The Jew And The Carrot

RIP Hostess Brands

By Ruth Abusch-Magder

Getty Images

Ding Dongs hold a special place in my heart. My best friend growing up in Canada was an American. Whenever her family would travel to New York they would bring numerous boxes of Ring Dings back with them and keep them in the freezer. Sure, there were lots of similar sandwich cakes in the great white north, but none had a hechsher. If we were particularly well behaved, we would be allowed to take one from the coveted stash. The memory of the feeling of the frozen squishy cake and its filling, still brings a smile to my face.

With the announcement of the closure of the Hostess brand, the memories of Ring Dings resurfaced. I found myself mulling the loss of an item I have not eaten since before my bat mitzvah. The public discussion of the closure of the Hostess plants centers around the financial challenges the company faced as it sought to restructure. But even without the current financial downturn, the snack cakes may be part of the shifting American foodways.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: twinkies, jew and the carrot, ring dings, jewish food, hostess, ding dongs, dessert

Mixing Bowl: Jami Attenberg's Pickles, Latke Fest

By Blair Thornburgh

Thinkstock

Only in Brooklyn: Jami Attenberg, author of the critically-acclaimed and food-heavy novel “The Middlesteins,” makes pickles with Jeffrey Yoskowitz of the Gefilteria, a “boutique purveyor of Old World Jewish foods” [Vol. 1 Brooklyn]

A lively profile of “Tel Aviv’s favorite foodie” Gil Hovav, who makes his English cookbook debut writing as the devout (and imaginary!) orthodox woman Rebbetzin G. H. Halperin [Haaretz]

The humble bagel-and-schmear gets an explosive, dub-steppy twist in a homemade commercial for Brooklyn’s Bagelteria [Grub Street]

A beautiful and colorful vegetarian Thanksgiving table with golden beet salad, buckwheat-squash tart, and a fall greens sauté from the couple behind Sprouted Kitchen [NYTimes Well Blog]

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: the gefilteria, mixing bowl, latkes, jewish food, jew and the carrot, jami attenberg, gil havov, bagelteria, the middlesteins

Holocaust Survivor Reinvents Himself at 87

By Michael Kaminer

Herschel Perl

The e-mail came with a photo of an elderly man in a butcher’s coat next to the faded, black-and-white image of a tot. “At age 87, my father is re-launching his meat business — which for fifty years was a staple of the Jewish community in Canada,” Miriam Perl wrote to the Forward. “Suggested headline: Holocaust Survivor reinvents himself at age 87.”

Until a fire destroyed Herschel Perl’s kosher-foods business in 2006, it was indeed a mainstay of Jewish Toronto, supplying more than half the city’s market for ready-made kosher. The business, which started as a tiny shop in Toronto’s west end in 1953, eventually grew into a 60-employee enterprise. Its retail operation grew into Canada’s largest kosher meat store. Perl’s even opened a Glatt kosher fast-food spot called Bais Burger.

“Perl’s butcher shop and hamburger joint were icons in the frum neighborhood here,” Chad Derrick, a Toronto television producer and kosher consumer, told the Forward. “Perl’s was everywhere.”

Now, after a six-year absence, Herschel Perl is about to sink his teeth into the meat business again. This time, he’s launching a wholesale business to crank out beloved Perl’s products like salami, hotdogs, pepperoni, pepperettes, turkey and chicken deli slices. The kosher pioneer has already secured distribution in local kosher retail outlets; he expects the products to hit shelves in national chains like Loblaws, Sobey’s, Metro, Fortino’s and Costco within weeks.

With help from his daughter, the Forward caught up with Herschel Perl by e-mail in Toronto.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jewish food, jew and the carrot, herschel perl, toronto, kosher food, canadian jews

Dispatches From Kosherfest 2012

By Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz

Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz
Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz at Kosherfest 2012.

Kosherfest, the largest (and only) kosher food industry trade show in the world, hosted its 24th annual expo in Secaucus, NJ, on November 13th and 14th. Thousands of players in the kosher food world show up each year, from giants like Manischewitz, Streit’s and Osem, to the godfathers of kosher certification, including the big four: the Orthodox Union, Circle K, Star-K and Kof-K.

