Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Food

How Ashkenazi Food Became Trendy in Israel

The story begins with a plate of tongue, which may terrify people nowadays but its tenderness and delicate flavor were once favored by children and adults alike. We ate some at Cafe 48 in Tel Aviv after two or three other courses. One of them was a divine sweet cornbread with sour cream and red chili, perfect as a comfort food for a morning hangover. Yet the tongue managed to activate not only the taste buds and pleasure sensors but also the mind. The four slices of meat were thick, not like the thin ones Grandma used to serve, but the texture and flavor brought back childhood memories. Despite the modern look and the addition of green leaves, the course – served with fresh horseradish and cornichon pickles – excelled in delivering a familiar sweetish taste that caused a twinge of nostalgia.

“Two years ago I started to experiment with cooking and pickling tongue,” says Cafe 48 chef Jonathan Borowitz. “Not with the presumption of reviving the old Eastern European Jewish cuisine, but to experiment with cooking and preserving an unfamiliar ingredient. The experiments failed, and I abandoned them.

“A few months ago, Noah Bernamoff, the founder and owner of the Mile End Deli in Brooklyn, came to the restaurant, and at the bar we began a fascinating conversation that lasted for almost four hours. We spoke quite a lot about the pickled and smoked meats that have earned his delicatessens an international reputation. This is a man who never studied cooking formally, and I told myself that if he can devote years of trial and error to deciphering the code of perfect pickling, I can continue to experiment, too.

“The result, inspired actually by a traditional French technique, is tongue that is marinated in salt and spices for at least five days before you cook it – for at least five hours – then cool and peel it. I could have combined a million other flavors with the juicy meat, but for some reason, for me it connected with the classic horseradish, purple onion and mustard.”

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.