Gil Hovav, "Candies from Heaven" (Green Bean Books, 2023)


"Uncle Aron's compliments, which hadn't changed since the days of the Bible, didn't sound so great. One time, he told my mother that she was 'awesome like an army with flags.' Another time, he informed her that 'your nose is like the tower of Lebanon."

Meet the village it took to raise Gil Hovav - colorful aunts and uncles hailing from one of the most respected lineages in the Jewish world (Hovav is the great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew language). This book includes twenty-two funny and heart-warming stories awash with love and longing for the people who raised one skinny and cross-eyed Jerusalemite boy to love poor-man's food, to love proper Hebrew and, most importantly, to love people.

Candies from Heaven
(Green Bean Books, 2023) is dished up with more than twenty delicious family recipes with the seal of approval from Gil Hovav, the man who has played a major role in the remaking of Israeli cuisine and the transformation of Israel from a country of basic traditional foods into a "gourmet nation". Readers get to chuckle at Hovav's amusing recollections and salivate over his family recipes for sweet sour chorba tomato soup and his Aunt Levana's eggplant and feta bourekas. If you've ever wondered how to make hilbeh or slow-cooked eggs (or if you're simply itching to expand your culinary repertoire), this book is for you.

As wholesome and warming as a homecooked meal, Candies from Heaven will appeal to anyone who treasures good food and relationships built on love. Dig in, dear readers, pleasure is served.

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Ari Barbalat

Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.

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