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Jewish Menu [moved from Kosher board]

melly Dec 31, 2009 01:53 PM

[This topic turned out to be more of a general discussion. Please chime in if you have any ideas for Melly's menu. Thanks. The Chowhound Team]

Doesn't have to be Kosher, but I thought this would be the best board to post this.

I am making a Jewish menu and wondered what you would want to see on it...if you had a Jewish menu to choose from? Appetizers? Entrees? Desserts?

This will be for a large crowd. Thank you very much!

  1. m
    melly Feb 26, 2010 11:01 AM

    Here is the link for the menu, and other menu's. That Russian menu looks delightful and my friend Shankari just had her menu featured. I'll let you know how it goes. Just made Brik A'louef at home last night! Delicious crazy but scared the hell out of me! :) I made homemade harissa too. Thanks everyone..you support has helped to boost my confidence in this project.



    1 Reply
    1. re: melly
      melly Mar 8, 2010 12:32 PM

      It happened last week and I have photos on the blog! Woot! I was verklempt and full!

    2. a
      arifree Feb 10, 2010 09:35 PM

      my ideas:
      Fried homemade gefilte fish served with prepared horseradish

      Chicken thighs with cracked black pepper and paprika baked on a bed of sliced russet potatoes, onions and garlic. I use a baking pan, not a roasting pan, so that the potatoes are nice and crispy and the onions get really caramelized with tons of chicken flavor.

      Coconut milk ice cream topped with apple compote for dessert

      1. Rmis32 Jan 11, 2010 02:03 PM

        On behalf of Jews everywhere, I would like to thank you for taking an interst in Jewish cuisine(s). At the risk of stereotyping my fellow Jews, the old adage -Ask 2 Jews a question & you'll get 3 (at least) opinions - seems to be demonstrated by the responses to your inquiry. Please don't feel under attack, as, for many of us, this is merely the hallmark of a lively discussion. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't inquire about a kosher Jewish menu. The opinions would have increased exponentially.

        While Jews have historically (and some times hysterically) lived in scattered places around the world, the largest concentrations have been in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The cuisines from those areas, based more on geography than religion, seem to be those most identified with "Jewish food". With that in mind, I believe that selections from either or both of those cuisines will satisfy what your guests expect from "Jewish food." And don't forget, at the end of the meal, a little heartburn is perfectly acceptable.

        Good luck with your dinner.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Rmis32
          melly Jan 14, 2010 09:37 AM

          Here is the menu I chose:

          Appetizers and entrees adapted from Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. Desserts adapted from The Jewish Kitchen by Clarrisa Hyman.

          Table will include a basket of flatbread and the following condiments:
          Baba Ghanoush and Zchug (a bowl of sour pickles would be nice too)

          Appetizers: choose one

          Matzo Ball Soup
          Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad with Dill

          Entrees: choose one

          Tender Pot-Roasted Brisket with Kishke
          Brik A L’ouef with Sephardi Stuffed Courgettes

          Desserts: choose one

          Chocolate Babka

          In the future I hope to do another menu for the cooking school called "The Jewish Deli"

          1. re: melly
            Rmis32 Jan 14, 2010 10:26 AM

            Sounds like your guests are in for a treat.

            1. re: melly
              Gio Jan 16, 2010 07:25 AM

              A lovely menu, Melly. I'm sure everyone will enjoy the dishes whatever they choose.

              1. re: Gio
                melly Jan 16, 2010 07:12 PM

                Thank you. It was so hard to choose so finally..I just did it.

                1. re: melly
                  melly Jan 16, 2010 08:48 PM

                  If anyone wants to follow my cooking journey, you are most welcome!


              2. re: melly
                DeisCane Jan 19, 2010 09:05 AM

                Linzer torte is not Jewish in origin though here in the US, it is certainly associated with Jewish bakeries.

