Tamar Adler's Fried Jewish Artichokes
Save the Bubbes!
The Curious History of Kosher Salt
Shiva for Stage Deli
Berlin's Jewish Foodie Comeback
The Great Deli Rescue
Romping Through the Jewish Pumpkin Patch
Haimish to Haute, NYC Transforms Jewish Food
Bay Area's DIY Jewish Food Movement
Yid.Dish Recipe Box
'Inside the Jewish Bakery’
The Bacon Problem
Manischewitz Goes Sephardic
Jews and the Booze
Jews and Beer
Taking the Food Tour That Keeps on Feeding
At Kosher Feast, Fried Locusts for Dessert
Live Long and Super: Supermarket History
A Slice of Hebrew Pizza
Grow and Behold: A New Line of Kosher Chicken Launches A Conversation Around Jewish Food Ethics
When In Rome… Eat Like the Jews Do
A Letter to Our Readers
JCarrot Archives: 2006-August 2010
Shabbat Dinner, With Panache
Yotam Ottolenghi, the London-based Israeli chef and master of vegetarian cuisine isn’t a veggie himself, but his cookbook “Plenty”, “is among the most generous and luxurious nonmeat cookbooks ever produced,” says Mark Bittman. [New York Times]
Let the latke recipes start! Here’s one for apple and cheese-stuffed ones. [The Kitchn]
We tend to think of seasonal eating as a buzzword in today’s foodie scene, but it’s actually an old concept. As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I spend a lot of time sifting through ancient Chinese treatises on diet and healing, all of which stress the importance of eating with the seasons as a means to living a healthy, long life. In my acupuncture practice, I find seasonal food recommendations and recipes extremely useful and empowering to patients, who start cooking for themselves and feeling better. Little did I know, much of what the classics of Chinese Medicine say can also be found in the writings of Maimonides, the great 12th century Jewish scholar.
We don’t often think of the traditional Jewish diet as healthy, but Maimonides had some pretty insightful things to say about food, many of which would still be considered relevant in our current food culture. Maimonides was a prominent and prolific medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, and physician, and he wrote extensively not only on Torah, ethics, and Jewish law, but also about diet and the treatment and prevention of disease. In fact, it was Maimonides who first recommended chicken soup, in his treatise On the Cause of Symptoms, for the management of breathing difficulty and weakness, and now we all reach for a bowl of the Jewish penicillin as soon as we feel a cold coming on!
I’ve been a gardener and foodie all my life. Family legend has it that as a toddler I used to go from one cherry tomato plant to the next in our backyard garden, picking and sampling each one. The green ones I’d spit out, but I didn’t give up; I savored each sweet, red tomato as a gift as soon as I found it. Later I discovered my love of cooking with my first cooking class at age seven and hours upon hours of hounding my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mother to teach me what they know…until I developed my own eclectic, vegetarian cooking style.
I find myself lucky enough to share my love of food and gardening at my synagogue, Congregation Sherith Israel, Nashville’s Orthodox synagogue. I hadn’t taught Sunday School in nearly 20 years, but was told I had free reign to do pretty much whatever I wanted with the bar/bat mitzvah aged kids each week. My class has taught me as much as I teach them, and we have worked together to build and maintain two raised bed gardens, cook and bake countless recipes, and do the odd crafts project to decorate the Sukkah, tables for the Hannukah festival, and the students’ homes.
The Shabbat dinner tables of my two grandmothers were never complete without noodle soup. Each grandmother made it on a weekly basis — it’s such a basic staple of Jewish cooking. Nana, who was from Eastern Europe always made chicken soup (hers was like liquid gold), while Oma, from Germany, made beef soup, a base of so many soups in the German-Jewish cooking tradition. As different as they were, I loved both versions and I have always felt lucky to have two distinct cooking traditions in my background.
