If local, organic, seasonal, grass-fed meat doesn’t do it for you, have you considered going wild and biblical?
Mimi Sheraton, the iconic restaurant critic for the New York Times from 1975 to 1983, is known for balancing traditionalism with an open mind. A longtime resident of New York City, she has chronicled the ever-changing restaurant scene with incomparable precision. Sheraton, who is currently writing for the New Yorker, recently sat down with JCarrot to share her thoughts on how Jewish food has changed in New York City and what role the cuisine plays in her own kitchen.
Traditional Ashkenazi cuisine without fermented foods would be unrecognizable, not to mention less tangy. Latkes would be served without sour cream, and with no corned beef or sauerkraut, a deli sandwich at Katz’s would be nothing more than two vacant pieces of rye toast, unaccompanied by a sour pickle no less. Passover seders would have no wine, and without yeast, we’d be stuck with the bread of affliction all 353 to 385 days a (Jewish) year.
How many times have you thrown away the seeds when slicing a melon? Probably every time, unless you’re a fan of pepitada.
Americans are notorious for consuming fried foods, including the recent trend of deep-frying the Thanksgiving turkey. Yet our affair with hot oil has never spilled over into the realm of gefilte fish, much to the chagrin of Jews across the Atlantic.
When it comes to finding food, the human species clearly prefers the supermarket to the forest. Nevertheless, foraging for edible wild plants has become increasingly popular among some dedicated foodies. The wild foods movement is led, in large part, by two members of the tribe: Russ Cohen of Arlington, Mass., and Steve Brill of Mamaroneck, N.Y., the latter a figure more prominently known as “Wildman.”
In years past, you had one option for making latkes: the potato. Now countless variations exist, such as latkes made from zucchini, beets or vegetable medleys. Still, there is a surprising array of possibilities available from just sticking with the potato, provided you experiment with different types.
A list of foods served around the world on Rosh Hashanah would contain at least as many items as there are raisins in a round challah. Jews of all nations prepare countless dishes specific to the New Year, perhaps nowhere more so than in Morocco.
Cheesecake and blintzes hold an important place in the realm of Jewish cuisine, but they aren’t the be all and end all of Shavuot foods. In fact, there are many unique dishes — both dairy and nondairy — associated with the holiday that reflect the culinary traditions of Jews around the world.