""But what is Israeli cuisine?" asks food writer Judy Nathan. "A cuisine is usually defined as cooking which derives from a particular culture. Since the Jewish population has essentially been dispersed throughout the world, Jewish food, and by extension that of Israel, while centered in the Jewish dietary laws, subsumes the cuisines of countries throughout most of the globe. Unlike in France and Italy, for example, where cooking has been grounded in the same soil for thousands of years, in Israel the 'new food' is a hybrid, inspired by every corner of the world, but with an increasing emphasis on native ingredients." [tinyurl.com/nathanfood]
Jodi Kantor traces the influences on the early Zionists in her New York Times article, A History of the Mideast In the Humble Chickpea: "The newly arrived Jews needed a cuisine to suit their new identities and surroundings. 'Their native food was inappropriate for the weather and the produce,' [food writer Claudia] Roden said. Not surprisingly, they were enchanted by the smoky eggplant dips, rustic breads and aromatic spice mixtures of Palestinian cuisine. As Najwa al-Qattan, a Palestinian-American and a professor of Middle Eastern history at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, put it, 'If you were given the choice between falafel and gefilte fish, which would you choose?'" [tinyurl.com/timesfood02] Ouch."
Mark Mietkiewicz in search of Israeli cuisine in the Jewish Ledger.