            2. l
              lenchik Jan 7, 2010 09:30 AM

              I think that saying "Jewish Menu" would be similar to saying "Christian Menu" or "Muslim Menu", etc. Many of the previous posters were correct in saying that it is helpful to know what part of the world you or your instructor are referring to as Jews reside all over the world and their food preferences tend to depend on local ingredients. We are very spoiled here in the United States with having access to so much cultural and food diversity, however, it is not entirely so in other parts of the world.
              My family is from Eastern Europe and I can tell you what was cooked in my home and is still cooked by my parents here in the US and is considered to be "Our" idea of Jewish Food. We were very limited by ingredient availability as were the rest of our regions' population and had access to many seasonal items only during certain times of the year. Therefore, our menu would change throughout the year not only based on our location, but also based on seasons.
              Beet borscht (cold and meatless in the summer, hot with meat in winter)
              Cabbage soup
              Spinach soup (cold)
              Babka (kugel) from either noodles or matzah (matzah was only available during passover time though)
              Crepes (blini) stuffed with meat/onion mixture or farmer's cheese
              Sirniki (farmer cheese pancakes)
              Gefilte Fish - we always use karp that is bought fresh and ground at home
              Herring (pickled) with onions or a layered herring salad with potatoes, carrots, onions, beets and mayo.
              Simple chicken dishes, i.e. fried chicken (not breaded)
              Stuffed cabbage
              Stuffed duck (with crepes and/or apples)
              Beef patties
              Honey cake or sponge cake
              Simple salads consisting of seasonal vegetables
              Russian potato salad (potatoes, carrots, onions, bologna (or chicken), eggs, pickles and mayo. (popular in winter due to lack of fresh vegetables).
              Pelmeni (meat filled dumplings)

              THE BIGGEST THING where we lived was not to add fruits to salads.
              We did not ever use "dressing", only sour cream, mayo or sunflower seed oil as dressings.

              We also rarely mix sweet sauces with meat, i.e. no jellies on chicken, etc.

              We did not use spices in any of the cooking other then salt and pepper as well as freshly available ingredients, i.e. , garlic, dill, parsley.

              Please keep in mind that I am from a VERY small town, which many may classify as a "shtetel" or Jewish settlement. It is possible that people who lived in larger cities may have had more access to various types of ingredients and therefore may have a more diverse menu.

              Hope this helps and I am sure anything you make will be delicious. If you are making a Jewish menu, then you are pretty much free to use your imagination:)

              4 Replies
              1. re: lenchik
                melly Jan 11, 2010 10:46 AM

                Check out my borscht and see what you think! http://www.cookingschmooking.blogspot...

                I've completed and posted many of those recipes. So much fun I am having!

                1. re: lenchik
                  melly Jan 11, 2010 10:48 AM

                  Thank you very much. :)

                  1. re: melly
                    Sam Fujisaka Jan 11, 2010 05:19 PM

                    Job well done in every way!

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                      melly Jan 14, 2010 09:39 AM

                      I appreciate you Sam.

                2. d
                  Diane in Bexley Jan 7, 2010 07:10 AM

                  Funny that no one mentioned Jewish deli food. Unfortunately, the Jewish deli seems to be dying a quick death (cholesterol consciousness?) but I adore all kinds of kosher cold cuts - pastrami, corned beef, pickled tongue, bologna, salami, etc. Could make trays of that with homemade potato salad, cole slaw, carrot salad. Serve with some apps like herring, gefilte fish, chopped liver. Breads would be a comparison of different types of rye bread, pumpernickel, bagels, bialys, Kaiser rolls. Condiments could include a variety of mustards - stone ground, dijon, deli, ballpark. A comparison of pickles and pickled veggies would be great along with assortment of olives. Dessert choices could include black & white cookies, rugelach, kichel, etc.

                  If you have to throw in some hot entrees, stuffed cabbage rolls, kasha vernikes, sweet & sour short ribs, stuffed veal breast.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Diane in Bexley
                    p.j. Jan 7, 2010 07:35 AM

                    I want to come to your parties, too!
                    Delicious, but hard to find good deli meats these days.
                    Thanks for the memories, p.j.

                    1. re: Diane in Bexley
                      latindancer Jan 7, 2010 08:26 AM

                      "Funny that no one mentioned Jewish deli food."

                      You are so right. I love Jewish deli food.
                      The cold cuts you've mentioned and all the great foods that go with them...

                      1. re: Diane in Bexley
                        melly Jan 11, 2010 10:44 AM

                        I made tongue recently and I love it. We often have bagels and lox..with cream cheese. My husband makes the best pumpernickle and sourdough rye bread...and I make a mean chopped liver!

