Cooking Up New Traditions


My husband found this blog, Sephardic Food, where culinary expert Janet Amateau posts Sephardi  cultural lore and recipes. Some of the blog posts are in Spanish because Amateau lives in Spain. I’ve been meaning to tell you about it, because I know a lot of our readers want Sephardi recipes, and these are great–with great explanations.

When I wrote the Jewish Food Cheat Sheet, which defined dozens of Ashkenazi Jewish food terms, it came with an introduction, Understanding Jewish Food Traditions, which placed Ashkenazi Jewish food in a more global Jewish context, with Sephardi, Mizrachi and other Jewish cultures.

The truth is, all the Jews in the US aren’t all Eastern European, and even those of us who are Ashkenazi Jews love Jewish food traditions from elsewhere. Interfaith families are totally part of this. If you’re married to someone Italian who isn’t Jewish, it’s pretty cool to read Classic Italian Jewish Cooking by Edna Servi Machlin, just as an example. If you’re a Jew by choice, it’s nice to find ways to incorporate your old food traditions into new kosher rules.

In my overwhelmingly vegetarian, mainly Ashkenazi community, there are great fans of Olive Trees and Honey. I am still cooking my way through Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food, though my copy is falling apart.

I am always looking for ways to include recipes on the site, so if your family has kosher-ized some of the recipes from the non-Jewish side, or has revved up an Ashkenazi dish with the spices of another culinary tradition, or done any tasty sort of thing with food and culture, contact me.

One thought on “Cooking Up New Traditions”

  • Dear Ruth,

    Thanks so much for your kind words and for alerting your readers to my blog.  It is there for all to enjoy and active participation is most welcome.  As for your own post, what a coincidence (or not?) that you singled out Edda Servi Machlin’s cookbook; it’s one of my favorites, as much for its depiction of Italian Jewish life before WWII as for its excellent, authentic recipes.

    Given the theme of your organization, I thought I’d share that, not only am I the product of a mixed marriage (Sephardic/Ashkenazi), but in our immediate and extended families interfaith marriages abound.  The result? We cherish our various identities, wear them proudly and share them comfortably with appreciation for the differences.  I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Kind regards,
    Janet Amateau / Sephardic Food

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