Jewish Books Perfect For Any 'Great British Baking Show' Fan – Kveller
Skip to Content Skip to Footer


Jewish Books Perfect For Any ‘Great British Baking Show’ Fan


“The Great British Baking Show” is back on Netflix, and it is making me hungry! It’s a good thing they don’t film on some kind of open set, because I’d be tempted to fly to Berkshire and rush the stage just for some cake. But did you know that you can get your vicarious carbs on paper as well as on screen? 

If you and your kids need some culinary drama to tide you over between episodes, try one of these titles. They all feature cooking competitions ― but unlike “The Great British Baking Show,” which isn’t exactly known for nailing Jewish cuisine, these books all feature a delicious Jewish twist. 



The Great Latke Cookoff” by Lauren Muskovitz Ranalli

A cute picture book about a family latke contest. Which recipe will rise to the top: funky and flavorful, extra healthy, or classic potato pancakes? Obviously we all need to adopt the family latke-off as a Hanukkah tradition this year.



My Chocolate Year” by Charlotte Herman

It’s 1945 and Dorrie Meyers is looking forward to participating in Sweet Semester, the annual 5th grade cooking contest. But as much as she loves eating chocolate, her first attempts at preparing a winning recipe fall flat. It will take some special assistance from her cousin Victor, a teenage Holocaust survivor newly arrived to live with her family, to make Dorrie into a winner.

This is a sweet read for every aspiring baker who isn’t a natural talent, and a welcome reminder that family and safety are the things that truly matter.

A Place at the Table” by Laura Shovan and Saadia Faruqi

Pakistani American Sara and Jewish Elizabeth form an unlikely bond in an afterschool cooking class. Sara resents being forced to switch from a close-knit Islamic school to a large public one due to family financial difficulties; Elizabeth’s British mother suffers from depression and leaves home cooking up to her daughter. The girls bond over having foreign-born parents and channel their common experiences into developing a fusion recipe that they hope will get them on a local TV show. 

Told in alternating voices, this story explores what it means to feel at home in your environment, and how painful isolation can be. Sara and Elizabeth’s friendship ultimately builds a bridge for their mothers, teaching kids that loneliness is something that adults experience as well.

The $150,000 Rugelach” by Allison and Wayne Marks

Jack is a brash (you could say chutzpahdik) baker who loves to experiment; Jillian is the quiet new girl in town who bakes from her heart. When Jillian’s chocolate rugelach upstage Jack’s butterscotch basil brownies at a class party, he’s horrified. Then they are teamed up to represent their school in a baking contest hosted by a local cookware entrepreneur. It seems impossible that two completely different bakers could work together, but just as they start to find a rhythm, they discover that the contest-runner isn’t what he seems.

Hilarious side characters, truly entertaining kitchen antics and a shot of heartfelt emotion make this one a fun read for just about any kid, whether they like cooking or not.



Lessons in Fusion” by Primrose Madayag Knazan

Ashkenazi Filipina Sarah (pronounced the Hebrew way thankyouverymuch) has grown up immersed in Jewishness. When she is invited to participate in a Zoom cooking competition for teens, she doesn’t realize that the producers chose her because they wanted an Asian participant for diversity’s sake. When they start pressuring her to emphasize her Filipinx heritage, she rushes to connect with her mother’s family and food culture. But at the end of the day, she’s both Jewish and Filipina and she has to find a way to incorporate both parts of herself into her life and her recipes.

I’m extremely curious what kids in the future will make of this COVID-set story. Readers understand the producer’s manipulations before Sarah does, which adds an interesting perspective as you see her grappling with her biracial, bicultural identity on top of trying to cook her best each week. This book will make you think about some very timely issues, but it’s also legit foodie fun.

My Fine Fellow” by Jennieke Cohen

In a mildly revisionist 1830s London, Helena Higgins and Penelope Pickering are Culinarians, top students at an elite food arts academy. But Elijah Little knows he’ll never get far: Jews can’t own shops in London, so he’s reduced to hawking his luscious pastries on the streets. A chance meeting with Helena and Penelope could open doors for all of them when Helena decides to prove her superiority over her fellow Culinarians by transforming the street rat into the ultimate gourmet chef. 

All three characters grow and transform in unexpected ways throughout this book. Elijah’s dogged devotion to his Jewish heritage is satisfying. And if you haven’t figured it out already, this is a delightfully gender-swapped take on “My Fair Lady”!



Love and Latkes” by Stacey Agdern

Batya Averman reluctantly returns to her hometown for an important career opportunity: designing the website for a major latke competition. And what do you know, her old friend Abe Neumann has entered the fry-off, hoping to win the money and mentorship he needs to drop his accounting job and open the Jewish deli of his dreams. When Batya suddenly gets the chance to take over as host of the show, sparks fly. 

Kosher laws aren’t a factor in all of the books on this list, but they do get handled beautifully here. Abe has a side hustle making barbeque on weekends: For that alone, you’d want in on this circle of friends! If you’re on the lookout for a Jewish answer to the classic Hallmark holiday romance, look no further―and remember to check out the rest of the series!

Sadie on a Plate” by Amanda Elliott

After a bad breakup with her famous chef boyfriend, Sadie is lucky to land a spot on “Chef Supreme” and hopefully save her career. On the way to the competition, she connects with a hot guy named Luke, but warns him she’ll be unavailable for the next six weeks. Then she arrives in New York and meets her fellow competitors and judges…and a certain Asian-British hunk is one of them.

Sadie’s signature style is elevated Ashkenazi cuisine. Besides for proving that there’s more to Jewish food than bagels and hamantaschen, she also imparts wisdom about how Ashkenazi foodways developed. Note: This is a rom-com, but the romance takes a backseat to the mouthwatering food.

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content