                        1. re: melly
                          Bob W Jan 14, 2010 11:40 AM

                          melly, do you use a wooden bowl when you make chopped liver? One of my favorite activities as a kid was helping Great-Aunt Pearl make her chopped liver.

                          Your husband makes pumpernickel and rye bread? At home? I'm impressed.

                          1. re: Bob W
                            melly Jan 15, 2010 08:32 AM

                            Bob..yes, he is quite the baker! I make my chopped liver in a glass bowl. Should it be wooden?

                            1. re: melly
                              Bob W Jan 17, 2010 11:56 AM

                              melly, I'm sure a glass bowl is fine, but if you use a wooden bowl you know you'll be doing it the old world way -- Aunt Pearl was very European.

                      2. free sample addict aka Tracy L Jan 6, 2010 06:01 PM

                        I always think of 7 layer cake when I think of Jewish food, lol. If you want a menu, I'd try to coincide with the Jewish calendar. From there you can break the courses down into areas of the world or if you are ambitious you can have several small dishes from different areas of the world for each course. If I were attending I'd like to know the meaning of the meal so I could learn more about my heritage. Add to your reading list: Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean. Please post how it turns out.

                        1. mcf Jan 6, 2010 10:22 AM

                          One more suggestion as a reference: Jewish Holiday Cooking by Joan Nathan; covers the holidays and is also organized by geographical regions:

                          Here's the updated version:


                          I think you made a perfectly sane, simple request, and I had no problem understanding what you were seeking, for what it's worth. ;-)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mcf
                            melly Jan 11, 2010 10:43 AM

                            Yes...I have that. My blogger buddies and I are currently cooking and blogging our way thru Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler..on Sundays. She actually came to my house when she was in the states and she and her aunt made matzo balls. I made holishkes and the chicken soup and my pals made dishes that they have made while going thru her book. We had a feast of Jewish Cusines...from all over the world! It was thrilling to say the very least.

                          2. l
                            latindancer Jan 4, 2010 09:01 PM

                            Here's what I'd love to see on your menu. These are the foods I would, typically, have on a large buffet table where people can eat whatever, whenever and however they want. I bake and prepare days in advance and it's a pleasure.

                            1). About 20# of lox...belly lox. People devour it. Bowls of cream cheese.
                            2). Dolmades...my recipe given to me by a friend's mother from Greece.
                            3). Spanikopita...lots of it.
                            4). Herring...I love it creamed.
                            5). Large baskets of sliced breads...include the traditionals ie; challah, pumpernickel, rye, bagels
                            6). Large fruit plates...dates, quinces, figs, grapes, plums, melons, assortment of nuts
                            7). Smoked whitefish and baked alaskan king salmon
                            8). Sweet kugel and savory kugel
                            9). Leek fritters
                            10) Pierogi drizzled with butter and sour cream
                            11) Varieties of roasted root vegetables.
                            12) Bulemas and rodanchas
                            13) Khatchapuri
                            14) Boyos
                            15) Borekas and Pasteles
                            16). Large plates filled with fresh sliced vegetables.

                            Lots of good drink....alcohol and non.
                            I would then decide if I want to add meat dishes to this menu. Brisket, roasted chickens,
                            My desserts would include rugelach, blintzes, cheesecakes, a rich dried fruit compote, an apple cake made from a recipe from a relative from Poland, apple strudel and, of course, lots of mandelbrot.
                            This is a menu I would do often, adding or deleting, but if I decided to get really creative I'd begin to study the traditions from S America, S Africa, etc.
                            Anything you do will be well received. Enjoy.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: latindancer
                              latindancer Jan 4, 2010 09:17 PM

                              As an added footnote:

                              All the fresh fruits you may purchase are considered kosher. It will be the only food that can be eaten by a person who is strictly observant and is unsure of the kitchen. It must be eaten whole and uncut.

                              1. re: latindancer
                                p.j. Jan 6, 2010 10:12 AM

                                I will come to any party you give. Excellent choices. I love creamed herring with lots of sliced onions, too.
                                I love to serve a good red lentil soup as well--Gil Marks has lots of great recipes (and history) in "Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World." Highly recommended reading, Melly.
                                Good luck with your project. p.j.

