Jewish food is almost too huge a topic to be covered exhaustively, but Goodman, the "Food Maven" columnist at the Forward, takes a decent stab at it by dividing his book into chapters on appetizers, soups, fish, eggs and dairy, poultry, meat, kugels, breads, and desserts and interspersing them with essays pertaining to peoples, ingredients and dishes. For example, in the chapter on fish, Goodman spotlights a Jewish community in Northern Morocco, where one woman saved the almost lost language Jaquetia (a combination of Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Berber). A recipe for Pescado en Colorado (fish in tomato sauce with peppers and paprika), popular in that region, follows. In the poultry chapter, a piece on pomegranates explores the contention that the fruit on the tree of knowledge was not an apple, but a pomegranate; readers then find a recipe for Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce with Walnuts and Figs. In the soup chapter, an essay on chicken soup looks at the dish's legendary healing properties and also at how variations developed in Greece, Turkey, Iraq, Italy and Yemen (instructions for making chicken soups from Eastern Europe, India and Iraq follow). Goodman deftly tackles his vast subject with these enlightening, engaging essays, which, coupled with the volume's 170 recipes, make for a fine tribute to Jewish cuisine. 2-color illus. throughout. Agent, Bill Clegg. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.