Food

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Eating Jewish: Bagels

Katherine Romanow

My neighborhood in Montreal, called Mile End, is known for hipsters, Chasidic Jews and bagels. Although each of these topics could potentially make for an interesting blog post, it is, of course, the bagel that I would like to discuss. I absolutely love bagels and have been eating them for as long as I can remember. Living in walking distance of two of the most famous bagel shops in the city means that they’re on the menu very often.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Poppy-Seed Cookies

Katherine Romanow

Growing up, most foods that contained poppy-seeds simply didn’t appeal to me. I was wary about those tiny black seeds that dotted pastries, muffins or cookies and wished that they simply weren’t there. Due to this aversion to poppy-seeds, I usually stayed away from desserts that contained any. Yet in the last few years that has changed, mainly because of a poppy-seed strudel that opened my eyes (or rather my taste buds) to the nutty sweetness that poppy-seeds could bring to a dish.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Salade Cuite (Moroccan Matbucha)

Katherine Romanow

I remember being enamored by the various small salads that were placed on the table to begin the meal at the first Shabbat dinner I attended that was hosted by my friend’s parents, of whom her father is Moroccan. The salads, of which there was, among others, corn salad, avocado salad, roasted red peppers, beets, radishes, and of course salade cuite, which literally means "cooked salad" in English, were a nice way to start the meal. The salade cuite came highly recommended by my friend, who loves it and can’t have Shabbat dinner without it.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Borekas

Katherine Romanow

I always said that I was a knish girl. They were my first choice when buying something to eat at the snack bar in elementary school and if they were on the menu at a restaurant there was no doubt that I would order them. However, this all changed recently when I was introduced to the boreka. I was having a conversation about Jewish food (something that seems to happen quite often with most people that sit down to talk to me) with my friend who is Sephardic. When she told me that she preferred borekas to knishes, I was skeptical.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Coconut Jam

Katherine Romanow

Nothing says summer to me like coconut; whatever form it comes in, its taste and smell evoke a beautiful summer day with the warmth of the summer sun on my skin (it also reminds me of a coconut suntan lotion I loved the smell of as a kid and which happens to be my first memory of its smell) Needless to say, I have always loved coconut and I will eat it in almost any dish, whether it is sweet or savory.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Passover

Eating Jewish: Strudel

Katherine Romanow

I have come to take for granted that with a quick search on Google I can easily find most recipes that I’m looking for. If for any reason I don’t find what I want on the Internet, I can usually consult my ever-growing collection of cookbooks to find the recipe I need. This means that a huge number of recipes are literally at my fingertips whenever I need them. However, my most recent time in the kitchen reminded me that this was not always so.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Thinking about women and food on Tisha B'Av

Leora Jackson

This Tuesday marked Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. Tisha B’Av is a Jewish fast day marking the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but over the years, it has come to serve as a symbolic day of mourning for tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history.

Topics: Food, Tisha B'Av

Eating Jewish: Mandelbrot (Mandel Bread)

Katherine Romanow

When thinking about what I should write about next for Eating Jewish, I came across Lenore Skenazy’s article entitled “You Say Mandel Bread, I Say Biscotti” in The Forward. In the beginning of her article Skenazy confesses her lack of affinity for mandel bread, a baked good she associates with bubbes and paper lined tins. On the other hand, it’s clear that she is a fan of biscotti, cookies she describes as “the world’s coolest cookies, the supermodels of sweets: tall, thin, Italian, expensive.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Muhammara

Katherine Romanow

Hosting dinners, whether it is for Shabbat or any other occasion, is something I truly enjoy because I love cooking for other people and it also gives me a chance to try out new dishes. However, despite the fact that I enjoy trying new recipes, there are certain standbys that I know I can rely on to be crowd pleasers. One of these recipes is the roasted red pepper and walnut dip called Muhammara. This dip originated in Aleppo, Syria where there was a sizable Jewish community, many of whom immigrated to the United States and formed a community in New York.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Orange Salad with Olives

Katherine Romanow

After having spent an entire day in the library, the thought of cooking anything when I got home seemed impossible to fathom. On my way home I tried to think of something simple that I could throw together with a few of the ingredients I had lying around my kitchen. I remembered that I had bought three oranges the day before and I also had some pimento stuffed green olives in the cupboard that I could use to make a delicious salad with. I simply added some olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt to the oranges and olives, and dinner was ready.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: Cream Cheese Rugelach

Katherine Romanow

Freshly baked cookies are, in my mind, one of life’s pleasures and are hard for anyone to turn down. Jewish cookbooks abound with recipes for cookies and other baked goods but it is rugelach that has come to hold a place in my heart and my stomach. They are one of the first Jewish cookies that I began baking and I’ve been hooked on them ever since.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Eating Jewish: What is "Jewish food?"

Katherine Romanow

What exactly is Jewish food? This is the question that most people will invariably ask me after I tell them that I research Jewish food. Most people ask this question with interest, while others are incredulous that there could be Jewish food. Yet, whenever I am confronted with this question I realize that one simple answer cannot work to define this term that eludes any strict definition.