                                1. re: p.j.
                                  latindancer Jan 7, 2010 08:13 AM

                                  As you say, I love creamed herring with lots of sliced onions also.
                                  My fondest memories are standing around a kiddush table watching the older men devour it. It's just one of those foods that bring back very fond memories and I think, to some degree, it's part of what this thread is about.

                                  1. re: latindancer
                                    melly Jan 11, 2010 10:40 AM

                                    Latindancer....thank you so very, very much. I couldn't call it Kosher cooking because the kitchen is not kosher,etc.

                                    Love the menu choices and I have infact chosen many of them. Love the fruit idea so much.

                                    I grew up on creamed herring with onions and love it so much!

                              2. a
                                azna29 Jan 4, 2010 01:06 PM

                                I believe the question was of the vast array of "jewish food" what would we want to actually sit and eat. My advice is to stay on the sephardic side of jewish cooking..sorry ashkenaz jews but I think gefilte fish, kugel, even brisket would not entice your guests to think too highly of jewish food. I would do a bunch of mezze salads (humus, babaganoush, taboulli etc.) with grilled pita as an appetizer. I would do a grilled shish kabob (chicken thighs and/or lamb marinated in israeli spices) with cous cous as the entree and baklava for dessert. I think that is a typical Israeli meal and quite healthy, tasty and filling.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: azna29
                                  DeisCane Jan 4, 2010 01:11 PM

                                  Very little of that food is even close to particularly "Jewish," however. If you had said falafel, I could give you that but shish kabobs? Seriously?

                                  1. re: DeisCane
                                    vallevin Jan 4, 2010 02:02 PM

                                    This why many posters kept pressing Melly to better define her audience. If this is class project ( which is it) she probably just needs to do the menu that gets her a good grade in class, so that depends on what the Instructor sees as being "Jewish Food".

                                    (What kind of school is this...Jewish Food?, I could understand kosher...but "Jewish?")

                                    If it were me I'd do a hodge podge of ashkenazi/sephardi classics and then a great pareve dessert.

                                    1. re: vallevin
                                      latindancer Jan 4, 2010 05:53 PM

                                      "I could understand kosher....but 'Jewish?"

                                      Yes. Jewish cuisine. Jewish food. I would define 'Jewish food' as a richly diversified combination of foods from all over the world. These foods reflect the large multi-ethnicity of the Jewish people. Living in Argentina, for example, a Jew could typically be raised on empanadas. This food is a popular food of the region that a Jewish person who lives there will eat. A person who lives in Mexico, who is Jewish, will be raised with mole, a typical Mexican dish. She/he grows up thinking this is a Jewish dish.
                                      When we gather together, as Jews, we eat, and what we eat is often traditional foods. The stories behind the foods are reminders of where our ancestors wandered and the places and people they met along the way. We eat in celebration of the foods that bind us as a people.
                                      The food eaten by Ashkenazi was/is cooked in chicken fat or goose fat. It was the region that required foods of a cold climate in parts of Europe.
                                      The Jewish community in France had completely different foods, of course. There are those who say that the present day cassoulet of south-west France was originally cholent.
                                      The list goes on and on....
                                      The OP asks a very good question and I find the history of Jewish food interesting, always have. The foods we, as Jews, know and love is filled with fascinating history.

                                      1. re: latindancer
                                        melly Jan 11, 2010 10:36 AM

                                        Yes...cassoulet came from cholent!!

                                        I am making some right now! I think one of my blogger buddies is making it for our project.


                                      2. re: vallevin
                                        melly Jan 11, 2010 10:35 AM

                                        It is a culinary arts program and I have a blog called cooking schmooking. The director asked me to come up with a "Jewish Menu". It is a wonderful program and they do menus all the time from different ethnic groups, religions, etc. They have a cafe at the school...and it is booked solid all the time.

                                        I agree...Jewish Menu is not the right name for it and because of the help I have rec'd here..I will change the name of it. To what...not sure yet. Maybe Jewish Cooking....I mean, there are tons and tons of cookbooks that have that name in them...but I don't want to get back into a huge debate over it. Been there..done that. :)

                                      3. re: DeisCane
                                        azna29 Jan 4, 2010 05:28 PM

                                        That is the food you get at most israeli restaurants, how is that not jewish? Falafel is israeli but it is very hard to do well, especially for a large group.

