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Jewish cuisine refers to the cooking traditions of the
Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew characters into Latin alphabet, La ...
worldwide. It has evolved over many centuries, shaped by Jewish dietary laws (''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
''),
Jewish festival Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, Grammatical number, or singular , in Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated Hebrew language, Hebrew []), are holidays observed in Judai ...
and ''
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
'' (Sabbath) traditions. Jewish cuisine is influenced by the economics, agriculture and culinary traditions of the many countries where Jewish communities have settled and varies widely throughout the whole world. The history of Jewish cuisine begins with the cuisine of the ancient
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
. As the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
grew, different styles of Jewish cooking developed. The distinctive styles in Jewish cuisine are
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
,
Sephardi Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
and
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
. There are also dishes from Jewish communities from
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
and
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
. Since the establishment of the State of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
in 1948 and particularly since the late 1970s, a nascent Israeli "
fusion cuisine is an Indian-Chinese fusion dish, consisting of fried cauliflower. The dish is popular throughout India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by ...
" has developed. Jewish
Israeli cuisine Israeli may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...
has adapted a multitude of elements, overlapping techniques and ingredients from many diaspora culinary traditions. Using agricultural products from dishes of one Jewish culinary tradition in the elaboration of dishes of others, as well as incorporating and adapting various other Middle-Eastern dishes from the local non-Jewish population of the Land of Israel (which had not already been introduced via the culinary traditions of Jews which arrived to Israel from the various other Arab countries), Israeli Jewish cuisine is both authentically Jewish (and most often kosher) and distinctively local "Israeli", yet thoroughly hybridised from its multicultural diasporas’ Jewish origins.


Influences on Jewish cuisine


''Kashrut''—Jewish dietary laws

The laws of keeping
kosher ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...

kosher
(''kashrut'') have influenced Jewish cooking by prescribing what foods are permitted and how food must be prepared. The word kosher is usually translated as "proper". Certain foods, notably
pork Pork is the for the of the (''Sus scrofa domesticus''). It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig dating back to 5000 BC. Pork is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved; extends the of pork products. , , , ...

pork
,
shellfish Shellfish is a colloquial and fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and ...

shellfish
and almost all
insects Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
are forbidden; meat and dairy may not be combined and meat must be ritually slaughtered and
salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure fo ...

salt
ed to remove all traces of blood. Observant Jews will eat only meat or poultry that is certified
kosher ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...

kosher
. The meat must have been slaughtered by a '' shochet'' (ritual slaughterer) in accordance with Jewish law and is entirely drained of blood. Before it is cooked, it is soaked in water for half an hour, then placed on a perforated board, sprinkled with coarse
salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure fo ...

salt
(which draws out the blood) and left to sit for one hour. At the end of this time, the salt is washed off and the meat is ready for cooking. Today, kosher meats purchased from a butcher or supermarket are usually already ''koshered'' as described above and no additional soaking or salting is required. According to ''kashrut'', meat and poultry may not be combined with dairy products, nor may they touch plates or utensils that have been touched by dairy products. Therefore, Jews who strictly observe ''kashrut'' divide their kitchens into different sections for meat and for dairy, with separate ovens, plates and utensils (or as much as is reasonable, given financial and space constraints; there are procedures to ''kasher'' utensils that have touched dairy to allow their use for meat). As a result, butter, milk and cream are not used in preparing dishes made with meat or intended to be served together with meat. Oil, ''
pareve In ''kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of th ...
'' margarine, rendered
chicken fat Chicken fat is fat obtained (usually as a by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a production process, manufacturing process or chemical reaction; it is not the primary product or service being produced. A by-p ...

chicken fat
(often called
schmaltz Schmaltz (also spelled schmalz or shmalz) is rendered (clarified) chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms ass ...

schmaltz
in the Ashkenazi tradition), or non-dairy cream substitutes are used instead. Despite religious prohibitions, some foods not generally considered kosher have made their way into traditional Jewish cuisine;
sturgeon Sturgeon is the common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is s ...

sturgeon
, which was consumed by European Jews at least as far back as the 19th century, is one example.


Geographical dispersion

The hearty cuisine of
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
was based on centuries of living in the cold climate of Central and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
, whereas the lighter, "sunnier" cuisine of
Sephardi Jews Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas ...
was affected by life in the Mediterranean region. Each Jewish community has its traditional dishes, often revolving around specialties from their home country. In
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
,
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
s are a common ingredient and many foods are fried in oil. The idea of frying fish in the stereotypically
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...
fish and chips Fish and chips is a popular hot dish consisting of fried fish 250px, Fried fish and chips with lemon, ketchup, and tartar sauce as served in San Diego. Fried fish is any fish or shellfish that has been prepared by frying. Often, the fish i ...

fish and chips
, for example, was introduced to Britain by Sephardic Jewish immigrants. In
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
, stews were popular. The Jews of
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
specialized in pickles,
herring Herring are forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish fee ...

herring
,
butter cake A butter cake is a cake in which one of the main ingredients is butter. Butter cake is baked with basic ingredients: butter, sugar, Egg (food), eggs, flour, and leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda. It is considered as one of th ...
s and ''bolas'' (jamrolls). In
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, Jews made various kinds of stuffed and stewed fish along with matza ball soup or
''lokshen'' noodles
''lokshen'' noodles
. In
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, Jews ate ''
couscous Couscous; ', or kseksu is a North African North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlanti ...

couscous
'' and ''
tagine A tajine or tagine is a North African North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores ...

tagine
''. Thus, a traditional
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
meal for Ashkenazi Jews might include stuffed vine leaves, roast beef, pot roast, or chicken, carrots ''
tzimmes
tzimmes
'' and potatoes. A traditional Shabbat meal for Sephardi Jews would focus more on salads, ''couscous'' and other Middle-Eastern specialties.


