“The perfect borscht is what life should be but never is,” writes Alexandar Hemon in The New Yorker food issue this past November. Until recently, I simply figured I’d never tasted “the perfect borscht.” My first impression of the Eastern European delicacy was the purple liquid my father would buy once a year on Passover. On the second or third day, after having his share of matzoh, he would take out the glass Manischewitz bottle of purple borscht and mix it with just a bit too much sour cream. While he always offered us a taste, my siblings and I would politely decline.
Yet, when my mother and I found ourselves in Moscow and Kiev last month, I decided to give it a second chance, this time fresh from a simmering soup pot instead of the jar. Borscht in Yiddish or bohrshch in Russian (there are many spellings – it’s the food equivalent of the word Hanukkah), loosely translates to a soup with a beet base. In Moment magazine, cookbook author Joan Nathan explains that in the 18th century, before potatoes were the food of the masses in Russia and Ukraine, red beets made up much of the local diet.
The Jewish Journal, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, ponders how “to turn the Jewish obsession with food into a Jewish call to what is popularly called food justice.”
Nikki Cascone, from Top Chef season four, will open Octavia’s Porch, “the first and only Global Jewish restaurant on the Lower East Side” next week, Grub Street reports. Check back on JCarrot next month for more on Cascone.
Ronald McCormick, the Senior Director of Local and Sustainable Sourcing at Walmart, gives the Atlantic readers “An Insider’s Account of Walmart’s Local Foods Program.”
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