No Treif, No Problem
‘Jewish Cuisine’ tends to mean something different to certain people, depending on who you
ask. For some, the smell of chulent and potato kugel in the kitchen brings them running, and for
others kubeh and mujaderra can have the same effect. But whether you’re Ashkenazi or
Sepharadi one thing is for certain – traditional cooking is essential to any Jewish home.
Different factors throughout our history have played significant roles on what we’ve come to
think of as Jewish cuisine such as kashrut laws, festivals and Shabbat. Other influences of course
include geography and economics; the more readily available and affordable the ingredients,
the better! Ashkenazi Jews living in Europe and Russia wanted to stay warm and toasty inside,
so they stirred up a big batch of chicken soup and had the chulent sit over Shabbat to keep the
family going. Sepharadi and Mizrachi Jews in Spain and Northern Africa added a whole bunch of
spice and pizazz to the mix, tossing up tasty salads, sabich and of course chulent’s twin sister,
All of these foods finally started to mix and match once Jews from all over the world started
making their way over to Israel, primarily over the previous century. Don’t be surprised if you
experience a Shabbat dinner in Israel which opens with Moroccan Fish and salatim, followed by
matzah ball soup, and then a hearty chulent alongside rice and kugel galore! What’s for dessert
you ask? Rugelach, halva, knafa, oh my! And while this unique mesh of foods and flavors have
found their way over, we can’t forget the rich, authentic Israeli Cuisine that we’ve come to
know and love.
Try walking down any main street in Israel and start counting just how many falafel, shakshuka,
shawarma and hummus joints you pass by, or enter, along the way! With no shortage in flavor,
and a buzzing, fun environment, it’s nearly impossible not to pull up a chair and grab a bite.
Traditional Jewish mothers tend to instill certain notions in their children relating to food. One
is never to waste, likely a trait passed down from eras when food was not so easily accessible or
plentiful. Another one is the value of sitting and eating together as a family, especially on
Shabbat and other festivals. These delicious meals not only satisfy our tummies, but our hearts
and souls as well. So gather round the mishpucheh and go crazy! Throw some charif into your
chulent, and some lox into your jachnun, while you consider all the rich history and love these
foods have known, before making it onto your plate today.