History of Jewish cuisine


Biblical era

The daily diet of the ordinary ancient Israelite was mainly one of bread, cooked grains and legumes. Bread was eaten with every meal. The bread eaten until the end of the Israelite monarchy was mostly made from barley flour. During the Second Temple era bread made from wheat flour became predominant. A variety of breads were produced. Probably most common were unleavened flat loaves called ''ugah'' or ''kikkar.'' Another type was a thin wafer, known as a ''rakik.'' A thicker loaf, known as ''hallah,'' was made with the best-quality flour, usually for ritual purposes. Bread was sometimes enriched by the addition of flour from legumes (Ezekiel 4:9). The Mishna ( Hallah 2:2) mentions bread dough made with fruit juice instead of water to sweeten the bread. The Israelites also sometimes added fennel and cumin to bread dough for flavor and dipped their bread in vinegar (Ruth 2:14), olive oil, or sesame oil for extra flavor. Vegetables played a smaller, but significant role in the diet. Legumes and vegetables were typically eaten in
stew A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been Cooking, cooked in Soup, liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats su ...

stew
s. Stews made of lentils or beans were common and they were cooked with onion, garlic, and leeks for flavor. Fresh legumes were also roasted, or dried and stored for extended periods, then cooked in a soup or a stew. Vegetables were also eaten uncooked with bread. Lentils were the most important of the legumes and were used to make pottages and soups, as well as fried lentil cakes called ashishim. The Israelites drank
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of typically kept as . It was from the (''C. aegagrus'') of and . The goat is a member of the animal family and the subfamily , meaning it is closely related ...
and
sheep's milk , France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. ...
when it was available in the spring and summer and ate butter and cheese. They also ate honey, both from bees and
date honey Date honey, date syrup, date molasses, Debes ( ar, دِبس, ), or rub ( ar, رُب, ; he, דְּבַש תמרים ''dvash tmarim'' or סילאן, ''silan''; fa, شیره خرما) is a thick dark brown, very sweet fruit syrup extracted from Pho ...
. Figs and grapes were the fruits most commonly eaten, while dates, pomegranates, almonds, and other fruits and nuts were eaten more occasionally. Wine was the most popular beverage and sometimes other fermented beverages were produced. Meat, usually goat and mutton, was eaten rarely by most Israelites and reserved for special occasions, such as celebrations, festival meals, or sacrificial feasts. The wealthy ate meat more frequently and had
beef Beef is the culinary nameCulinary names, menu names, or kitchen names are names of foods used in the preparation or selling of food, as opposed to their names in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating pl ...

beef
,
venison Venison originally meant the meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume ...

venison
, and
veal Veal is the meat of calves Calves is a hamlet in Póvoa de Varzim Póvoa de Varzim (, ) is a Portugal, Portuguese city in Norte Region, Portugal, Northern Portugal and sub-region of Greater Porto, 30 km from its city centre. It sits ...

veal
available to them. Olives were used primarily for their oil, which was used raw and to cook meat and stews.
Game A game is a structured form of play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital content serv ...
(usually deer and gazelle), birds, eggs, and fish were also eaten, depending on availability. Meat was typically prepared in broths or stews, and sometimes roasted. For long-term storage, meat was smoked, dried, or salted.
Porridge Porridge is a food commonly eaten as a breakfast cereal dish, made by heating or boiling ground, crushed or chopped starchy plants, typically grain, in milk. It is often cooked or served with added flavourings such as sugar, honey, (dried) fruit ...

Porridge
and
gruel Gruel is a food consisting of some type of cereal A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull or fruit layer, harvested for huma ...
were made from ground grain, water, salt, and butter. This mixture also formed the basis for cakes, to which oil, called '' shemen'', and fruits were sometimes added before baking. Most food was eaten fresh and in season. Fruits and vegetables had to be eaten as they ripened and before they spoiled. People had to contend with periodic episodes of hunger and famine. Producing enough food required hard and well-timed labor and the climatic conditions resulted in unpredictable harvests and the need to store as much food as possible. Thus, grapes were made into raisins and wine, olives were made into oil, figs, beans and lentils were dried and grains were stored for use throughout the year. As fresh milk tended to spoil quickly, the Israelites stored milk in skin containers that caused it to curdle quickly and drank it as thick sour milk which they called ''laban.'' Descriptions of typical Israelite meals appear in the Bible. The
Book of Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible and two books (1 Samuel and 2 Samuel) in the Christian Old Testament. The book is part of the narrative history of Ancient Israel called the Deuteronomistic history, a series of books (Book of Joshu ...
described the rations
Abigail Abigail () was married to Nabal According to the 1st Book of Samuel Chapter 25, Nabal ( ''Nāḇāl'', "fool"), was a rich Calebite, described as harsh and surly. He is featured in a story in which he is threatened by David over an insult, and ...

Abigail
brought to
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
's group: bread loaves, wine, butchered sheep, parched grain, raisins, and fig cakes. The
Book of Ruth The Book of Ruth (abbreviated Rth) ( he, מגילת רות, ''Megilath Ruth'', "the Scroll of Ruth", one of the Five Megillot) is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim Ketuvim (; hbo, כְּתוּבִים Kethūvīm "wri ...
described a typical light breakfast: bread dipped in vinegar and parched or roasted grain. The cuisine maintained many consistent traits based on the main products available from the early Israelite period until the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...
, even though new foods became available during this extended time. For example,
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
was introduced during the Persian era. During the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
, as trade with the
Nabatean The Nabataeans, also Nabateans (; Nabataean Aramaic Nabataean Aramaic was the Western Aramaic The Western Aramaic languages represent a specific group of Aramaic languages, once spoken widely throughout the ancient Levant The Levant ( ...
s increased, more spices became available, at least for those who could afford them and more Mediterranean fish were imported into the cities. During the Roman period,
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, ...

sugar cane
was introduced. The symbolic food of the ancient Israelites continued to be important among
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
after the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in 70 CE and the beginning of the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
. Bread, wine and olive oil were seen as direct links to the three main crops of ancient Israel—wheat, grapes and olives. In the Bible, this trio is described as representing the
divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God ( ...

divine
response to human needs () and, particularly, the need for the seasonal rains vital for the successful cultivation of these three crops. (). The significance of wine, bread and oil is indicated by their incorporation into Jewish religious
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial exp ...

ritual
, with the blessings over wine and bread for
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
and holiday meals and at religious ceremonies such as
weddings A wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of marriage vo ...

weddings
and the lighting of Shabbat and festival lights with olive oil. Modern Jewish cooking originated in the various communities of the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
, and modern Jewish cuisine bears little resemblance to what the ancient Israelites ate. However, a few dishes that originated in ancient Israel survive to the present day. Notably among them is
cholent Cholent ( yi, טשאָלנט, tsholnt ''or'' tshulnt) or Hamin ( he, חמין) is a traditional Jewish stew. It is usually Simmering, simmered overnight for 12 hours or more, and eaten for lunch on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Cholent was developed o ...

cholent
, or ''hamin'', a stew traditionally eaten on Shabbat that is for 12 hours in a way that conforms with Shabbat restrictions. It dates to at least the
Second Temple period The Second Temple period in Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism a ...
. Various diaspora communities created their own variations of the dish based on their local climate and available ingredients, which are eaten today. Other foods dating to the ancient Israelites include ''pastels'', or Shabbat meat pies, and
charoset:''For the ancient city in the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible T ...

charoset
, a sweet fruit and nut paste eaten at the Passover Seder.


Talmudic era

Bread was a staple food and as in the Bible, the meal is designated by the simple term "to eat bread", so the rabbinical law ordains that the blessing pronounced upon bread covers everything else except wine and dessert. Bread was made not only from wheat, but also from barley, rice, millet, lentils, etc. Many kinds of fruit were eaten. There was a custom to eat apples during
Shavuot (''Ḥag HaShavuot'' or ''Shavuos'') , nickname = English: "Feast of Weeks" , observedby = Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international sta ...

Shavuot
, while specific fruit and herbs were eaten on holidays and special occasions such as
Rosh Hashana Rosh HaShanah ( he, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, ), literally meaning "head fthe year", is the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originat ...
. Children received nuts and roasted ears of grain especially on the evening of Passover. Olives were so common that they were used as a measure (''zayit''). Meat was eaten only on special occasions, on
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
and at feasts. The pious kept fine cattle for Shabbat (Beẓah 16a), but various other kinds of dishes, relishes and spices were also on the table. Deer, also, furnished meat, as did pheasant, chickens and pigeons. Fermented fish sauce was an important article of commerce, being called "
garum Garum is a fermented Fermentation is a metabolic Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological proce ...
" among the Jews, as among the Greeks and Romans. Pliny says expressly of a "''garum castimoniale''" (i.e.,
kosher ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...

kosher
garum) that it was prepared according to Jewish law. A specific type of locust was eaten. Eggs were so commonly eaten that the quantity of an egg was used as a measure. The devastation of the
Bar-Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt ( he, מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא, links=no; ''Mered Bar Kokhba'') was a rebellion of the Jews of the Judea (Roman province), Roman province of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire. Fought cir ...
greatly reduced the variety of the local diet. In its aftermath, the amount of imported goods declined and vegetables became a luxury. The typical meal consisted of a slice of bread dipped in olive oil, a soup or
gruel Gruel is a food consisting of some type of cereal A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull or fruit layer, harvested for huma ...
of legumes, and fruits, especially figs. On
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
, a small amount of fish and vegetables were eaten. While pork was prohibited by Jewish laws as described under ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
'', the refusal to eat pork only became central to Jewish identity while under Roman rule. Pork consumption during the Roman period increased and became closely affiliated with Romans not only as a common cuisine but also as a frequently sacrificed animal. Jordan Rosenblum has argued that by not consuming pork, Jews maintained their sense of particularity and even held a silent revolt against the Roman Empire.


Structure of meal

The first dish was a pickled starter to stimulate the appetite, followed by the main meal, which ended with a dessert, called in Greek ''θάργημα''. ''Afiḳomen'' is used in the same sense. Tidbits () were eaten before and after the meal (Ber. vi. 6). Wine was flavored with myrrh or with honey and pepper, the mixture being called ''conditum''. There was vinegar wine, wine from Amanus and Cilicia, red wine from Saron, Ethiopian wine, and black wine. Certain wines were considered good for the stomach, others not. There was beer from Egypt called '' zythos'' (Pes. iii. 1) and beer made from a thorn ''Spina regia''. Emphasis was placed on drinking with the meal as eating without drinking (any liquid) causes stomach trouble.


Middle Ages

The Jews were so widely scattered in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
that it is difficult to give a connected account of their mode of living as to food. In Arabic countries the author of the ''
Halakhot GedolotHalachoth Gedoloth (lit. great halacha, halachoth) is a work on Jewish law dating from the Geonim, Geonic period. It exists in several different recensions, and there are sharply divergent views on its authorship, though the dominant opinion attribut ...
'' knew some dishes that appear to have been specific Jewish foods, e.g., ''paspag'', which was, perhaps, biscuit. According to the ''Siddur Amram'', the well-known "''''" is made in those countries from a mixture of herbs, flour and honey (Arabic,"''ḥalikah''").
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
, in his "Sefer Refu'ot", mentions dishes that are good for health. He recommends bread baked from wheat that is not too new, nor too old, nor too fine, further, the meat of the kid, sheep and chicken and the yolks of eggs. Goats' and cows' milk is good, nor are cheese and butter harmful. Honey is good for old people; fish with solid white flesh meat is wholesome; so also are wine and
dried fruit Dried fruit is fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term ...

dried fruit
s. Fresh fruits, however, are unwholesome, and he does not recommend garlic or onions. There is detailed information about Italian Jewish cookery in the book ''Massechet Purim''. It discusses pies, chestnuts, turtledoves, pancakes, small tarts, gingerbread, ragouts, venison, roast goose, chicken, stuffed pigeons, ducks, pheasants, partridges, quails, macaroons and salad. These were considered luxuries. The oppressed medieval Jews enjoyed large meals only on Shabbat, festivals, circumcisions and weddings. For example, the Jews of
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Gre ...

Rhodes
, according to a letter of Ovadiah Bartinura, 1488, lived on herbs and vegetables only, never tasting meat or wine. In
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, however, meat, fish and cheese were obtainable, in
Gaza Gaza may refer to: Places Palestine * Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea ** Gaza City, a city in the Gaza Strip ** Gaza Governorate, a governorate in the Gaza Strip United States * Gaza, Iowa, an ...
, grapes, fruit and wine. Cold dishes are still relished in the East. Generally, only one dish was eaten, with fresh bread daily. Some Jewish dishes frequently mentioned in
Yiddish literature Yiddish literature encompasses all those belles-lettres ''Belles-lettres'' or ''belles lettres'' is a category of writing, originally meaning beautiful or fine writing. In the modern narrow sense, it is a label for literary works that do not fall ...
from the 12th century onward are ''brätzel'', ''lokshen'', ''pasteten'', ''fladen'', ''beleg''. ''Barscht'' or
borscht Borscht () is a Ukrainian beet soup common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is typically made using a large amount of beets (normally sour beets), by combining meat or bone Stock (food), stock with Sautéing, sautéed vegetables, which ...

borscht
is a Ukrainian beet soup, best known are the ''berkes'' or ''barches'' (challah) eaten on Shabbat, and ''shalet'' (cholent), which Heine commemorates, and which the Spanish Jews called ''ani'' (hamin). Shabbat pudding, ''kigl'' or
kugel Kugel ( yi, קוגל , pronounced ) is a baked pudding or casserole, most commonly made from lokshen or Jewish egg noodles ( ) or potato. It is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, Jewish dish, often served on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Et ...

kugel
in Yiddish, is also well known.


Modern era

In the United States, in particular, Jewish cooking (and the cookbooks that recorded and guided it) evolved in ways that illuminate changes in the role of Jewish women and the Jewish home.Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
"Kitchen Judaism,"
in ''Getting Comfortable in New York: The American Jewish Home, 1880-1950'', edited by Susan L. Braunstein and Jenna Weisman Joselit (New York: The Jewish Museum, 1990), pp.75-105. (This article is also available, in pdf format, her

)
Jewish cuisine has also played a big part in shaping the restaurant scene in the West, in particular in the UK and US.
Israeli cuisine Israeli may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...
in particular has become a leading food trend in the UK, with many Israeli restaurants now opening up sister restaurants in London and beyond. In the 1930s there were four Jewish bakeries in
Minneapolis Minneapolis () is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. With a population of 429,954 as of 2020 United States census, 2020, it is the most populous city in the state and the 46th most populous in the nation. The county seat of Hennepin County, ...

Minneapolis
within a few blocks of each other baking bagels and other fresh breads. Jewish families purchased ''
challah Challah (, he, חַלָּה or ; plural: or ) is a special bread of Ashkenazi Jewish Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of ...

challah
'' loaves for their Sabbath meal at one North Side bakery. There were two kosher meat markets and four Jewish delicatessens, one of which began distribution for what would become Sara Lee frozen
cheesecakes Cheesecake is a sweet dessert consisting of one or more layers. The main, and thickest, layer consists of a mixture of a soft, fresh cheese (typically cottage cheese, cream cheese or ricotta), Egg as food, eggs, and sugar. If there is a Crust ( ...

cheesecakes
. The delis sold sandwiches like corned beef and salami. In Chicago Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe ate a type of oatmeal cereal called Krupnik (soup), ''krupnik'' that sometimes had barley, potatoes and fat added, and milk when it was available. Orthodox Jews continued to observe ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
''. Sweatshop laborers carried bagels, knish and
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herring
to work.


Jewish cuisine variations

Jewish cuisines vary widely depending on their regions of origin, but they tend to be broadly categorized into
Sephardi Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
(Iberian and North African),
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
(Middle Eastern and Central Asian) and
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
(Eastern and Central European) families. Still, there is significant overlap between the different cuisines, as Jews have often migrated great distances and as different regions where Jews have settled (e.g. Southeastern Europe) have been influenced by different cultures over time. For example, Balkan Jewish cuisine contains both Ashkenazi/European and Sephardic-Turkish influences, as this part of Europe (up to the borders of present-day Austria and Poland) was for a time part of the Ottoman Empire. Since the rise of Ashkenazi Jewish migration to 19th-century Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel, increased contact between Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews has led to a rising importance of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine amongst Jews of all ethnicities.


Ashkenazi

While Ashkenazi cuisine as it is known today is largely based within the context of American Jewish cuisine, American-Jewish and Ashkenazi-Israeli food, much of the culinary tradition of Ashkenazi Jews springs from Central and Eastern Europe. After having been expelled from Western Europe in the Middle Ages, Jews were forced to live in poverty and thus were limited in terms of ingredients. Dishes were made with fewer components; they were not heavily spiced and ingredients that were more flavorful had to be used sparingly. This is often why some dishes in Ashkenazic cuisine are known for being blander than dishes in Sephardic or Mizrahi cuisine. The cuisine is based largely on ingredients that were affordable for the historically poor Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Europe, often composed of ingredients that were readily available in Europe and affordable and which were perceived to be less desirable and rarely used by their gentile neighbors, such as brisket, chicken liver, and artichokes, among other ingredients. As Ashkenazi Jews were typically forbidden to grow crops in their home countries in Europe, their cuisine reflects that and there are less vegetable-focused dishes in their cuisine compared to their Sephardi and Mizrahi counterparts. Meat is ritually slaughtered in the ''shechita'' process, and is soaked and salted. Meat dishes are a prominent feature of
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
, festival, and celebratory meals. Braised meats such as brisket feature heavily, as do root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips which are used in such dishes as Latke, latkes, Matzah ball, matzo ball soup, and ''''. Cooked, stuffed and baked vegetables such as stuffed cabbage are central to the cuisine. Due to the lack of availability of olive oil and other fats traditionally used in Jewish cooking, fat from leftover chicken and goose skins (''gribenes'') called ''
schmaltz Schmaltz (also spelled schmalz or shmalz) is rendered (clarified) chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms ass ...

schmaltz
'' is traditionally used in Milk and meat in Jewish law, ''fleishig'' (meat) dishes, while butter is traditionally used in Milk and meat in Jewish law, ''milchig'' (dairy) dishes.


Fish

With kosher meat not always available, fish became an important staple of the Jewish diet. In Eastern Europe it was sometimes especially reserved for
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
. As fish is not considered a meat by the culinary definition nor in the Judaic context, it’s routinely eaten with milk and other dairy products by observant Jews. However, this is just a general rule among Jewish communities. In certain communities there are different rules regarding fish and dairy. One exception to the general rule are the Sephardi Jews, Sephardim who customarily not mix fish with milk or any other kind dairy product. Similarly, in Chabad-Hasidic Judaism, Hasidic custom it is not considered Kosher to consume fish together with specifically milk; however, it is permissible to eat fish and other Dairy product, dairy products ''(ex; butter, cheese, cream)'' at the same time. Even though fish is parve, when they are served at the same meal, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox Jews will eat them during separate courses and wash (or replace) the dishes in between. Gefilte fish and lox are popular in
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
cuisine. Though the combination of dairy and fish is generally acceptable, fish is the only parve food that the Talmud places restrictions on when it is being baked/eaten along side meat. Talmudic reasoning for not eating meat and fish together originates from health and sanitary concerns rather than holy obligations. Unlike with milk and meat, it is Kosher to eat fish and meat at the same meal as long as; they’re baked separately, they’re served on separate plates as separate courses, the same utensils aren’t shared, and between courses the mouth is thoroughly cleansed with a beverage & the palate is neutralized with a different food. Gefilte fish (from German ''gefüllte'' "stuffed" fish) was traditionally made by skinning the fish steaks, usually German carp, de-boning the flesh, mincing it and sometimes mixing with finely chopped browned onions (3:1), eggs, salt or pepper and vegetable oil. The fish skin and head were then stuffed with the mixture and poached. The religious reason for a boneless fish dish for the Sabbath is the prohibition of separating bones from food while eating [the prohibition of ''borer'', separating] A more common commercially packaged product found today is the "Polish" gefilte fish patties or balls, similar to quenelle, ''quenelles'', where sugar is added to the broth, resulting in a slightly sweet taste. Strictly speaking they are the fish filling, rather than the complete filled fish. This method of serving evolved from the tradition of removing the stuffing from the skin, rather than portioning the entire fish into slices before serving. While traditionally made with carp or Whitefish (fisheries term), whitefish and sometimes pike, gefilte fish may also be made from any large fish: cod, haddock, or hake in the United Kingdom. The combination of smoked salmon, or whitefish with bagels and cream cheese is a traditional breakfast or brunch in American Jewish cuisine, made famous at New York City delicatessens. Vorschmack or ''gehakte hering'' (chopped herring), a popular appetizer on Shabbat, is made by chopping skinned, boned
herring Herring are forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish fee ...

herring
s with hard-boiled Egg (food), eggs, sometimes onions, apples, sugar or Black pepper, pepper and a dash of vinegar.


Soups

A number of soups are characteristically
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
, one of the most common of which is chicken soup traditionally served on Shabbat, holidays and special occasions. The soup may be served with noodles (''lokshen'' in Yiddish). It is often served with ''shkedei marak'' (lit. "soup almonds", croutons popular in Israel), called ''mandlen'' or ''mandlach'' in Yiddish. Other popular ingredients are ''kreplach'' (dumplings) and matza balls ''(kneidlach)'' – a mixture of matza meal, eggs, water, and pepper or salt. Some reserve ''kneidlach'' for Passover and ''kreplach'' for other special occasions. In the preparation of a number of soups, neither meat nor fat is used. Such soups formed the food of the poor classes. An expression among Jews of Eastern Europe, ''soup mit nisht'' (soup with nothing), owes its origin to soups of this kind. Soups such as borsht were considered a staple in Russia. Soups like Krupnik (soup), ''krupnik'' were made of barley, potatoes and fat. This was the staple food of the poor students of the ''Yeshiva, yeshivot''; in richer families, meat was added to this soup. At weddings, "golden" chicken soup was often served. The reason for its name is probably the yellow circles of molten
chicken fat Chicken fat is fat obtained (usually as a by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a production process, manufacturing process or chemical reaction; it is not the primary product or service being produced. A by-p ...

chicken fat
floating on its surface. Today, chicken soup is widely referred to (not just among Jews) in jest as "Jewish penicillin", and hailed as a cure for the common cold. There are a number of sour soups in the borscht category. One is ''kraut'' or cabbage borscht, made by cooking together cabbage, meat, bones, onions, raisins, sour salt (citric acid), sugar and sometimes tomatoes. Beet borsht is served hot or cold. In the cold version, a beaten egg yolk may be added before serving and each bowl topped with a dollop of sour cream. This last process is called ''farweissen'' (to make white).


Bread and cake

The dough of
challah Challah (, he, חַלָּה or ; plural: or ) is a special bread of Ashkenazi Jewish Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of ...

challah
(called ''barkhes'' in Western Yiddish) is often shaped into forms having symbolical meanings; thus on Rosh Hashanah rings and coins are imitated, indicating "May the new year be as round and complete as these"; for Hosha'na Rabbah, bread is baked in the form of a key, meaning "May the door of heaven open to admit our prayers." Challah bread is most commonly braided or made in round roll shapes. The hamantashen, ''hamentash'', a triangular cookie or turnover filled with fruit preserves (''lekvar'') or honey and black poppy seed paste, is eaten on the Purim, Feast of Purim. It is said to be shaped like the ears of Haman (Bible), Haman the tyrant. The ''Mohn kichel, mohn kihel'' is a circular or rectangular wafer sprinkled with poppy seed. ''Pierogi, Pirushkes'', or turnovers, are little cakes fried in honey or dipped in molasses after they are baked. Strudel is served for dessert. Kugels are prepared from rice, noodles or mashed potatoes. In Eastern Europe, the Jews baked black (''proster'', or "ordinary") bread, white bread and
challah Challah (, he, חַלָּה or ; plural: or ) is a special bread of Ashkenazi Jewish Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of ...

challah
. The most common form is the twist (''koilitch'' or ''kidke'' from the Romanian language, Romanian word ''încolăci'' which means "to twist"). The ''koilitch'' is oval in form and about one and a half feet in length. On special occasions, such as weddings, the ''koilitch'' is increased to a length of about two and a half feet. The bagel, which originated in
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, is a popular
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
food and became widespread in the United States.


Meat and fats

''Gebratenes'' (roasted meat), chopped meat and ''essig-fleisch'' (vinegar meat) are favorite meat recipes. The ''essig'' or, as it is sometimes called, ''honig'' or ''sauerbraten'', is made by adding to meat which has been partially roasted with some sugar, bay leaves, pepper, raisins, salt and a little vinegar. Knish is a snack food consisting of a meat or potato filling covered with dough that is either baked or grilled. A popular dish among Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazim, as amongst most Eastern-Europeans, is ''pierogi'' (which are related to but distinct from ''kreplach''), often filled with minced beef. Kishka (food), ''Kishka'' is a popular Ashkenazi dish traditionally made of stuffing of flour or matza meal, ''schmaltz'' and spices. The rendered fat of chickens, known as ''
schmaltz Schmaltz (also spelled schmalz or shmalz) is rendered (clarified) chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms ass ...

schmaltz
'', is sometimes kept in readiness for cooking use when needed. ''Gribenes'' or "scraps", also called ''griven,'' the cracklings left from the rendering process were one of the favorite foods in Eastern Europe. ''Schmaltz'' is eaten spread on bread. A spread of chopped liver, prepared with onions and often including ''gribenes'', is a popular appetizer, side dish, or snack, especially among Jews on the eastern coast of North America. It is usually served with rye bread or crackers. Brisket (Jewish dish), Brisket is also a popular Ashkenazi dish of braised beef brisket. ''Holishkes'', stuffed cabbage, also known as the cabbage roll, is also a European Jewish dish that emerged from more impoverished times for Jews. Because having a live cow was more valuable than to eat meat in the Middle Ages, Jews used fillers such as breadcrumbs and vegetables to mix with ground beef. This gave the effect of more meat being stuffed into the cabbage leaves.


Sweets and confections

''Teiglach'', traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, consists of little balls of dough (about the size of a marble) drenched in a honey syrup. ''Ingberlach'' are ginger candies shaped into small sticks or rectangles. In Europe, jellies and preserves made from fruit juice were used as pastry filling or served with tea. Among the poor, jelly was reserved for invalids, hence the practice of reciting the Yiddish saying (May we not have occasion to use it) before storing it away. ''Flodni'', a layered sweet pastry consisting of apples, walnuts, currants and poppy seeds, were a staple of Hungarian Jewish bakeries prior to World War II. Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and contained no dairy products, compote became a staple dessert in Jewish households throughout Europe and was considered part of Jewish cuisine.


Side dishes

''Tzimmes'' consists generally of cooked vegetables or fruits, sometimes with meat added. The most popular vegetable is the carrot (''mehren tzimmes''), which is sliced. Turnips were also used for ''tzimmes'', particularly in Lithuania. In southern Russia, Galicia and Romania ''tzimmes'' was made of pears, apples, figs, prunes or plums (''floymn tzimmes''). ''Kreplach'', similar to Russian ''pelmeni'', are ravioli-like dumplings made from flour and eggs mixed into a dough, rolled into sheets, cut into squares and then filled with finely chopped, seasoned meat or cheese. They are most often served in soup, but may be fried. ''Kreplech'' are eaten on various holidays, among them Purim and Hosha'na Rabbah.


Sephardi, Mizrahi and Italian Jewish cuisine

The exact distinction between traditional Cuisine of the Sephardic Jews, Sephardic and Cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews, Mizrahi cuisines can be difficult to make, due to the intermingling of the Sephardi diaspora and the Mizrahi Jews who they came in contact with. As a general rule, however, both types reflect the food of the local non-Jewish population that each group lived amongst. The need to preserve ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
'' does lead to a few significant changes (most notably, the use of olive oil instead of animal fat is often considered to be a legacy of Jewish residency in an area, due to the fact that olive oil may be eaten with milk, unlike animal fat). Despite this, Sephardic and Ashkenazic concepts of kosher differ; perhaps the most notable difference being that
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rice
, a major staple of the Sephardic diet, is considered kosher for Passover among Sephardim but it is forbidden as ''kitniyot'' by most Ashkenazim. Sephardi cuisine emphasizes salads, stuffed vegetables and vine leaves, olive oil, lentils, fresh and dried fruits, herbs and nuts, and chickpeas. Meat dishes often make use of lamb or ground beef. Fresh lemon juice is added to many soups and sauces. Many meat and rice dishes incorporate dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and raisins. Pine nuts are used as a garnish. Mizrahi cuisine is based largely on fresh ingredients, as marketing was done in the local souq. Meat is ritually slaughtered in the ''shechita'' process, and is soaked and salted. Meat dishes are a prominent feature of
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
, festival, and celebratory meals. Cooked, stuffed and baked vegetables are central to the cuisine, as are various kinds of beans, chickpeas, lentils and burghul (cracked wheat). Rice takes the place of potatoes. Coming from the Mediterranean and "sunny" climes,
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
cuisine is often light, with an emphasis on salads, stuffed vegetables and vine leaves, olive oil, lentils, fresh and dried fruits, herbs and nuts, and chickpeas. Meat dishes often make use of lamb or ground beef. Fresh lemon juice is added to many soups and sauces. Many meat and rice dishes incorporate dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and raisins. Pine nuts are used as a garnish. Pomegranate juice is a staple of Persian Jewish cooking. ''Kubbeh'', a meat-stuffed bulgur dumpling, features in the cooking of many Mizrahi communities. It is served in the cooking broth, as a kind of soup. Sephardi Jews, Sephardic cuisine in particular is known for its considerable use of vegetables unavailable to the Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazim of Europe, including spinach, artichokes, pine nuts and (in more modern times) Squash (plant), squash. The cooking style is largely Middle Eastern, with significant admixtures of Spanish, Italian and North African flavors. The most popular Sephardic and Mizrahi dishes include ''malawach'', ''jachnun'', ''sabich'', ''mofletta'', ''Jerusalem mixed grill, meorav yerushalmi zhug, skhug'' and amba (condiment), ''amba''.
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
Jewish cuisine has many unique dishes that were eaten by Jews in Iraq, Eastern Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran and Yemen.