But a multitude of small, niche entrepreneurs in the industry show up as well, reflecting not just the trajectory of kosher food over the years, but the way in which overarching American food trends filter into the Orthodox world. Kosherfest is a far cry from the artisan food world of Brooklyn, where we are from — and where our business, The Gefilteria, is located. So we went down to New Jersey to report as independent purveyors. Here’s our minute-by-minute view of this very kosher landscape.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: liz alpern, kosherfest 2012, kosherfest, jew and the carrot, jewish food, jeffrey yoskowitz, gefilteria, brooklyn

Behind the Scenes of 'Oma and Bella'

By Leah Koenig

Bella Lieberberg

Don’t miss Leah Koenig’s full story, “Berlin’s Jewish Comeback”

For centuries, Jewish food traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. In kitchens around the world, parents and grandparents have guided youngsters as they roll their first matzo balls for soup, taste the batter for a sour cream coffeecake, or learn the sharp, malty scent of baking sourdough bread. But when a young person loses her whole family — as Regina Karolinski and Bella Katz each did during the Holocaust — those secrets of hearth and home get lost along with everything else.

In the new film “Oma & Bella” German filmmaker Alexa Karolinski (Regina’s granddaughter) tells the story of her oma (German for “grandmother”) and her best friend Bella — two elegant and charismatic women, both Holocaust survivors, who now live, kibbitz and cook together in their shared Berlin apartment. Fortified with slowly caramelized onions, generous pinches of sugar, and other ingredients associated with Jewish soul food, Oma and Bella’s cooking — their brisket-filled blintzes, their barley soup, and lusciously-soft baked apples — has become the stuff of family legend. But it was not always this way.

“Having lost both of their families in the Holocaust, [they] had to teach themselves, often from scratch, how to make the dishes their mothers and grandmothers made for them,” writes Karolinski in the introduction to the companion cookbook she self-published along with the film. “In doing so, they built a bridge from their past into the present, drawing on tastes and smells from a vanished world as a gift to their children and grandchildren.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: oma and bella, jewish food, holocaust, jew and the carrot, bella katz, alexa karolinski

Roll Your Own Montreal Bagels — In Philly

By Howard Shapiro

Howard Shapiro
Roll-your-own bagel night at Spread Bagelry

The humble bagel is a staple of Western Jewish culture, but what most of us know about it amounts to little more than a shmear. After all, bagels are generally something we buy, not bake.

This makes the bagel ideal for a hands-on workshop, especially at a restaurant-bakery called Spread Bagelry, one of the few United States outposts for what many people would call the food at its very best: the Montreal-style bagel. It’s never made by machine, boiled in honey water, and always baked in a wood-fired brick oven that’s hotter than yours.

And so last night, about 40 people drifted into Spread in downtown Philadelphia, pumped by the promise of watching the bagel-making process and even attempting to roll their own.

“We’re going to discuss them, we’re going to show you how to roll them, we’re going to show you how we boil them and then bake them. We’re not going to show you the recipe,” Larry Rosenblum told the eager onlookers as his business partner, Mark Cosgrove, stood ready to take the rings of imperfect doughy circles they’d be rolling through the process.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: spread bagelry, philadelphia, montreal, jew and the carrot, jewish food, bagels

Cheese Runs in the Family

By Michael Kaminer

Jen Stevenson
Cheesemaker Lisa Jacobs

With a wink, Lisa Jacobs likes describing herself as “the world’s only Irish-Jewish cheesemaker.” But that unorthodox distinction is just one facet of her unlikely ascent from frustrated law student to artisan-dairy star.

In just five years, her Jacobs Creamery has gone from sneaking cheese production off-hours in a rural Oregon milk-bottling plant to churning out 600 pounds of the stuff every week — and finding fiercely loyal fans at farmers’ markets across Portland. “My first batch of cheese was Havarti, mainly because my dad liked it,” she laughed. “But I sold all of it.”

