This essay examines five significant cookbooks published between 1990 and 2000 to determine the relation between the sharp increase in emphasis during the 1990s on kashrut, on the Jewish dietary laws, in the introductions and recipes of commercially published American Jewish cookbooks, and the concomitant "discovery," during the same period and in many of the same books, of a distinctively Jewish cuisine. I argue that these cookbooks fashioned a symbolic Jewish interpretive community, a kashrut nation, which justified and explained Jewish cuisine and forwarded a collective identity roomy enough for most American Jews. Such a kashrut nation also makes clear how contemporary anxiety about Jewish affiliation and Jewish continuity was assuaged through a renewed interest in cookbooks, and in the end illustrates how U.S. cultural and economic power was drafted in service of selling, and branding, a new Jewish cultural production.


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pp. 65-91
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