King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World
Driven by a passion for discovery, King Solomon is said to have sent ships to all corners of the ancient world, initiating a mass cross-pollination of culinary cultures that continues to bear fruit today. In this compelling and one-of-a-kind program, Joan Nathan shares how she uncovered the story of King Solomon and traced the history and ingredients that span millennia and took her on travels from India to France, from Italy to Mexico, from El Salvador to Israel and, of course, all across North America. In a talk that is both eye-opening and humorous, Nathan takes audiences behind the pages of her bestselling and critically acclaimed cookbook, King Solomon’s Table, revealing King Solomon as the first "foodie" and showcasing a dazzling diversity of culinary tradition more than three thousand years old. Chock-full of fascinating historical details, personal histories, and fantastic stories of food, Nathan’s talk ultimately provides a true panorama of Jewish culture and history.
History of Jewish Food
There is no one more able to address this topic, weaving the past, the present, and popular Jewish dishes into one fascinating lecture from ancient Babylonia to the present time with an explosion of interest in Israeli and Jewish food around the world. This has been Joan’s professional life and she loves to pass on her information to those who want this continuity in their lives. She can gear this talk to any holiday as well. It is always enhanced with recipes from her books.
Joan’s Life with Food
From a year living in France, to her first major job with Teddy Kollek, longtime mayor of Jerusalem, then to starting the Ninth Avenue Festival in New York, then to a career in which she has written 11 cookbooks, including several James Beard , IACP, and the 2018 Gourmand award for best Jewish cookbook in the World, as well as writing for the New York Times for years, she has had quite a career and people love to hear about it.
Foods of the Holy Land
Since she first lived in Israel in the 1970's, Joan has loved Israeli food. In this lecture, she will introduce audiences to the history of cooking in the land of Israel as well as tell the human stories behind dishes both biblical and modern in Israel today and how they have changed over the years to reflect the current social, political, and environmental landscape.
Jewish Cooking in America
In this lecture, Joan walks us through the evolution of Jewish cooking in America and how it developed along with the country: how Jews affected American cooking and how American cooking affected the Jewish immigrants. Audiences will learn about such things as the first mechanized matzo machine, the introduction of canned pineapple to kugel, and the origin of the kosher delis, and why Crisco said that Jews had waited 4,000 years for their product.
Whole Foods Market partners with Joan Nathan for Passover
Whole Foods Market partnered with James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and Jewish food authority JOAN NATHAN to offer selected innovative, new recipes from her cookbook, King Solomon’s Table, for customers to pre-order in-store and online. As Whole Foods said: “We’re honored to be able to share Joan’s delicious and authentic recipes with our customers. Each of her dishes includes a modern twist on a traditional Jewish recipe and is a great addition to any Passover celebration.” The partnership made headlines across local media outlets, as King Solomon's Table continues to receive critical acclaim. The books reviews speak for themselves: “It seems that all the scholarship and experience of beloved and acclaimed Washington author Joan Nathan culminate in King Solomon’s Table... One dives into [it] knowing that the notes accompanying each recipe will be as enriching as the dishes themselves—a testament to the author’s prowess as a culinary historian and chronicler of Jewish cooks... If the author never produces another cookbook—and we hope that’s not the case—you would think she had been saving the best for last.” (The Washington Post); “King Solomon’s Table combines Nathan’s celebrated knowledge of all things related to Jewish food with her accessible storytelling voice.” (Los Angeles Times); “A cookbook to be read and savored for its stories as much as its recipes... An important contribution to Jewish history and culture...” (Publishers Weekly).
Read Joan Nathan's latest columns in the New York Times
A regular contributor to The New York Times, Joan Nathan's fascinating columns explore everything from Seders in France to archaeological findings that shed new light on Jewish culture.Read Joan Nathan's New York Times columns >>
Joan Nathan is the author of eleven cookbooks including her latest work, “King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World,” released by Alfred P. Knopf in April 2017. Her previous cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France” (Knopf), was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine, and Bon Appétit magazines. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine.
In 1994, Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America won both the James Beard Award for the best American cookbook and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award. In 2017 this book was named a “Culinary Classic” by the IACP. The same James Beard Award was later bestowed on her 2005 cookbook The New American Cooking. An earlier work, An American Folklife Cookbook, was given the R.T. French Tastemaker Award in 1985 for American cooking. Her other books include Foods of Israel Today, Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook, The Jewish Holiday Baker, The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, The Jewish Holiday Kitchen, and The Flavor of Jerusalem.
In 2004 she was the Guest Curator of Food Culture USA, the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC, based on the research for her book, The New American Cooking.
Ms. Nathan’s PBS television series, Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, was nominated in 2000 for the James Beard Award for Best National Television Food Show. She was also senior producer of Passover: Traditions of Freedom, an award-winning documentary sponsored by Maryland Public Television. Ms. Nathan has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and television programs including the Today show, Good Morning, America, The Martha Stewart Show and National Public Radio.
An inductee to the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage, she also received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Artsmagazine. In addition, Ms. Nathan received an honorary degree from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Culture in Chicago and the Golda Award from the American Jewish Congress. In May 2011, she was awarded a Special Recognition Award from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for her work to preserve Jewish foodways. In 2015, Les Dames d’Escoffier awarded Joan Nathan the prestigious Grande Dame, an award recognizing professional achievments in the food industry. Previous recipients include Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, and Alice Waters.
Nathan serves on the board of the DC based organization, Martha’s Table, by whom she was recently honored for her work on Sunday Night Suppers, an annual fundraising event chaired by Nathan, Alice Waters and Jose Andres. Through a collaboration of chefs, organizations and concerned citizens, the dinners are held one night a year in various homes across the DC Metropolitan Area.
Joan Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in French literature and earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. For three years she lived in Israel where she worked for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. In 1974, working for Mayor Abraham Beame in New York, she co-founded the Ninth Avenue Food Festival. The mother of three grown children, Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, attorney Allan Gerson.