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.
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.