Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts), The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig, Photography by Evan Sung
Jewish cuisine exists all over the world. Shaped by the diaspora, Jewish food has inherently adapted and evolved to reflect the changing geographies and ingredients of its cooks, while also maintaining and honouring important customs and narratives.
Featuring over 400 dishes from Jewish communities around the world, The Jewish Cookbook is the most comprehensive collection of contemporary and traditional recipes for home cooks. Presenting food for everyday meals, celebrations, and special holidays, the book includes 11 chapters organized by occasion and dish.
Chicken Soup, Kosher Style by Amy Rosen, Photography by Ryan Szulc
In the Jewish culture, as in many others, bubbes, saftas and nanas are the matriarchs of the kitchen and thus the rulers of the roost. They are culinary giants in quilted polyester muumuus and silk slippers who know how to make the Semitic linchpins cherished from childhood—the kugel, the gefilte fish, the matzah ball soup and the crispy-skinned roasted chicken. They all have their specialties but, of course, they won’t be around to feed us forever, and that will be a loss indeed. But it will be an even bigger loss if the recipes we grew up on pass away with them, along with those special connections to our past.
Tablet Magazine’s list of the 100 most Jewish foods is not about the most popular Jewish foods, or the tastiest, or even the most enduring. It’s a list of the most significant foods culturally and historically to the Jewish people, explored deeply with essays, recipes, stories, and context. Some of the dishes are no longer cooked at home, and some are not even dishes in the traditional sense (store-bought cereal and Stella D’oro cookies, for example).
The entire list is up for debate, which is what makes this book so much fun. Many of the foods are delicious (such as babka and shakshuka). Others make us wonder how they’ve survived as long as they have (such as unhatched chicken eggs and jellied calves’ feet). (more…)
Many Jewish families continue the tradition of gathering to share a meal on Friday nights and holidays, but a new generation is changing the approach to traditional food. At the same time, the rest of the world is discovering the joys of Jewish cooking.
In Feasting, Amanda Ruben brings together her fresh takes on classic recipes, along with popular favourites from her contemporary café and deli, and her own busy family home.
I must begin with a confession. I adored/obsessed over this cookbook so much that I hesitated to write about it. You know that feeling when you encounter something or someone so great that you are left to fall silent? I felt a bit unworthy. Thankfully, I moved past my insecurities and decided that it was more important to introduce my readers to the brilliance of this book.
Equal parts revelatory memoir, insightful travel guide, expedient cookbook, and sumptuous coffee table book, Israel Eats is an eye-opening experience of Israel’s food culture today.
I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my good friend Lee Zimmerman. Enjoy!
By Lee Zimmerman
How to make latkes like my Grandma Mollie? Well, you need some skin in the game, for starters.
Mollie didn’t know from food processors. “You wanna make latkes, then all you need is a grater.” That was her first rule. Her second rule? “It’s not real latkes if a bit of your knuckle skin doesn’t end up in the potato mix, from all the grating.” (Miss you, Grandma. They don’t make ’em like you anymore.) (more…)
My vist to the Rogers Cup in Montreal capped a “day of firsts” for me. It was the first time that I got to lay eyes on future hall-of-famer Serena Williams in person. She was in full-focused training mode, practicing for her next match-up. “Intense” would be the word I would choose to best describe my first encounter with one of my most beloved players.
It was the first time that I actually enjoyed concession food at a tennis tournament. The “Turkey Bretzel” managed to almost live up to its otherworldly $11 price tag . A cross between a baguette and a pretzel, this conveniently portable sandwich was stuffed with deli turkey meat, tomato, lettuce, cheese and mayo. Although made for the masses, the Bretzel managed to satisfy my hunger and delight my taste buds. Thumbs up!
As luck would have it, It was my first time to bask in the presence of two of the world’s best women’s doubles players, and my personal favs, Kveta Pechske and Katarina Srebotnik. I sat there staring adoringly for close to an hour watching them practice and punch out laser-like volleys and talk strategy. After they wrapped up, they even took the time to snap a pic with yours truly. I found them to be kind, funny and very cool.
After a day of watching the world’s best tennis players, what better way to reflect on the day’s action than to chow down on a big ol’ Montreal smoked meat. I made my first trip to the MTL landmark, Schwartz’s Deli. Also known as the Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, the deli was established in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania. According to its website, the unique flavour of their smoked meat is attributable to their mandatory 10 day meat curing time, the high turnover of their meat, and their brick smoke-house which just happens to be covered with over 80 years worth of buildup. Hmm.
Our wait in line was negligible. We were stuffed into a 6-seater table next to a couple and their two children. We couldn’t help but overhear the dad regale his kids about his childhood memories of Schwartz. A parade of fatty smoked meat, sour pickles, fries and frankfurters made their way to their side of the table before being quickly gobbled up.
We had Schwartz’s signature dish, a smoked meat sandwich served on rye bread with yellow mustard. The meat is served by the fat content: lean, medium, medium-fat or fat. The sandwich was indulgent and delicious. Tender and smoky meat piled high on soft rye bread with just enough tangy yellow mustard. Schwartz is now firmly entrenched as a Cool Food Dude favourite and has “repeat visit” written all over it.
With a full belly and an iPhone full of snaps of the tennis elite, the “day of first” was concluded. Thank you Rogers Cup for delivering another first-class enjoyable event full of action-packed matches and happy, fan-friendly tennis players. And thank you Schwartz Deli for serving mouth-watering and crowd pleasing deli staples. I’ll be seeing you very soon!