                                        1. re: azna29
                                          pikawicca Jan 4, 2010 05:39 PM

                                          Falafel is middle-eastern, including Israel, but it's not Jewish. It came out of the Ottoman Empire and spread throughout the middle east and north Africa. Nothing Jewish about it, although there might be Jewish variations.

                                        2. re: DeisCane
                                          rockycat Jan 7, 2010 06:38 AM

                                          Seriously. The "steakiya" that sells all kinds of shipudim (grilled animal parts on skewers, aka shish kabobs) is an Israeli institution.

                                      4. Gio Jan 4, 2010 04:24 AM

                                        Just saw the quote below whilst reading the Blog, "Cooking Scmooking."

                                        "There are very few dishes that can be exclusively called Jewish. Wherever Jews have wandered, they have incorporated the cuisine of their neighbors into that serendipitous amalgamation we think of as Jewish food." Judy Bart Kancigor

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gio
                                          Passadumkeg Jan 4, 2010 04:53 AM

                                          Exactly Gio, I have a wonderful cook book entitled A Russian Jew Cooks in Peru; it has everything from borscht and lahtkes to empanadas and fideo.
                                          I grew up w/ a lot of Russian foods that are also considered Jewish, except, of course for the pork & shell fish.

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            melly Jan 11, 2010 10:29 AM

                                            I know..it's my blog. I added that. See..I knew that when I first posted but I guess was looking for what people on the board would like to see on a "Jewish" menu..traditional menu. I met with the culinary arts director, whose father is Jewish, and she said we can change the name of the menu to reflect the different cuisines. I like that!

                                            I have ordered The New York Times Kosher Cookbook. thank you.

                                            Thanks Gio!

                                          2. b
                                            brooklynkoshereater Jan 3, 2010 06:35 PM

                                            Try the New York Times Kosher Cookbook - it'll give you a nice selection of classic Jewish cuisine mixed with some newer recipes from top chefs around the world. (Try Paul Prudhomme's veal roast)

                                            1. v
                                              vallevin Jan 2, 2010 03:31 PM

                                              Additional Thoughts,


                                              You should look at the web sites of some kosher delis, the ones I know are Maadan and Noah's Ark here in Teaneck. That will probably give you some good and varied ideas.


                                              Also, I would urge you to "keep it real" if you are doing the cooking, stick to kosher ingredients, if you are doing a meat based meal (I am guessing you are) include pareve desserts.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: vallevin
                                                melly Jan 2, 2010 07:49 PM

                                                Thank you Vallevin. I appreciate your suggestions.

                                              2. m
                                                melly Jan 1, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                I thought this was just awesome and thought you guys might like it too!


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: melly
                                                  Sam Fujisaka Jan 1, 2010 11:34 AM

                                                  Now that is beautiful!!! Thank you.

                                                  Can you share the eventual menu with those of us who felt that your quest is perfectly reasonable?

                                                  1. re: melly
                                                    Gio Jan 1, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                    Oh gosh! What stunning photos. Thank you for that! I, too, would like to see your final menu selections.

                                                  2. Passadumkeg Jan 1, 2010 09:19 AM

                                                    Yaknow, Melly, maybe it takes the distance of a non-Jew, who is familiar with Jewish culture to give a more forthright answer. We had Seders for the kids when young, to explain Passover and one son lived in the Jewish house, Bayut, at college.
                                                    Manyy east-European foods are considered Jewish (as stated above). A good borscht, potato knish, cheese blintz,brisket, herring, lox, and yes, gefilte fish. Falafel, matza, and even a traditional Seder meal.
                                                    edit, I have full bellied lox on their way from NYC to the icy far goy north as I type.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                      melly Jan 1, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                      Thanks so much. Shalom to you.

