideal person to buy this book: Our mothers household celebrated every holiday for which a great meal could be cooked. Jewish or Christian: All days with a significant meal were celebrated. Our understanding of the reason for the holiday was based not on an awareness of the significance of St. Patrick or Cinco de Mayo, but of what was eaten to celebrate it. . . . An introduction to the history and beliefs of the religion opens each culinary chapter; the book supplies handy tools like a glossary and a chart of comparative dietary laws. While you can buy other cookbooks that explore festive Jewish, Hindu or Christian cooking, for example, no other cookbook provides such a lovely family guide to discuss religions, learn about the special holidays in each and to appreciate people who are different from us using the very incentive everyone can agree on: good food."—The Nibble, June 1, 2007

"The World Religions Cookbook is a needed addition to the literature of cookery and the culture of religions. Unlike most religious cookbooks it is not centered on any one faith but is ecumenical in its coverage. . . . the book will serve the clientele of academic and public libraries. Since there are many variations in religious dietary restrictions, readers will use this book to identify appropriate recipes and to share a covered dish. . . . this cookbook is helpful in avoiding gaffes and accommodating the religious needs of others. Moreover, The World Religions Cookbook helps the user actively prepare the universal gift of friendship -- food. . . . There are many uses for this book. It will satisfy the curiosity of those interested in other cultures as well as help bring people of disparate faiths together. . . . Books like The World Religions Cookbook help to increase understanding across cultures, and this one is accessible and practical. It will serve libraries and readers of all types."—Against the Grain, June 1, 2009
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