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Jewish Cuisine

Jewish Cuisine

History and Traditions of Jewish Cuisine

The history of Jewish cuisine has its own unique characteristics. Like any other, Jewish cuisine has a fairly ancient history and culinary traditions associated with it. Jewish cuisine has ancient traditions, based primarily on the religious beliefs of Jews. Despite the sufficient migration of the Jewish people and widespread settlement, Jewish cuisine was able to form as integral traditions of culinary art. Historically, dishes from other cultures and peoples have been assimilated into Jewish cuisine. But this fact does not at all diminish the originality and individuality of Jewish cuisine.

Jewish Cuisine and Kashrut

The principles of preparing Jewish dishes are based on a certain set of rules called kashrut. In connection with these regulations, dishes are divided into kosher - if the rules of kashrut are followed, and non-kosher - if the rules are ignored.

Here are just some basic rules of kashrut:

  • wine that is not made by a Jew is considered not kosher;
  • consumption of meat from ruminant artiodactyls is allowed;
  • those types of fish that have scales and fins are considered kosher, that is, catfish or sterlet cannot be considered kosher, along with crabs and various shellfish;
  • it is prohibited to consume derivatives of non-kosher animals, for example, black caviar is not kosher, since it comes from non-kosher fish;
  • meat and dairy products cannot be stored or cooked together.

However, it should be noted that a dish of absolutely any cuisine, if it satisfies all these rules, is considered kosher in Jewish cuisine.

Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish Cuisine

It is also important to talk about regional differences in Jewish cuisine. Two main directions have developed in the cuisine of Jews - Ashkenazi and Sephardic. Ashkenazi cuisine was formed as a result of the settlement of Jews in the European environment. Most of the Jews who lived in Europe were quite poor, so the recipes and dishes of Ashkenazi cuisine are distinguished by extreme modesty and ascetic use of products. Sephardic cuisine is characteristic of Jews in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Sephardic cuisine, on the contrary, is characterized by the use of a wider range of products than the menu of European Jews.

Culinary Traditions of Jewish Cuisine

Next, it should be said about some features of food preparation technology among Jewish chefs. The process of cooking meat involves the use of goose or beef fat. Thick soups predominate in Jewish cuisine, and in the hot season, cold red borscht, cooked with potatoes, beets and dried fruits, and after cooling, seasoned with sour cream and green onions. A common main dish in Jewish cooking is sweet and sour meat. This dish involves beef cooked in a sweet and sour sauce with the addition of onions, honey, black bread crumbs, raisins and vinegar. We can’t help but mention the typical Jewish snack that Jews often eat for breakfast – forshmak. Forshmak is a fish dish, also called “meal before a meal.” The main ingredients contained in mincemeat are minced fish, bread, eggs, milk, sugar. Although forshmak is one of the hallmarks of Jewish cuisine, the history of its origin gravitates to East Prussia. One should not forget about confectionery in Jewish cuisine. Here, too, one cannot fail to note the influence of Middle Eastern cuisine. Similar to the above-mentioned region, unleavened and shortbread dough is popular among Jews, but Jews add more eggs, most likely mostly yolks.