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Introducing "Eating Jewish": The World of Jewish Food

"Hannukah Dishes,"
Courtesy of Zeetz Jones.

The centrality of food to the Jewish experience is a fact that is undeniable. It serves to identify one as a Jew, while at the same time defines one’s particular identity within the wider sphere of the Jewish community.

To speak of Jewish food is to speak of food that comes from communities that span the globe. Although Jewish food is varied, one indisputable quality,  is its adaptability. In the various places Jews have lived, they have adapted their cuisine to the culinary landscape in which they found themselves, through the modification of recipes and food preparation in order to allow for conformity to the dietary laws. Thus, Jewish food has been influenced by the variety of cuisines in the places that Jews have settled, while at the same time coming to influence the food of these communities. This pattern of mutual influences continued with the immigration of Jews to the United States where, from the onset, Jewish cuisine was transformed in a number of ways. In turn, this has made the United States the site of an important convergence of communities and their food.

Through Eating Jewish, I intend to explore the multitude of Jewish food that is present in the American Jewish community. In doing so, I want to discuss and unpack the term that is Jewish food by looking closely at cookbooks, recipes and trends in the culinary landscape of the Jewish community. I want to explore the history, the development, and the transformation that has been, and is continuing to take place, in the food landscape of the Jewish community and what this means for the women who are part of this community.

Not only will Eating Jewish discuss Jewish food, but I also want to share recipes that I hope will encourage you to explore new dishes. Furthermore, I hope to capture the stories, the memories, identities, and voices of the women who have been preparing and eating these foods throughout the history of the Jewish community. In turn, through our discussions, I would like to add our own voices to this long culinary history that is still undergoing much development.

Katherine Romanow is currently a graduate student pursuing her MA in Judaic Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. Her research focuses on Jewish food with a specific focus on foods served and prepared through the holiday of Passover. We are excited to announce that Katherine will be sharing her knowledge, perspective, and recipes with us in a new segment called Eating Jewish at Jewesses with Attitude.

Topics: Food
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I've heard that there are commentaries on mystical meanings of some foods, for example noodle kugel. Do you know anything about that? If so, can you explain, please. hanks.

I am visiting Ukraine, and discovered a Jewish food I never heard of, "Forshmak" at a Kosher restaurant in Ivano-Frankivsk. It is sort of a chopped fish salad, like a herring salad. But I never heard it called by that name.

Hi Kat; just wondering if it would be more accurate to mention that you're researching "Eating Jewishly" not only in the United States, but also in Canada. Best of luck in your new blog.

This new column sounds great! We actually just put up a blog post about the history of the Jewish deli: http://jpsblog.org/2010/06/jew... Can't wait to read more from Katherine!

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How to cite this page

Romanow, Katherine. "Introducing "Eating Jewish": The World of Jewish Food." 21 June 2010. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 3, 2024) <http://jwa.org/blog/introducting-eating-jewish>.