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History lesson in Jewish cookbook



There was a time when Jewish citizens were forced to wear special marks on their clothes, and suspected Jews were taken to prison camps and tortured.

This might sound like World War II Germany, but this also happened during the Spanish Inquisition, a time of persecution that lasted 200 years. The cookbook A Drizzle of Honey, by David Gitlitz and Linda Davidson, documents those times. A cookbook? Yes, because one indication of "heresy" was what food was cooked, and when. When Jews were banned from Spain in 1492, much of the Jewish community converted rather than leave, but this converso population was watched for signs of "heresy": cleaning house on Fridays, abstaining from pork or eating chickpeas.

"Drizzle" chronicles both the horrors and the spirit of these "crypto-Jews" by re-creating the traditional foods they ate despite the dangers. It's a brilliant piece of writing, and a tribute.