Jews probably began arriving in South Africa around the turn of the 16th century, alongside the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, but the majority of Jewish immigrants arrived in Cape Town from Germany and Holland in the early 19th century. Later, Eastern European Jews, primarily Lithuanians, came in increasing numbers until World War II. In the latter part of the 20th century, Jews from Israel, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia also settled there.
Not that this isn’t an ideal meal — and with all due respect to tradition — but serving the same menu every year can grow a little stale.
The Torah is rich in fig references, including one for a pressed fig cake made by Abigail for David. Our recipe, below, pairs beautifully with a cheese plate.
“Eating Delancey” — what a super name for a book. I’ve had this relatively new volume by Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps on my desk for a little while now, and I keep dipping back into it because it’s so rich in delicious tidbits about the Jewish foodways of New York’s Lower East Side.
Opposite this recipe in the book “Eating Delancey” is the following quote: “Somehow the ingredients that are in chicken soup prevent colds and relieve headaches. However my favorite Jewish food is chicken chow mein.” — “Professor” Irwin Corey, Comedian. Such quips are strewn throughout the volume, along with tidbits of easily digestible history of the Jewish foods of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.