What One Magazine Says Are the 100 Most Iconic Jewish Foods

March  6, 2018

Just today, the folks at Tablet Magazine, a daily online magazine devoted to Jewish news and culture, released a digital platform that has my head spinning. It’s an interactive graphic of a table set with 100 iconic Jewish staples. The point? I’ll let the project’s organizers explain in their own words:

“The point...was to think about which foods contain the deepest Jewish significance—the ones that, through the history of our people (however you date it), have been most profoundly inspired by the rhythms of the Jewish calendar and the contingencies of the Jewish experience. That many of them are also delicious is obvious, and Darwinian: It’s how they survived as long as they did.”

Flipping through the list, I found myself giddy, smiling at subtle recognitions of traditions I’d grown up with. Others felt completely foreign. The list spans centuries, continents, and touches down in far-off corners of a multifaceted diaspora. Take, for example, Sweet ‘n Low—I had no idea about its Jewishness. Some dishes are instantly iconic, like gefilte fish or matzo balls, while some, like Hydrox, a kosher Oreo, feel a bit more personal. Amanda and Merrill even made their own contribution. They write about the Jewish tradition of cooking brisket. Check out the feature here, it’s definitely worth a look.

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If you’re feeling inspired, check out some other Jewish recipes below. A lot of them even appear on Tablet’s list:

Recognize anything from the list? Tell us about a particularly meaningful dish in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Nancy March 8, 2018
Valerio, glad to see Food52 picked uo on Tablet's list of 100 Jewish foods. But by a very rough count, about 70% come from mostly Europe or North America, with one each from South America and Asia.
What I don't understand is how you and/or your editors classified that as Middle Eastern.
Take your lead from Claudia Roden or Joan Nathan in her 2018 Beard winner, King Solomon's Table, and see this as a world cuisine, adopted and adapted from the many countries and regions where Jews lived.
Nancy April 27, 2018
Just FYI, here's another point of view on what constitutes Jewish food, from Leah Koenig, a cookbook writer who has appeared a few times in food52.