                                                    2. Gio Jan 1, 2010 05:56 AM

                                                      I have a cookbook in my kitchen library called "The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York" by Claudia Roden that's a fascinating compilation of history and recipes. If it's anything like the book you're currently cooking from a look at the index would tell you in a flash the kinds of food a forward thinking menu planner would most likely want to see on the menu... food representing the various parts of the world that Jewish people inhabit/inhabited. It seems to me that this is your chance to create a special meal that introduces cuisines from other countries to folks who, perhaps, have never eaten such food. Good luck in your quest and Happy New Year!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                        melly Jan 1, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                        Thank you Gio. I'll check it out.

                                                      2. pikawicca Jan 1, 2010 05:30 AM

                                                        I am not Jewish, but I love the recipes in "The Book of New Israeli Food." Things like Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Soup, Vegetables Stuffed with Israeli Couscous, and Mansaf (a lamb shank casserole) have become family favorites. There's also a recipe for Pomegranate (in season now) Sauce that is quite wonderful on veggies.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                          melly Jan 1, 2010 10:00 AM

                                                          Cool. Thanx.

                                                        2. t
                                                          The Cameraman Dec 31, 2009 02:37 PM

                                                          What they said. There really isn't any such thing as "Jewish food". You're going to have to break down the crowd for us a bit. Remember, Jews lived all over the planet at one time or another, and were influenced by their neighbors. You've got North African inspired dishes, Indian inspired dishes, Spanish inspired dishes, Italian inspired dishes, and on and on.

                                                          When most Americans think of stereotypically Jewish food, they're usually thinking specifically of the Eastern European inspired food of some groups of Ashkenazim- Polish and Russian peasant food, in other words. As Gila says, gefilte fish, matza ball soup, roast brisket, tzimmes, and rugelach for desert is probably the safest things we could recomend without knowing any specifics.

                                                          18 Replies
                                                          1. re: The Cameraman
                                                            melly Dec 31, 2009 03:20 PM

                                                            Brik a L'ouef? Pollo All'ebracia? Green Calcutta Curry with chicken or vegetables? Latkes? Chopped Liver? Lubiya? Doro Wat?

                                                            The question....what would you want to see on a menu? These are all dishes in my Jewish Cooking cookbook...from all over the world.

                                                            1. re: melly
                                                              GilaB Dec 31, 2009 04:00 PM

                                                              As an observant Jew who keeps kosher, I don't really want to see 'Jewish food' on a menu. I want something tasty, something surprising and different, whether or not that food was traditional for Jews somewhere in the world. So if I were coming to your gathering, I'd want something new to me, from far, far away from the Eastern European food of my great-grandparents. I'd probably go with traditional foods from one particular region, be it Greece, Iraq, or India, rather than mixing kibbe with green curry.

                                                              But your guests might want brisket. I don't know them, or how adventurous this crowd is. Are they coming in expecting 'Jewish food,' or are you having a party and have decided to theme the menu this way without discussing it with your guests? If you have told them to expect 'Jewish food,' are they the sort of people who will be disappointed by the lack of gefilte fish, or excited to try new things?

                                                              1. re: GilaB
                                                                melly Dec 31, 2009 04:20 PM

                                                                I am doing a menu for a culinary arts program and they are doing menus from different religions and cultures. They have a restaurant at the school. Jews and non-Jews will eat there.

                                                                There sure are tons and tons of cookbooks with "Jewish Cooking" in the titles. I've also found many, many sites with Jewish Menus so I don't know what all the fuss is about. Just wanted to know what your favorite dish is. If you don't have a favorite "Jewish recipe" then okay. By recipe...I don't want the recipe. I'm about to plotz!

                                                                1. re: melly
                                                                  GilaB Dec 31, 2009 04:58 PM

                                                                  I think the fuss is that those of us who keep kosher and are also foodies, the kind of people who hang out on Chowhound, are really sick of the gefilte-and-brisket idea of 'Jewish food.' You've inadvertently hit a nerve, that we only see 'our' food represented when the old cliches are hauled out each year for Rosh Hashana, Passover, and maybe a latke article around Chanuka, plus the annual 'kosher-wine-ain't-your-grandpa's-Manischewitz' wine column before Passover. (Really? They're shocked at this discovery each and every year?)

