YA AMNA – FROM DJERBA TO ISRAEL: A TUNISIAN FAMILY KITCHEN
By Shoshana Cohen-Levran
Photography: Yasmin & Arye
Ya Amna (in Tunisian Arabic: “Our Mother”) captures Shoshana Cohen-Levran’s journey from Djerba, the Tunisian island where she was born, to Israel, where she grew up. In Israel, Shoshana’s older relatives taught her the secrets of traditional Tunisian cuisine, and she became renowned for her cooking. She passed her knowledge on to her six daughters, all born in Israel. Today Shoshana is a grandmother, and she continues to cook rich meals and to transport them all over the country. Somehow, the food is always fresh and warm when it arrives.
Fricassé sandwiches with home-made fried rolls; brik with egg; spicy harissa paste; bkeilastew made with concentrated chard purée; meatballs for Shabbat—these are just some of the famous Tunisian dishes that Shoshana cooks with an expert hand, a generous heart, and a gentle spirit. This book holds the knowledge that Shoshana gathered over 70 years, and that she is giving to you, her readers. Each dish in this book has been tested and tasted countless times by Shoshana and by her daughters, who helped to collect the recipes and to write them down in meticulous detail. The ingredients are simple, the instructions are easy to follow, and the results are incredible.
Ya Amna serves up a taste of the essence of Shoshana and the Cohen family: a spirit of boundless generosity, simplicity and modesty, together with common sense and faith rooted in love and in human and female strength. This essence is revealed in every recipe in this book, and in the stories and memories that tie them together.