Monday, November 10, 2008

But what is Israeli cuisine?

""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." []

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?'" [] Ouch."

Mark Mietkiewicz in search of Israeli cuisine in the Jewish Ledger.


Sandra said...

There is no such thing as israeli food, what is called israeli food is actually Palestinian, arabic and european food that the jewish immigrants ate in their native countries. Like the so called "israeli sallad" which is very famous among the "israelis", this sallad is actually the Palestinian rural sallad that zionists have stolen and renamed just like they stole and renamed Palestine.

Anonymous said...

Sandra - I realize that it's a lot of fun feeling hostility towards Israelis and accusing us of every possible sin starting with the killing of Christ your Lord, but in fact in Hebrew we refer to the finely cut salad as "arab salad", not "Israeli salad".