This is my favorite kind of cookbook: personal, welcoming, and absolutely delicious. As much a narrative of Shaya’s life (from Israel to Philadelphia, Italy to New Orleans) as a collection of recipes, the warmth and quality of his writing had me reading this book cover to cover like a novel. That Shaya’s food (Southern-Israeli-Italian) shines even brighter than his exceptional prose is no surprise, as he is an acclaimed restaurateur and a two-time James Beard Award winner. But what has caught me off guard is how much this book lingers in my mind even when I’m nowhere near the kitchen. - S.B.