A Jewish American Culinary Adventure



Other Cuisines

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marga@lacabe.com




Large waves of Jewish immigrants came to America from Eastern Europe in the last decades of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, mostly settling in the big cities of the East Coast. They brought with them their foods and culinary tradition, which adapted to the local ingredient and blend of subcultures, and then further evolved in Jewish restaurants and delis. In the latter 20th century, Jewish food was further expanded through contacts with Israel and the immigration of Sephardi Jews into the US.

Jewish American food has now become almost fully incorporated into the overall American culinary repertoire. All over the United States, Americans of all kinds have bagels for breakfast, pastrami sandwiches for lunch and feat in New York Cheesecake. Some dishes, however, lack that generalized appeal and continue to keep to the Jewish American corner. Unfortunately, I couldn't get myself to make them either. Kugel, a sweet noodle casserole served as a main dish, was too cognitively dissonant to even attempt. Gefilte fish may be the epitome of Jewish American cuisine, but I just couldn't and I'm not going to put lox on a bagel no matter what. I did make pastrami on rye dandwiches, but concluded the sandwiches from the deli were much better. I also intended to make matzo ball soup, but I never managed to and I finally decided to move on.

In addition to Jewish American cuisine, my international food adventure has had me try Cochin Jewish, Greek Jewish, Bene Israel, Israeli dishes.

My brief visit to Jewish American cuisine ended up consisting of:

In addition to those dishes, I've cooked a number of other Jewish American classics, in particular while celebrating Hannukah (I'm an equal opportunity celebrant). Here are some of the best: