Traditional Jewish Food

JNS.org covers traditional Jewish food around the world and in Israel, as well as news from the Kosher food industry. Mollie Katzen, who is listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time and has been named by Health Magazine as one of “The Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat,” is a regular contributor. To select another topic, choose from the other content “categories” in our navigation bar.

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At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is Albert Allaham's story, too, with a few unusual twists. He arrived in the U.S. almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from some small town along the Danube, Albert's shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East Side, but rather a family-run butcher shop in Brooklyn. “Allaham” means “butcher” in Arabic, making it an appropriate name for a family with more than 200 years of experience in the meat business. Now, Albert is making his mark in the world of fine kosher dining at Reserve Cut, the elegant restaurant he opened in lower Manhattan in 2013.

Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Turkish coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese burekas: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, had an idea: Why not run a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything costs the same thing? Five shekels converts to about $1.50. “We are in this business not only to make money,” says Mizrahi. “We also want to help people make it.” 

Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark. Not exactly the Jewish capitals of America, but they are both home to major Jewish food festivals. "We have no Jewish deli in Asheville at this time," said Marty Gillen, chairman of Asheville's HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival. "We say that HardLox is the only day of the year that you can get real Jewish food in Asheville." In Little Rock, most of the roughly 10,000 annual attendees at the annual Jewish Food and Cultural Festival "are non-Jews, many of whom are experiencing Jewish food for the first time or for the only time that year," said Marianne Tettlebaum, director of the Jewish Federation of Arkansas.

The history of the knish represents more than just the lineage of a fried, dumpling-like food. It demonstrates the often-central role of food in communities and cultural legacies. Laura Silver knows that all too well. She has consumed knishes on three different continents, and her exhaustive research on the iconic potato treat has resulted in her new book, “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food,” which was released in early May.

Jaime Geller's grandparents really knew how to cook. Somehow, they could create the most scrumptious meals using no fancy equipment, and not even measuring spoons. Now, the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine presents a few of her favorite traditional recipes—with a twist.

Cheesecake expands the joy of the Shavuot holiday. Small cheesecake bars, topped with early strawberries, are a wonderful way to usher in the transition-to-summer month of June. A Thai tea cheesecake is beautiful and surprising, rounding out your holiday with a sense of orange expansiveness—and it is actually easier than handcrafting blintzes, writes Mollie Katzen, one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time.

The growing demand for natural, organic, vegetarian, fiber, and gluten-free alternatives among kosher consumers was apparent at Kosherfest 2013, the annual trade show of the kosher food industry. “We are constantly looking to find ways to be innovative with modern health trends,” Manischewitz Assistant Brand Manager Avital Pessar told JNS.org

All kinds of uber-creative latke recipes appear around Hanukkah-time: apple-parsnip latkes, sweet potato-leek latkes, sweet cheesy latkes, and savory cheese and chive latkes. But the truth is, you can’t go anywhere in the world of latkes until you’ve mastered the classic potato version, says celebrity chef Jamie Geller, who likes to try the latkes, keep them warm, and then layer them with show-stopping toppings. JNS.org presents two Hanukkah recipes from Geller's upcoming cookbook: latkes with caviar and cream, and cardamom-scented Hanukkah cookies.

While planning what to cook on Passover’s big seder night, it’s easy to forget to plan your meals for the rest of the holiday week. Suddenly, you find yourself staring at the wide-open cupboard with nothing but matzah staring back at you. But do not worry—Passover isn’t Yom Kippur, and with the right preparation, you can still eat a decent meal. Celebrity chef Mollie Katzen, one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time, offers some exciting vegetarian, pareve and dairy-based recipes to spice up your daily meals during the eight days of Passover.

You can always have the usual applesauce and sour cream on hand, but best-selling cookbook author Mollie Katzen suggests adding some intrigue and savory twists to latkes—in addition to sneaking in vegetables, herbs, nuts, and olive oil.

Nothing says Jewish food like a bowl of matzoh ball soup or a slab of pastrami on rye. But will Mediterranean gefilte fish or facon also be on that list one day? Fake bacon was just one of the many novelties unleashed on the Jewish culinary scene at Kosherfest, the nation’s largest annual kosher-food trade show, from Nov. 13-14.

Wine has always been an integral part of Judaism, but Israel has only recently come into its own as a producer of quality wine—notably quality wine that happens to be kosher. These days, a tourist can easily create a winery-based itinerary through the Jewish state, and JNS.org correspondent Lisë Stern did just that this fall.

Forget the usual apples with honey. Amos Hayon, an Israeli pastry chef who appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” program in 2011 and took home the $10,000 prize, presents six unique Rosh Hashanah-inspired desserts to JNS.org.

JNS.org consulted with several registered dietitians and nutritionists on how to prepare for the Yom Kippur fast and how to get through the day the healthy way.

Credit: Maxine Dovere.The Sixth Annual Kosher Wine and Food Experience in New York drew a crowd of almost 2,000 connoisseurs and ordinary consumers.

As borders become more faint, and online dating services more prevalent, many of us are pushed out of our respective ethnic bubbles and into the arms of a special someone from a different background.When marrying someone from a different background, what is the best way to provide a menu everyone will love?
Celebrity chef Mollie Katzen infuses different ethnic cuisines into our favorite dishes.
First supermarkets, then discount and convenience stores, then television and trade shows—kosher products continue to make “inroads in different segments of the food industry.”
A comprehensive and creative guide for how to incorporate apples into your Rosh Hashanah menu.