Shabbat and holiday dishes


Shabbat

Good food is an important part of the ''mitzvah'' of ''oneg Shabbat'' ("enjoying Shabbat"), hence much of Jewish cuisine revolves around
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
. As observant Jews do not cook on Shabbat, various techniques were developed to provide for a hot meal on Shabbat day. One such dish is ''
cholent Cholent ( yi, טשאָלנט, tsholnt ''or'' tshulnt) or Hamin ( he, חמין) is a traditional Jewish stew. It is usually Simmering, simmered overnight for 12 hours or more, and eaten for lunch on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Cholent was developed o ...

cholent
'' or ''chamin'', a slow-cooked meat stew with many variations. The ingredients are placed in a pot and put up to boil before lighting the candles on Friday evening. Then the pot is placed on a hotplate, traditional ''blech'' (thin tin sheet used to cover the flames and on which the pot is placed), or in a slow oven and left to simmer until the following day. ''Cholent'' emerged in ancient Judea, possibly as far back as the
Second Temple period The Second Temple period in Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism a ...
. Over the centuries, as Jewish diaspora communities developed, they created variations of the dish based on the local climate and available ingredients. A prominent feature of Shabbat cookery is the preparation of twists of bread, known as challah, ''challot'' or (in southern Germany, Austria and Hungary) "barches". They are often covered with seeds to represent manna, which fell in a double portion on the sixth day. Another Shabbat dish is calf's foot jelly, called ''p'tsha'' or ''šaltiena'' in Lithuania and ''galarita'', ''galer'', ''galleh'', or ''fisnoge'' in Poland. Beef or calf bones are put up to boil with water, seasonings, garlic and onions for a long time. It is then allowed to cool. The broth then jells into a semi-solid mass, which is served in cubes. ''P'tcha, Drelies,'' a similar dish originating in south Russia and Galicia is mixed with Boiled egg, soft-boiled eggs and vinegar when removed from the oven and served hot. In Romania it is called ''piftie'', in Serbia ''pihtije''; it is served cold, with garlic, hard-boiled eggs and vinegar sauce or mustard creme and considered a traditional dish in the winter season. ''Kugel'' is another Shabbat favorite, particularly ''lokshen kugel,'' a sweet baked noodle pudding, often with raisins and spices. Non-sweet kugels may be made of potatoes, carrots or a combination of vegetables. Traditional noodles—''lokshen''—are made from a dough of flour and eggs rolled into sheets and then cut into long strips. If the dough is cut into small squares, it becomes ''farfel.'' Both ''lokshen'' and ''farfel'' are usually boiled and served with soup.


Rosh Hashanah

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jews, Jewish New Year, several symbolic foods called are prepared and eaten for a variety of different reasons, each unique to the dish. All of the ingredients within the dishes are
kosher ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...

kosher
, which means they follow the laws of
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
, the Hebrew word for correct. The majority of the dishes are sweetened to represent a prayer for a sweet (pleasant) new year. Such sweet dishes include apples that are either baked or covered in honey, ''lekach'' (honey cake) and ''makroudh'' (a pastry that is filled with dates and covered with honey). Date (fruit), Dates, symbolizing the end, can also be eaten by themselves to encourage the enemies to meet their end. The value of the date can be traced back to biblical times, when the Date palm, palm date is mentioned multiple times within the Bible itself, but also with how valuable dates were as an export. Pomegranate seeds are eaten for a year of many blessings, because there are many seeds inside of a single pomegranate. Specifically, there are thought to be 613 seeds inside of a pomegranate, each one representing one of the Torah, Torah's 613 commandments. The traditional value placed on pomegranates and their consumption is derived from their mention in the Bible when its discovery by one of Moses's spies concluded that there was fertility in the land of the unknown. Challah bread is baked into a round, circular shape that is meant to represent the cyclical nature of life and the crown. It is also sweetened with either honey or a combination of cinnamon and sugar instead of being dipped into the usual Kosher foods, kosher salt. ''Tzimmes'', a side dish composed traditionally of sweetened carrots or yams, are served to symbolize prosperity, because of the double meaning of Yiddish word ''meren'', which represents "to multiply" and "carrot". Additional symbolic foods include: *''Teiglach'', knotted pastries boiled in a honeyed syrup (for
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
Jews). *Head of a Fish (food), fish or a mutton, ram, for a successful year in which we are the "head", not the "tail" (because Rosh Hashanah begins the year it is the head). *Fried leek cutlets, called ''karteh'' (for Sephardi Jews, Sephardic Jews). *Fried chard cutlets, called ''salkeh'' (for Sephardic Jews). *Local type of zucchini called ''qara'a'', made into sweet confiture (for Sephardic Jews). * History of the Jews in Algeria, Algerian Jews serve a honey-dipped date pastry called ''makroudh''.


Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is a fast day. The pre-fast meal, called ''seuda hamafseket'', usually consists of foods that are digested slowly and are not highly spiced, to make fasting easier and prevent thirst.


Sukkot

On Sukkot meals are eaten outside in the ''sukkah'', a thatched hut built specially for the holiday. Often fresh fruits are eaten also, which are woven into the roof of the thatched hut.