                                                                  Look, I'm from the most common background for an American Jew (a Polish/Russian/Lithuanian mix), so my fondest childhood memories of food that I'd identify as 'Jewish' are of meat tzimmes, chicken soup with lukshen (egg noodles), Pesach sponge cake, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, and lukshen-cheese kugel. Is that what you're looking for? It's not a good set of examples of how I cook now (except the chicken soup every Friday night), although I do make the meat tzimmes for Sukkos, and Pesach sponge for Passover. But they're all pretty classic 'Jewish food.' My mom's best friend, who married into an Egyptian Jewish family, raised kids for whom home-and-family taste like bacalao cakes and kinafa (a syrup-drenched cake with these hairy strands of thin dough on top). Those are quite tasty as well, but not what I personally viscerally think of as 'Jewish food,' even though they're just as Jewish as my tzimmes. That's why we want some guidance.

                                                                  1. re: GilaB
                                                                    melly Dec 31, 2009 09:29 PM

                                                                    I never mentioned Brisket or gefilte fish! I asked what I thought was a simple question but guess not. I happen to love holishkes and I do think they are "foodie" worthy.

                                                                    I shall google away and see what I can find. I don't want to do a menu that "stereotypes" Jews or Jewish cuisine. Sheesh!

                                                                  2. re: melly
                                                                    mrotmd Dec 31, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                                    Don't take it the wrong way. i don't think anybody is trying not to be nice. It is important to point out that the "Jewish Food" label is a bit no broad... Some people feel that the official food of Israel is falafel. The less sterile the falafel joint, the better! Most Jewish menus are holiday specific; even in this forum. Dairy menus for Shavout, Latkes and sufganiyot for Chanuka and of course matzah for passover. The new year has the apples and honey...

                                                                    1. re: mrotmd
                                                                      melly Dec 31, 2009 09:26 PM

                                                                      I did mention these: Brik a L'ouef? Pollo All'ebracia? Green Calcutta Curry with chicken or vegetables? Latkes? Chopped Liver? Lubiya? Doro Wat?

                                                                      I am on the wrong board. Sorry.

                                                                      1. re: melly
                                                                        queenscook Dec 31, 2009 10:39 PM

                                                                        I think you must be on the wrong board, because people are trying to answer you, but you're not listening. Your original question was what we would want to see on a Jewish menu. Person after person said that almost anything can be "Jewish" and wanted you to be more specific in your request, while offering some suggestions, but all you kept saying was, "Fine . . . just tell me what you want to see on a Jewish menu." The question is really not much different than asking "What do you like to eat?" It's far too general and unfocused a question.

                                                                        1. re: queenscook
                                                                          melly Dec 31, 2009 11:56 PM

                                                                          Okay. Happy New Year!

                                                                          1. re: melly
                                                                            marissaj Jan 1, 2010 04:02 AM

                                                                            I have read all the threads, and i see you keep asking the same questions-

                                                                            "I did mention these: Brik a L'ouef? Pollo All'ebracia? Green Calcutta Curry with chicken or vegetables? Latkes? Chopped Liver? Lubiya? Doro Wat?"

                                                                            I am an English transplant here, and the only one of the above I have ever heard of is Latkes and Chopped liver. I think the problem with a cookbook such as 'Jewish Food from around the World' is very country specific. For example, my friends parents are from Calcutta, so he grew up likely eating the curry thing described. However, if you wanted a review on that item you would need to find more Jews from the same background he is.
                                                                            We are directing you with what WE think of as Jewish food, which is the brisket/ tzimmes fare.
                                                                            Unfortunately, some of the recipes you mentioned are probably from people who are no longer in their home country so don't make it anymore, or, if they do it very probable that its not main stream 'Jewish Cuisine'. Take the Pollo All'ebracia- I am assuming Spanish? So, there are very few Jews left in Spain. Perhaps they make this, but this is not a dish I am familiar with, so maybe this book has taken dishes from long ago and recreated them somehow.
                                                                            Perhaps for your course you could simply do a 'Jewish Foods from Around the World Theme' and utilise the items listed above?

                                                                            1. re: marissaj
                                                                              berel Jan 1, 2010 04:14 AM

                                                                              Jewish food for me growing up secular in Brooklyn the 50's & 60's was the Lobster Cantonese on Sunday nights

                                                                              1. re: berel
                                                                                Sam Fujisaka Jan 1, 2010 04:27 AM

                                                                                berel, a sincere question after looking at your recent posts. It appears that many (all?) cuisines - Thai and Chinese at a minimum - can be prepared kosher. Does that mean that such foods then become Jewish foods?

