Basically, one can divide Israeli
cuisine to two: Ashkenazic and Sephardic. Ashkenazic related to Jewish
people (immigrants) from east and west Europe and Sephardic relates
to Jewish people from middle east countries. The Sephardic food is full
of aromatic spices & herbs, spicier and livelier in general than
Ashkenazic cooking which is sweeter. Nowadays we have new Israeli cuisine
which combines the two with modern cooking. The style of Jewish cooking
reflects the many places that Jews have lived throughout the centuries.
Jewish cooking shows the influence of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean,
Spanish, German and Eastern European styles of cooking, some influenced
by the unique dietary Jewish laws.
Many of the foods that we think
of as Jewish / Israeli are not unique to Jewish or Israeli culture.
Stuffed cabbage, a traditional Jewish dish, is common in Eastern Europe.
Blintzes and knishes are familiar to all Germans, not just Jewish ones.
Many of the dishes that make up the Israeli cuisine have been brought
by immigrants from the countries of their origin. Thus, even though
dishes such as couscous, felafel and shishlik are extraordinarily popular
throughout the country, none of them can be considered "truly Israel."
Couscous, for example, originated in the Maghreb nations of North Africa;
the roots of felafel are Egyptian; and shishlik first came from Turkey.
Challa is a very sweet, golden, eggy bread. The taste and texture is
somewhat similar to egg twist rolls . The loaf is usually braided, but
on certain holidays it may be made in other shapes.
Israel is a small country. It is
long and narrow and stretches just under 450 kms from north to south
and, on average, is 60 kms from east to west. Israel's cosmopolitan
society is reflected by the infinite range of cuisine available in the
country. Any style of food from Argentinian to Zairean can be obtained
in Israel. Israel is famous for its fresh fruits and vegetables. The
Jaffa orange has long been a sweet symbol of the country.
Many restaurants in Israel observe
the Kosher (Jewish dietary) laws. When dining Kosher you cannot mix
meat and dairy products. However there are many non kosher reasturants
where you can found a big saucy white (refer to pig meat) steak. Bacon
and eggs too can be obtained in some restaurants. Together with the
country's non-jewish citizens - Muslim and Christian Arabs, Bedouin,
and Druze this melting pot gives the country its exceptional cuisine
bagel has been a part of
Jewish cuisine for at least 400 years. In America, bagels are traditionally
served with cream cheese and lox (smoked salmon) or other fish spreads
(herring, whitefish, etc.). They are also quite good with cream cheese
and a thick slice of tomato. Matzah balls are also known as knaydelach
(Yiddish for dumplings). Matzah ball soup, also known as Jewish penicillin,
is generally a very thin chicken broth with two or three ping-pong-ball
sized matzoth balls (or sometimes one very large matzoh ball) in it.
Matzoh balls can be very soft and light or firm and heavy.
are popular Ashkenazic
Passover, Purim and Hanukkah treats. The basic recipe is varied by adding
poppy seeds, sesame seeds, matzoh, carrots, or spices. When ground ginger
is added, the candy is called "ingberlach" ("ingber"
is the Yiddish word for ginger). When the ginger is omitted, the candy
is sometimes called "pletzlach" (board), because it is spread
into a thin layer to cool. Since honey syrups absorb moisture from the
air, it is advisable not to make this candy on a humid day.
Classic Jewish Foods
Blintzes are basically Jewish crepes. A blintz is a thin, flat pancake rolled
around a filling. It looks a little like an egg roll. As a main dish
or side dish, blintzes can be filled with sweetened cottage cheese or
mashed potatoes and onion; as a dessert, they can be filled with fruit,
such as apple, cherry or blueberry. They are usually fried in oil. They
are generally served with sour cream and/or applesauce. The word "blintz"
comes from a Ukrainian word meaning "pancake."
is a very slowly cooked stew of beans, beef, barley and sometimes potatoes,
usually done during the winter. After eating it, you would like to sleep
means "fit to eat,"
and the Jewish dietary laws, or kashruth, stretch back thousands of
years. Even though the prescriptions are specific, there is room for
interpretation in many cases.
Jewish food is not difficult. Basically,
Jewish food is the food of country-folk and, because these were people
who lived poorly, there was little to do then. The dishes were based
on foods that were readily available, not overly expensive, and bound
by the rules of kashrut. This led to a style of cooking that prized
everything and wasted nothing.
There are those who claim that the
Jewish kitchen is now passé. They are wrong.
Read more about Middle Eastern
foods, from Elinoar Moore and Diana Farrrell Serbe:
Read Elinoar's Hebrew language blog click here