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Mar 5, 2007 11:16 AM

Simple Jewish food

I married a Jewish man and I'd love to make him food that will remind him of his mom's cooking...but I don't want to attempt to make something very complicated so if any of you know a simple recipe or two, please share!!
By the way, he isn't Kosher(though his parents are).

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  1. There is no such thing as "Jewish food" exactly. Many Jews come from families that originated in Eastern Europe, so the cooking will reflect that. But even that will differ depending on which country - Poland, Germany, Hungary, Roumania...each country has its own cuisine. Other Jews come from a Sephardic background - Spanish and North Africa, basically. So the cooking will be more Moroccan-ish. You probably should ask your husband what dishes he loved that his Mom made for him and that will give you a clue. Once you know that, you can start looking for simple recipes.

    1. So, Monica, have you tried asking his mother? Only because Jewish cooking varies by ethnicity. My background is Hungarian Jewish (Ashkenazi) - Central European and if your husband's family comes from Spain or the Middle East (Sephardim), those are VERY different cuisines. You would do yourself a favor by finding out what some of your husband's favorites recipes are and posting for those. If you are looking for a delicious brisket or kugel, I can help with that, but check with him first. Good Luck!

      1. I agree with everything that has already been said - however I do have one suggestion that a friend of mine made for me and was ultra delicious. Potato Kugel. I make mine from the Food Procesor cookbook - and it is really easy.


        1. I agree with the above posters in finding out background/food & I'd be sure to help. I just recently discovered that my non Jewish friends didn't know what a knish is- and we grew up in the same areas- interesting.

          1. I also agree that there are many regional variations of "Jewish cooking." But it you would like make come of the more recognizably Jewish-attributed food, try kugel, brisket of beef, potato latkes, rugelach, matzo-ball soup, lox-and-bagels, gefilte fish (buy these, don't make them), hot pastrami or corned beef sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, and challah (egg bread).

            12 Replies
            1. re: xnyorkr

              To make the matzah balls even easier - buy the mix usually found in the kosher food aisle in just about any major grocery store - it is our family secret on how to make good matzah balls

              1. re: weinstein5

                I'd say matzo balls are easy enough from scratch that you might as well go for the real home-made-with love thing. The following recipe, though not quite the most traditional, is very easy and produces a good "compromise" matzo ball (not too dense, not too fluffy)
                (I myself come from a "very fluffy" family, requiring beating the egg whites separately, and using selzer


                Come to think of it, epicurious is the source of a very good simple jewish style brisket recipe, called "my mother's brisket". Add a healthy amount of paprika and you have a more Hungarian style...

                1. re: another_adam

                  I too enjoy them fluffy - and was surprised when I found out form my mother for as long as their have been mixes that is what my family has used - and they always come out fluffy - so why mess with tradidiotn -

                  1. re: weinstein5

                    You are very luck Mr W. My family grew up with "sinkers" and Mrs Jfood "floaters". Once my MIL made a mistake and her floaters turned to sinkers. As we sat at the table, every begroaning the matzah balls one meber was giggly incessantly and internally. Jfood had a sinker. :-)))

                    1. re: jfood

                      We get the best of both worlds. My mom makes sinkers - solid and chewy, my MIL makes soft and fluffy. For passover we split the holiday with first days at one family and last days at the other wind up getting both.

                      For the record: Mrs PapaT (aka ImaT) makes them fluffy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

                      1. re: PapaT

                        PapaT - now your messing with us with the combo meal. Wow that sounds good.

                        Happy Pesach.

                        1. re: jfood

                          If you're ever in the neighborhood for a shabbat, stop in. My kids insist that ImaT make chicken soup w/matza balls every shabbat (even through the summer). As long as I keep bringing home the flowers every friday afternoon I think I'll keep getting that perfect soup...

                          1. re: PapaT

                            Mr PapaT - flowers!! Reminiscient of my bubbe and zayde! Every Friday evening he arrived home from the Antwerp Bourse with flowers for my grandma and choclates. The same dinner, summer & winter - chicken soup (homemade of course!) variations on matzo balls, knaidlech or noodles, roasted helzel (stuffed chicken neck), roasted chicken & potatoes, and a fruit based dessert. Where do you live, because I am assuming your invitation is open to all Chowhounds. Will Mrs. Ima T share some recipes?

                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                              ImaT is usually very good at sharing recipes. We have guests from the community for meals and is often on the phone saturday night/sunday giving up recipies. Let me know what you are looking for. Just a word of warning - as we are both in our 30s and grew up as second generation americans she may not have the recipies you remember from your grandparents.

                              BTW - We live in Long Island, NY. Where is Bexley?

                      2. re: jfood

                        floaters are cooked covered, whereas sinkers are cooked uncovered

                        1. re: kleinfortlee

                          The gift of how hard to press comes into play as well.

                          1. re: jfood

                            ah...the bocce/matzoh ball connection, eh?