The Shmooze

Time Mag's Attack Against 'Jewish Food'

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share

Criticize any national or ethnic cuisine and you’re spoiling for a fight.

So writer Josh Ozersky knows he’s stepping on a land mine when he writes, on the Web site of Time, that “Jewish food is awful.”

Having launched his attack, however, the Jewish Ozersky quickly retreats, clarifying that he’s limiting his discussion to “the familiar Eastern European Jewish food that most American Jews of my generation grew up eating: dry and flavorless brisket … [and] tasteless matzoh balls,” among other alleged atrocities. The piece goes on to explore what Ozersky sees as a paradox — Jews’ famous obsession with food and the fact that their own cuisine supposedly isn’t much good.

The Shmooze is tempted to nitpick, noting Ozersky’s strange reference to “what Jews eat in Spain,” as though the country has played any serious role in Jewish cultural life since, oh, say, the Inquisition. (He appears to mean Sephardic or Mizrahi Jews, who of course have spent recent centuries spread across the Middle East, and are now concentrated in Israel.)

Still, Ozersky hints at interesting questions about the future of Ashkenazi food, which doesn’t look too promising. One of American Jews’ greatest culinary contributions, the deli, still has its defenders, despite a steep decline in popularity and influence. Advocates of lokshon kugel may be harder to find.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ashkenazi, Jewish Food, Matzoh, Ozersky, Time

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • 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.