Topics: Food

Introducing "Eating Jewish": The World of Jewish Food

Katherine Romanow

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.

Topics: Food

Floaters or Sinkers?

Preeva Tramiel

In the degradation of Passover tradition that happens when parents get older and children move away; at times when there is no one young enough to sing the Four Questions without embarrassment; when the eating of the Hillel Sandwich is skipped because everyone at the table gets acid reflux; when the traditional four cups of sock-rotting Manischewitz dwindles to a single glass of Hagafen Chardonnay that is raised four times and demurely sipped by the host alone, one Passover tradition lives on: Matzoh balls, or knaidlach.  Or, as my neighbor calls them, “those cool things you Jewish people put in soup on Passover.”

Topics: Food, Recipes

A place at Emily's Table

Laura Bramson Hyman

Of all the things I’ve come to regret in life (most of which involve something I should/could/would have said, or the length of my hair before I turned 30), the most significant is not spending more time cooking with my beloved aunt, Emily Mehlman, before she passed away in 2006.  

Topics: Food

Feed Me Bubbe

Leah Berkenwald

As stated in the Boston Globe, "Two years ago, Bubbe didn’t know from a website."  Her grandson, Avrom Honig, decided to share his Bubbe with the world, producing an online kosher cooking show from her classic 1950s Jewish kitchen called Feed Me Bubbe.  After 30 Youtube episodes teaching luchen kugel, chicken soup, cheese blintzes and more, 83 year-old Bubbe now has her own website, t-shirts, and even a ringtone.

Topics: Food

Luck and Pluck

Preeva Tramiel

Question: Why would a modern woman cross the road to go to a Kosher Chicken Shechita?
Answer: To get to the other side. With feet.

Topics: Food

Who wields the pans on Hanukkah?

Preeva Tramiel

Ever since that one little jug found in the corner of the First Temple burned for eight days instead of one, olive oil has been political. 

The one day supply of olive oil lasted for eight days, so the eternal flame did not go out while the temple was re-dedicated. Thus, Judaism’s victory against Hellenism was ratified by the holy light, and we now remember the miracle by serving fried food for eight days.

Topics: Food, Hanukkah

What's on YOUR latkes?

Preeva Tramiel

Hanukkah is coming, and with it my usual debate with my husband’s family. They are wonderful--sophisticated, warm and accepting of my last-minute hysterical gift decrees (no plastic toys, no battery-operated toys, whatever is bothering me that year). They are flexible about what a proper Menorah is, especially if a grandchild constructs it. But, don’t touch their toppings.

Topics: Food, Hanukkah

"Cravings:" Food and the Jewish experience

Leah Berkenwald

This weekend I went to the Central Square Theater to see Cravings: Songs of Hunger and Satisfaction, a cabaret set in a Jewish kitchen that explores themes of hunger, success, acceptance, nourishment, fame, and sex.  Cravings, starring cabaret artist Belle Linda Halpern, accompanied by Ron Roy, and directed by Sabrina Hamilton, was originally created to close the Ko Festival's 2008 series, themed on food.

As I entered the theater I was surprised to find myself in a Jewish kitchen. The only thing out of place was the piano. Belle Linda Halpern made charoset, and kibbitzed with us in between songs.  She even called on Ron to help peel apples. As a Jewish woman, I found everything in this show relatable. (Except, where did they find such a quiet food processor!?) But what struck me most of all was the connection Halpern draws between the Jewish craving for food and the craving for success and achievement.  

Topics: Food, Theater

Remembering Sylvia Schur, a pioneer who transcended the kitchen

Leah Berkenwald

Thanks to Julie & Julia, foodies are abuzz about Julia Child.  Icon though she is, the story of a different sort of chef caught my attention this week.  Sylvia Schur passed away at age 92 last week.  Her obituary in the New York Times captivated me as I realized that this woman was no ordinary chef. 

Sylvia Schur was not a stereotypical "Betty Crocker," though she did create recipes for the company.  She did not wear pearls and an apron and stand in a TV studio stirring cake batter. Instead, she pioneered the modern food industry - creating the now classic recipes you see on the back of the box, problem solving with the heads of Ocean Spray, editing magazines, running a successful consulting company, and developing convenience foods for women on the go.  Sylvia Schur was a creative champion of modern working women who refused to spend their days in the kitchen.

The New York Times profiles Kosher food matriarch Regina Margareten at age 95

December 24, 1957

Born in Hungary on December 25, 1862 [some sources say 1863], Regina Margareten came to the U.S. as a young bride in 1883.

Dietician Frances Stern connects nutrition to social welfare

August 23, 1914

"There is meager knowledge of the comparative nutritive value of various kinds of food," lamented Frances Stern in an August 23, 1914 column in the

Tillie Lewis opens cannery for American-grown Italian tomatoes

July 13, 1935

Tillie Lewis, born Myrtle Ehrlich, in Brooklyn, NY, on July 13, 1901, left high school after one year to work in a wholesale grocery.

Frieda Caplan founds innovative specialty produce company

April 2, 1962

If kiwis, spaghetti squash, and jicama are familiar sights in your local grocery store, you probably have entrepreneur Frieda Caplan to thank.

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