Hanukkah

It is customary to eat foods fried in oil to celebrate Hanukkah. Eating dairy products was a custom in medieval times. *Latke, ''Latkes''—potato pancakes, may be topped with sour cream or applesauce (Ashkenazi food) *Sufganiya, Sufganiyot—jam doughnuts (Ashkenazi, popular in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
) *Fried doughnuts with grounded sugar sprinkled on top, called ''Sfenj, sfinge'' (mainly by Maghrebi Jews, North African Jews) or ''zalabiyeh''. *''Rugelach''—filled pastry.


Purim

*''Hamantaschen''—triangular pastries traditionally filled with poppy seeds or prunes *Couscous—a Berbers, Berber dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina traditionally served with a stew spooned on top *''Fazuelos''—Sephardic pastries of thin fried dough *''Ma'amoul''—shortbread pastries filled with dates or nuts


Passover

Passover celebrates The Exodus from Egypt where it is said the Jewish people left so quickly, there was no time for their bread to rise. Commemorating this event, Jews eat Matzo, matza and abstain from bread, cakes and other foods made with yeast and leavening agents. In modern times, rabbinical authorities permit the use of chemical leavening, such as baking powder. Matza is a staple food during the holiday and used as an ingredient of many Passover dishes. ''Kneidlach'' (Matzah ball, matza ball) soup is traditional. Fish is coated with matza meal before frying and cakes and puddings are made with potato starch and matza meal. Jewish cooks use both matza meal and potato starch for pastries during Passover. Whisked whole eggs or egg whites are frequently used to make pastries without leavening agents, such as angel and sponge cakes (potato starch replacing cake flour) and coconut and almond macaroons. Passover foods vary distinctly between Sephardi Jews, Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazic communities. Ashkenazim exclude rice, while it is served by Sephardim. Matza is traditionally prepared from water and flour only, but there are other varieties, such as egg matza, which may also contain fruit juice. At the Passover Seder, seder, it is customary in some communities, particularly among strictly Orthodox Jews, to use handmade , which has undergone particularly strict ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
'' supervision. The exclusion of leaven from the home has forced Jewish cooks to be creative, producing a wide variety of Passover dishes that use matza meal and potato as thickeners. Potato flour is largely used in cakes along with finely ground matza meal and nuts. Popular Ashkenazi dishes are ''matzo brei, matza brei'' (crumbled matza with grated onion, fried with scrambled egg), ''matza latkes'' (pancakes) and ''chremslach'' (also called ''crimsel'' or ''gresjelies,'' matza meal fritters). Wined ''matza kugels'' (pudding) have been introduced into modern Jewish cooking. For thickening soups and sauces at Passover fine matza meal or potato flour is used instead of flour, for frying fish or cutlets a coating of matza meal and egg, and for stuffing potatoes instead of soaked bread. "Noodles" may be made by making pancakes with beaten eggs and matza meal which, when cooked, are rolled up and cut into strips. They may be dropped into soup before serving. (dumplings) are small balls made from suet mixed with chopped fried onions, chopped parsley, beaten egg and seasonings, dropped into soup and cooked. Wine is also an important part of Passover meals. Traditionally, a Passover seder is served with four cups of wine or grape juice, to be consumed along with various parts of the seder. Kosher wine is typically consumed for Passover.


Shavuot

Dairy foods are traditionally eaten on
Shavuot (''Ḥag HaShavuot'' or ''Shavuos'') , nickname = English: "Feast of Weeks" , observedby = Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international sta ...

Shavuot
. *Blintzes *Cheesecake


Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'av is a fast day, preceded by nine days when Jews traditionally do not eat meat, except on
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
. Thus dairy and vegetarian dishes are prepared during this time of year. The meal before the fast (the ) also consists of dairy foods and usually contains dishes made from lentils and eggs, both ancient Jewish symbols of mourning.See Marks, ''The World of Jewish Cooking'', pg 209 Some
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
Jews eat hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with ashes to symbolize mourning.


See also

* American Jewish cuisine * Appetizing store * Israeli cuisine, Cuisine of Israel * Cuisine of the Sephardic Jews * Cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews * Delicatessen * Hechsher * Jewish vegetarianism * Kosher restaurant * Kosher wine * List of Jewish cuisine dishes * List of kosher restaurants


References

:


Bibliography

*Mildred Grosberg Bellin, Bellin, Mildred Grosberg, ''The Original Jewish Cook Book'', New York, Bloch Publishing, 1983, *Cooper, John, ''Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food'', New Jersey, Jason Aronson Inc., 1993, *Goldstein, Joyce and Da Costa, Beatriz, ''Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean'', Chronicle Books, 2000, * * * * * *Gil Marks, Marks, Gil, ''The World of Jewish Cooking: More than 500 Traditional Recipes from Alsace to Yemen'', New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996, * *Claudia Roden, Roden, Claudia, ''The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York'', New York, Knopf, 1997, *Schwartz, Oded, ''In Search of Plenty: A History of Jewish Food'', London, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 1992, *Sternberg, Robert, ''The Sephardic Kitchen: The Healthful Food and Rich Culture of the Mediterranean Jews'', Harper Collins, 1996,


Historical

*Atrutel, J., ''Book of Jewish Cookery'', London, 1874 *Greenbaum, Florence Kreisler,
The International Jewish Cookbook
', New York, Bloch Publishing, 1919 *Kander, Mrs. Simon (Lizzie Black Kander)
''The Settlement Cookbook''
Milwaukee, The Settlement, 1901 *Kramer, Bertha M. ("Aunt Babette")
''Aunt Babette’s Cook Book''
Cincinnati, Bloch Publishing, 1889 *Montefiore, Lady Judith (attr),
The Jewish Manual
', London, 1846 *''Aunt Sarah's Cookery Book for a Jewish Kitchen'', Liverpool, 1872; 2d ed., 1889


Further reading

*Jackson, Judy (1998) ''Classic Jewish''. London: Hermes House {{DEFAULTSORT:Jewish Cuisine Jewish cuisine, Cuisine by culture Middle Eastern cuisine Cuisine by ethnicity