Davis, author of Foie Gras and Cook Something, draws on his Ashkenazi (European Jewish) heritage and family recipes to produce The Mensch Chef. The recipes include familiar Jewish fare like his hearty Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls, Basic Brisket and Gefilte Fish. Several traditional recipes are given tasty new twists, from the slight citric bite of the sweet Apple-Orange Lokshen Kugel to the Baked Fish in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce. Some dishes, like the robust Hummus and the healthy Carrot and Raisin Salad, are more modern Israeli than Old Country, but are growing popular at Jewish tables. The kosher status of each recipe meat, dairy, pareve, or pesadich is indicated, and where appropriate Davis provides alternative versions of recipes that take dietary laws into account. The Pareve Rugelach, for instance, are made with Sweet Chicken Schmaltz and peanut oil instead of dairy products so that they can be eaten after a meat meal. Kosher regulations, ingredients, and tools are all covered in the introduction. Davis's borscht-belt wit spices up the recipes, as do historical tidbits and quick, troubleshooting bits of advice on everything from "How do I grate an onion?" to "Instead of pancakes I made a mess!" This well-written, appealing cookbook will tempt nostalgic Jews and culinary tourists alike.