Today, her offerings include exquisite ricotta, crème fraiche, farmer’s cheese and fromage blanc, along with dairy-based puddings and panna cotta. Jacobs voice rises as she describes each variety in almost sensual detail. “My blue cheese is exceptional, and I’m not even a blue cheese fan. My crème fraiche is like a farmstead sour cream you’d find in Eastern Europe,” Jacobs said. “My butter is a European-style cultured butter that I hand-churn. And there’s a bloomy cheese that’s exceptionally smooth and creamy. Its flavor layers change as it ripens.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: lisa jacobs, kosher, jewish food, cheese, jew and the carrot

Irish-Jewish Food Dynasty Thrives — In Oregon

By Michael Kaminer

Rhona Jacobs
Michael Jacobs and his daughter Danielle.

The Smokery sells home-cured fish from the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market in Portland, Oregon. Jacobs Creamery, a few feet away, offers hand-churned butter and limited-production cheese. Customers purchasing lox get polite nudges to buy fromage blanc; shoppers picking up cheese get friendly recommendations for cured fish.

The mutual assistance comes naturally. Michael and Rhona Jacobs run The Smokery, and their daughter Lisa, the third of their four kids, runs burgeoning Jacobs Creamery. Started as hobbies, both businesses have exploded into what may be the world’s only Irish-Jewish artisan-food dynasty.

Dublin-born, Michael Jacobs moved his family to Portland in 1993 after nine years in southern California. Despite his adopted city’s zealously homegrown food culture, stateside spins on his favorite foods couldn’t come close to what he ate in Ireland. “We’ve always eaten smoked salmon, but never liked anything we found in the U.S.,” he told the Forward in a mellow lilt. “We’d been used to lox, but here it’s too salted, too processed, too… Yuck.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: the smokery, rhona jacobs, portland oregon, michael jacobs, jewish food, hillsdale farmers market, jew and the carrot, jacobs cremery

The Jews and Their Carrots

By Devra Ferst

iStock

This week The Jew and the Carrot celebrates the first anniversary of its re-launch. In honor of the milestone, we took a deeper look at the roots of our namesake veggie — the carrot and its tangled Jewish past.

Myths, both ancient and modern, abound around the orange veggie — some say it improves your eye sight, others claimed it aided in contraception, some quibble over the fact that orange carrots were created by botanists working under the House of Orange in Holland, and finally, others claim that Jews are responsible for the first written carrot cake recipe in America. Like most good legends, there’s a grain of truth and a whole of hullabaloo in these myths. So here are the facts:

First of all, carrots, and not just the ones sitting at the bottom of your vegetable drawer, are really old. Fossils of wild carrot pollen stretch back 55-34 million years, according to botanical researchers John Stolarzyk and Jules Janick. Since then, carrots have transformed from wild inedible roots to the sweet orange vegetable we know today.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rosh Hashanah, Jew and the Carrot, Carrots, Tzimmes

A Letter to Our Readers

By Jane Eisner and Nigel Savage

Dear Reader,

For nearly a year, the Jew & the Carrot blog has been a partnership between Hazon and the Forward, bringing together the work of the Jewish food movement with exceptional writing and reporting about what we eat and how it is produced and prepared. As online communication continues to evolve, so have our blog and our partnership. We are now excited to present the latest iteration of the Jew & the Carrot.

The Jew & the Carrot will still provide you with the latest from the Jewish food world, including news, recipes, cookbook reviews, interviews with Jewish celebrities, discussion of issues and unique offerings for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, all edited by the Forward’s Devra Ferst. Starting today, you will also be able to read blog posts that come directly from Hazon, designated by a special icon — “Fresh from Hazon” — and brought to you with the understanding that Hazon is solely responsible for that content.

We are excited that this new expression of a beloved blog will combine the insightful coverage you’ve come to expect from the Forward with the chance to continue a discussion about food policy and sustainability issues that Hazon has led for years.

Our work together is just beginning; we look forward to you, our reader, joining the conversation. We will ask you more questions, seek your opinion, and are anxious to hear about what is going on in your community. We hope you will join us!

Jane Eisner, Editor, The Forward
Nigel Savage, Executive Director, Hazon

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jew and the Carrot, Hazon, Fresh From Hazon, Forward




Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.