When my parents met, they were each introduced to the food traditions of the other’s family. My mother, whose family rarely cooked chicken, remembers eating a glorious roast chicken the first time she was invited for a Friday night meal cooked by her future mother-in-law. Conversely, my father remembers the first time he visited the Rossmersfor a Shabbos meal and being surprised by the berches, the German-Jewish version of challah. It looked totally different than what he was used to: it was longer and narrower and was sprinkled with poppy seeds. It was that night that he also came face to face with Oma’s beef noodle soup for the first time.
A recent development in kosher meat is stirring up controversy among Jews both observant and secular. It’s Spanish goose. Spanish farmers discovered that the flesh of their organically-raised geese tastes exactly like pork. Two entrepreneurs caught wind of this culinary phenomenon and immediately foresaw a market for the swinish treat: treyf-curious Jews. Now, all it needs is rabbinical approval.
Ynet reports that Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger, enthusiastically endorses importing the pork-flavored goose to Israel.
To be sure that the flavor is authentically porcine, Metzger sent samples to three non-Jewish chefs. All agreed that the flavor of the Spanish goose is astonishing — just like pork. (What kind of pork it tastes like, we don’t know yet. Fried chops? Sugar-cured ham? Bacon?) With flavor stamp of approval at hand, Metzger argues that an authentic-tasting alternative to pork might persuade secular Jews to choose kosher.
As a Jewish college student living in New York City, I am frequently challenged to make eating and living sustainably work on a very tight budget. I’ve found that there are some ways I can spend less money and skimp, and there are certain areas where splurging is definitely worth the extra cost. I try to follow some key guidelines — listed below — when buying both food and household products. Whether you’re a college student, or just want to save a few extra bucks, these tips are useful in integrating sustainably minded changes into your daily routine.
Shop at the Farmers Markets: Not only are farmers markets great for buying local produce, they are relatively inexpensive compared to chain supermarkets. I especially love farmers market apples — at NYC markets they are reasonably priced, taste delicious, and help to support local economies!
The extra nights refer to no Hanukkah miracle, but the (expensive) extension of WhiskyFest New York. As I reported on November 11, in response to heavy demand for tickets Malt Advocate has decided to move WhiskyFest from a Tuesday night to a whole weekend and to rename it WhiskyFest Weekend New York.
With a $675 price tag and a Friday night start time, it seems like the demand and the demographic for next year’s event will be different from previous ones. Granted there are many more sessions to attend and granted you can also sign up for a “Grand Tasting” on either Friday or Saturday night for around the same amount as the 2011 event ($175 if you book before July), but it seems there’s no hope for Sabbath-observant Jews trying to make it to a “Grand Tasting” on a week when Sabbath does not end until 6.30pm.
As the owner of an organic, kosher bakery in the Hudson Valley, Dan Leader’s life is a round-the-clock whir of promotion, sales, recipe testing and travel. But when his customers share stories about beloved bread in far away places, he finds time to listen. After hearing from Latvian shoppers that a special, very dark rye was made near the city of Riga, the founder and force of Bread Alone Bakery had to see for himself.
“My grandmother came from Lithuania, my grandfather came from Ukraine but some of my family’s relatives were in Latvia, and I have to tell you that the best, old-world Jewish baking is in Latvia,” he said, still excited about a recent, two-week, fact-finding trip that took him to the legendary Laci Bakery outside Riga.
A thoughtful hostess puts something for everyone on her menu. So it is with the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s new exhibit, “Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture, and American Jewish Identity.” As John Stewart says in one of the show’s catchy wall quotes, “There’s nothing that two Jews like more than to sit around in a diner late at night and talk about what they’re eating.”
Visitors are welcomed with the words, “Come on in! Have you eaten?” and invited to vote by touch-screen for the “most Jewish food” from a list that includes Persian rice and falafel, along with the usual suspects. Just as Jews have immigrated here from all over the globe, Jewish food is more than latkes and bagels.
Friday night dinners at our home were inviolable.