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                  berel Jan 1, 2010 05:23 AM

                                                                                  you tell me.

                                                                                  IMHO the real Jewish foods are Matzah wine ,olive oil, goats milk and date honey and the rest of the Sheva miniim, everything else we picked up in our Golus wanderings

                                                                                  1. re: berel
                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka Jan 1, 2010 06:52 AM

                                                                                    So that seems like a perfect response to the OP.

                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                      melly Jan 1, 2010 09:57 AM

                                                                                      Thanks Sam.

                                                                                2. re: berel
                                                                                  melly Jan 1, 2010 09:56 AM

                                                                                  :) Makes sense. :)

                                                                                  1. re: berel
                                                                                    free sample addict aka Tracy L Jan 6, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                                                    No spareribs? My family is Jewish and we ate a lot of shrimp in lobster sauce when we lived/visited Queens.

                                                                                    1. re: berel
                                                                                      CindyJ Jan 11, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                                                      I think you and I must have lived in the same neighborhood at the same time, berel!

                                                                  3. g
                                                                    GilaB Dec 31, 2009 02:19 PM

                                                                    Is this an American crowd that will expect to see stereotypical Eastern European Jewish foods? Even there, you're way oversimplifying, but I think the average American, to the degree that they think about it, thinks of gefilte fish (please, please don't get the vile jarred stuff), chicken soup with matza balls (the matza ball as a year-round food is actually an American thing, but whatever), brisket, tzimmes, some sort of noodle kugel (usually a cheese one, although it wouldn't be traditional, or kosher, to serve that with chicken soup and brisket), and rugelach. I have to tell you that as someone who keeps a kosher home, I cook almost none of these things at all regularly, but those seem to be what people think of. Is that what you want? There are plenty of traditional foods that haven't seemed to penetrate the general consciousness, and we can make suggestions for something more interesting if you like.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: GilaB
                                                                      melly Dec 31, 2009 03:12 PM

                                                                      Well...it's an American crowd..but they are all Jewish....or mostly anyway.

                                                                      What would you want to see on the menu?....that is the question. I love kishke myself..but many people don't. I love beetroot soup with lamb kibbeh...but then...

                                                                      Every Jewish household that I know of keeps some frozen matzo balls and some frozen homemade broth....just in case someone doesn't feel so good.

                                                                      1. re: GilaB
                                                                        zsero Jan 1, 2010 10:35 AM

                                                                        There is such a thing as non-vile jarred gefilte fish, you know. Kedem isn't vile. Noam Gourmet (available at Shoprite in Brooklyn, and in the kosher supermarkets) is actually quite nice. Mother's, on the other hand...the least said about it the better.

                                                                        1. re: zsero
                                                                          melly Jan 1, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                                          Thank you. I will try to find some Noam Gourmet!

                                                                          1. re: melly
                                                                            weinstein5 Jan 2, 2010 08:31 AM

                                                                            I also enjoy the Yehudah Sweet -

                                                                      2. m
                                                                        mrotmd Dec 31, 2009 02:09 PM

                                                                        Wow! melly you are openinig a Pandora Box. To talk about a "Jewish Menu" is as stereotypical as simplifying chinese food and say "chow mein". Beyond the differences between the Ashkenaz and Sepharadic foods, there are wide variations even among them. Just think that while Gefilte Fish might be a standard appetizer for a Jew from central Europe, Don't include it for my brother-in-law from Aleppo :). He might prefer some spinach burrekas. How about the "new Israeli food?" there are books dedicated to it.
                                                                        Try to narrow down the crowd and will make your menu easier.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: mrotmd
                                                                          melly Dec 31, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                                          Yes...I know all of that. I am currently cooking and blogging my way thru a Jewish Cookbook right now...and it is filled with all of that fabulous history. I realize that Jews come from all over the world..and their menus reflect that. I appreciate the diversity. No pandoras box ...just some suggestions. Thanks so much! My grandmother was Jewish and from Romania...so I grew up eating lots of cabbage and pickled dishes.

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