If you are a Jewish food enthusiast and happen to live in New York, your calendar has been quite busy of late. Restaurants are hosting deli-themed Shabbat dinners, museums are hosting talks on gefilte fish and venues across the city are nodding to Ashkenazi fare in any number of creative ways. These events are focused on reimagining and updating Jewish cuisine, and have been permeated with a sense of nostalgia. They have also, seemingly, been attended by heavily Jewish audiences.
The early years of Nelson Mandela’s life as an organizer and revolutionary were marked by cross-cultural experiences centered around the table, even when such alliances were frowned upon politically. The Indian South African community, and the solidarity it showed in passive resistance campaigns, deeply influenced Mandela’s later mass actions and encouraged Mandela and his colleagues to work across racial and cultural lines. Among his greatest influencers was Amina Pahad, who became politically active in her teenage years, and welcomed activists of all backgrounds into her home, truly letting “all who were hungry come and eat” and creating a safe haven filled with political debate and good meals.
At the start of 2011 the world watched as the Egyptian people overthrew longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. It is not often that we can so easily honor the Haggadah’s instruction that “In every generation one must look upon himself as if he personally has come out of Egypt.”
After the bitter herbs, charoset, salt water and the symbolism that goes along with them, the Passover seder can easily slip into a festive meal containing minimal meaning, save for the deliciousness of this year’s soup versus last year’s. Though our Passover entrees are often filled with significance, as foods of family tradition and memories of Passovers past, main dishes during the seder should not be overlooked as an opportunity to infuse a holiday meal with meaning. This year we have chosen recipes from two nations, which in the last two decades have found new freedom — Egypt and South Africa. We hope that these dishes spark lively conversation about the path to modern freedom around the Passover table.
“If I catch one of you putting garlic powder in your soup…oy va voy…I’ll sue you”.
Chef Robbie Meltzer of Zola Wine and Kitchen in Washington, DC, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a devotee to complex and unabashedly treyf flavors. His infamous “conflict of interest Wednesdays” feature a pork dish paired with spicy matzo ball soup. But once a year his twice-weekly cooking class takes a turn toward the Jewish, though not exactly to his bubbe’s brisket. Meltzer’s annual “Cater Your Seder” class stars with a soft slow braised brisket topped with grated and toasted horseradish root and is paired with a “make your own haroset” bar featuring an array of global ingredients like garam masala and mandarin oranges. According to Meltzer, this popular class, which will soon be held for the second time is “very successful. It’s not a typical cooking class that we offer… but people really appreciate that we are embracing the holiday.”
We never could decide what (if any) prayers to say, what language to say them in, or what gender pronouns to use. For a stretch of time my “Shabbat crew” was a mish mash of religions (Catholics, atheists, Buddhists, etc) and religiosity (or lack thereof). We were a feisty group of about 15 college students, fresh out of the dorms and into off-campus housing and excited about a weekly dinner party with a little something more.
In honor of the influx of iPhone users that is sure to appear in the wake of Verizon’s recent acquisition, the Jew & the Carrot has rounded up six must-have apps for the Jewish foodie. From an online kosher cookbook to restaurant recommendations around the globe and a virtual tasting notebook, these apps are sure to indulge your foodie passion round the clock from your pocket. So sit back, charge your phone and get clicking.
Ben Havumaki, a friend who is traveling through Southeast Asia emailed me recently from Thailand, “I’m fresh back from a meal at the Chabad House in Chiang Mai. I ate…………..Schnitzel! It was paired with ‘Wok Stirred Vegetables.’”