The Jewish culture has influenced in a lot of things around the world through history. For thousands of years, they have contributed in many cultural fields, like food, music, art, science, among other areas, giving to society new things to know and taste. Currently, Jewish people have important figures and symbols in a lot of ambit worldwide. They have great exponents in the restaurant industry, architecture, films, movies and arts businesses, and much more.
Some of these important Jewish contributions are very popular in multiple countries, but there are others which are barely known in some nations. For example, their food. Currently, some of the most important Jewish cooking offers are recognized in places like the United States, Europe and some countries in South America, but they are still unknown in other regions.
For this article, we asked one of the Jewish philanthropists, Josef Meystel about some of the most important and renowned Jewish plates, which have years and years of history, playing a very important role not only in the Jewish and Israeli society but in the entire world. On the other hand, we will see how the religion and Judaism traditions have influenced in their cuisine.
The origins of the Jewish cuisine
Before we show some of the most important dishes in the Jewish culture, it is very important to know and understand their roots and origins. Basically, the Jewish cousin has been influenced by multiple cultures from different places in the world, due to the Jews who are established in a lot of countries around the world. In other words, the Jewish food is the result of all those traditions taken from the different countries where the have been along the history.
This culinary offer has taken elements from many parts and regions around the planet, giving to this cuisine a great diversification and multiple proposals to keep both Jewish traditions and the other countries traditions. In addition, after the foundation of the State of Israel, their dishes have evolved, increasing their offer and mixing and adapting multiple ingredients and cooking techniques.
The most significant Jewish cuisine varieties are Indian, Yemenite, Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi. All these mentioned styles have their own structures, ingredients, and techniques, being the proof of the multi-cultural influence in the Jewish food.
Having this context clear, we will see some of the most distinctive dishes in the Jewish cuisine:
This plate could be prepared with noodles or potatoes. It could be a sweet or salty baked casserole which is served on the Sabbath or other holidays. It could be made also with veggies, fruits, dough or cheese and be prepared as the principal dish or dessert.
The Kugel has more than 800 years of history and its origins are in Germany. It has a lot of versions around the world, like Romanian, Lithuanian or Polish. This dish is part of the Ashkenazi cuisine style.
It is a braided bread prepared for multiple Jewish holidays. It is cooked with eggs, white flour, water, yeast, sugar or honey, salt and sesame seeds.
The Challah bread is a very important part of multiple Jewish holidays and rituals, being part of the Hafrashat challah ritual, which involves covering the challah or Salting the challah.
This braided bread has different presentations, like the Rosh Hashanah, which is Challah bread in a circular shape and is used in the celebration for the new year receiving. Its circular shape symbolizes the cycle of the year that will end.
Another presentation of the Challah bread is the Challah rolls, which has the same ingredients of the braided bread, but in a roll shape.
This is one of the most traditional foods for the Jewish people. It is an unleavened flatbread, basically prepared with flour, eggs, salt, and water. This is the basis or the companion for other dishes, like the matzo ball soup, matzo farfel or the Gebrochts.
One of the main uses for Matzo is the Matzo Pizza which is a pizza prepared with this traditional dough, being covered with cheese, veggies, and sauces. Another use for Matzo is for making lasagnas, pies, casseroles, among other preparations.
It is one of the most known Jewish dishes which combines a lot of veggies or fruits. The Tzimmes is a sweet stew made also with honey, cinnamon or sugar. Its preparation uses sometimes meat and it is cooked in slowly. This Jewish food is often prepared with dry fruits or raisins and it is usually cooked for the Rosh Hashanah, which is the celebration for receiving the new year.
As we have seen in this post, there are a lot of Jewish dishes which conserve and absorb a lot of history and traditions around the world. We have presented just a sample of the main exponents in the Jewish cuisine, but there are a lot of preparations which have a great history, being a significant part of their rituals, ceremonies, and life.