We rarely ate dinner out the rest of the week, but there were exceptions: good pasta con ceci at the Italian restaurant in the mall where my father drank sambuca with coffee beans floated in it, adventures in the city to find Peking duck.
Friday night dinner at home was an unbreakable rule, though. It was an amazing one in inciting no protest, even as my brother and I grew, and adolescent imperatives began to press against parental constraints.
It is often said that Americans are overfed and undernourished when it comes to food. Supermarket shelves are lined with highly processed “food” products that contain little nutritional value when compared to the number of calories provided. While these products excel at meeting our energy requirements as cheaply as possible, one of the many hidden costs is that they leave us lacking required nutrients. In America it is difficult to starve, but easy to be malnourished.
And yet, there are still people who are hungry in this country. The USDA census on hunger estimates that in 2010, 48.8 million Americans suffered from food insecurity, meaning that nearly 50 million people in this country were not only malnourished but also hungry. That number included adults and children, and in fact households with children were more likely to be dealing with issues of food insecurity.
This time of year, as I plan my Thanksgiving feast, I struggle to reconcile that while there will be a literal feast on my table, others are struggling to have any food at all.
“Do Jews celebrate Thanksgiving?”
To many American Jews, this questions seems to have an obvious answer. A holiday that involves copious amounts of food and stressful gatherings of relatives? Of course, Jews celebrate it! Yet, questions posted on the websites from Yahoo to UrbanBaby show that confusion persists over whether Jews observe the day.
And actually, it is not as obvious a question as you would think. Thanksgiving’s origins were more Christian than they were patriotic. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands, the famous 1621 meal between the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians likely had some religious under (or, perhaps, over) tones. Remember, these were the Pilgrims, the ones who pissed off everyone else in England by being too zealously religious.
For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time to overindulge, give in, and stuff ourselves to the brim — not so different from most Jewish festivals that revolve around food. You’re probably expecting me (a holistic health counselor and nutrition student) to give you a list of all the things not to eat, right? Well, what if I told you that you could eat to your heart’s content on Thanksgiving, with a small catch? Follow 4 simple tips.
The turkey is the star on Thanksgiving so I won’t ask you to change that (though I will advise you to purchase one that is free-range and request that you refrain from deep frying it!). Instead, I’m just going to make some suggestions for how you can switch things up a little this year for the remaining items on your table. Though we’ve all become accustomed to similar dishes year after year at Thanksgiving, adding some new recipes into your holiday repertoire can really do wonders for your waistline, wallet, and the planet.
Irish bagel lovers aren’t having much luck: a 13.5% value-added tax will be tacked on to the traditionally Jewish favorite for the first time.
Under new plans by the Irish government to raise desperately needed revenue, bagels, croissants, garlic bread and other premium baked goods will be hit with the tax next month. Consumers are likely to bear the brunt of the cost.
Ordinary bread is exempt from tax in Ireland, but the Irish revenue service changed its determination on bagels this month, saying they were not “sufficiently bread-like” to be exempt from taxes on prepared or “value added” foods.
With Thanksgiving around the corner I have a one-track mind: pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin ice cream. I’ve eaten all that in the past week. Do I have an addiction? Probably, but I’m okay with that.
For me, Thanksgiving is all about self-reflection and food. Originally intended to celebrate our freedom and to give thanks for a good harvest, Thanksgiving has morphed into a time when we gorge ourselves on foods, and spend time curled up on the sofa afterwards paying for it! Luckily, during this holiday pumpkin takes center stage.
The classic gourd, which many think of as iconic American, has a surprising Jewish connection going back 500 years. The “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” explains that pumpkins were widely cultivated throughout the Americas for about 6,000 years and were among the first New World foods that the Native Americans introduced to the Europeans, who brought them back to Europe.
Despite another week of Wall Street protests that have dramatically cut into his business, the owner of one of the area’s largest kosher eateries is sounding a tentative note of optimism. “It’s almost Shabbos, and I feel good,” Marc Epstein, the owner of Milk Street Café, told the Jew and the Carrot this morning. “I think we’ve seen the bottom, and things are looking up.”
Epstein’s comments came after what he described as a “devastating” two months for his business, which opened in lower Manhattan in late June and saw sales drop sharply with the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement eight weeks ago. The restaurant received a wave of media attention at the start of November, following Epstein’s reluctant decision to lay off about a quarter of his restaurant’s staff of roughly 100.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, master chef Jacques Pepin shares his secrets. [Village Voice]
This might just be the best sounding babka we’ve ever heard of. Abraco is selling ricotta and orange blossom babka. [Serious Eats]
Want to see just how much you know about the laws of Kashrut? Take this quiz. [My Jewish Learning]
Are we in a bagel crisis? [New York Post]
New visitors to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market, or shuk, may not find it noteworthy that an upscale cocktail bar called Casino de Paris has recently popped up amidst its labyrinthine alleys. Seeing the boutiques and artisanal food products that now accompany the traditional butchers, fishmongers and produce vendors, newbies may not realize that just a decade ago, the future of Mahane Yehuda was not so bright. But this bar, along with the hundreds of young Jerusalemites that flock to it each evening, tells the story of the shuk’s revitalization.
“Ten years ago [the market] almost vanished,” explains Eli Mizrahi, the former head of the Mahane Yehuda merchants association and the man credited with launching the shuk renaissance. A third generation shuk vendor, Mizrahi was unable to stand the thought of the market’s demise. So he took a risk and in 2000 opened the upscale Café Mizrahi in the center of it, serving cappuccinos and fresh pasta, camembert sandwiches and shakshuka. “It was kind of craziness,” he recalls. But word spread through the media and it brought people back, breathing new life into Mahane Yehuda.
Living in Tel Aviv means that I take a lot of things related to food for granted. I know that when I go to the market, veggies will be much, much cheaper than packaged foods and fresher than most places in America. I know that nearly any time of day or night I can order a latte and sit with my computer for hours, without anyone rushing me to leave. I also know that the season for tomatoes is more similar to the one I grew up with in California than the one I got used to coping with in New York. Those are everyday kinds of things that I’ve learned after more than a year of living in Israel.
But last week I had the pleasure of exploring the food landscape of Israel from a new angle as a participant on the Israel Sustainable Food Tour, sponsored by Hazon and the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership. Jeremy Benstein of the Heschel Center crafted a tasty and interesting itinerary that kept us moving and eating across the country. I was treated to meals in restaurants I never would have found on my own, visited farms where folks are doing incredible work, and met outstanding people who are invested in food issues here in Israel. We explored themes that I spend a lot of time thinking about but less time engaging hands on.
It would not be inaccurate to say that I have the palate of an octogenarian Polish Jew, despite the fact that I’m a 27-year-old Australian living in Brooklyn. Whenever I hypothesize with friends about what my final meal would be (you know the game), my answer is always the same: Shabbos dinner, Ashkenazi-style: challah, schmaltz herring, gefilte fish, chicken soup with kneidlakh and lokshen, roast chicken with potatoes, poppyseed cake, and a finger or two of Johnnie Walker, neat. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it.
To that list I’d add something incongruous, though no less essential: my mother’s avocado, egg and onion dip. There was no avocado in my grandparents’ respective shtetls, certainly, but it’s as native to Shabbos dinner in my Australian family as hummus is to an Israeli lunch. We ask for it in one breath, not bothering to enunciate the words properly: “pass-the-avocado-egg-n-onion.” No please, no thank you. (Ours is an etiquette-optional table.) My father, who is unfailingly generous with food — always insisting that everyone else serve themselves and eat before him — only ever seems disappointed when he misses out on avocado-egg-n-onion dip. Occasionally, when ripe avocados prove elusive, there’s no dip at all, and dinner feels incomplete.
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