I often think about Jewish Food. What is it? How would you define it? Sure there are some basics but a regional or ethnic cuisines are so much more than that. One of the main issues is you can’t pinpoint a “location” for jewish cuisine. Without a location you can’t define the local flavors. Everything from the wind to the soil makes up geographical flavor profiles of a cuisine. Then just the other day I heard a foodie interviewed who claimed to be a “flavor thief” when asked about what was in their pantry.
This got me thinking about my pantry. I have flavors from all around the world in my pantry. Mediterranean, Italian, Thai, French, British, Jewish, American and so on… I laughed and thought, hey that describes me! I am a flavor thief. I am a guy without a national cuisine and one that loves a variety of flavors.
This then got me thinking about the Jewish people. It got me thinking about how they were driven from their homes time and time again. They were spread out around the world. Their cuisine is as diverse as the locations they fled to. This then lead me to the thought that maybe not having a defined cuisine and a love for a vast majority of flavors and being able to work those flavors into many dishes might be the very definition of Jewish cuisine. Maybe Jewish cuisine is not just about chicken fat and matzo but about a passion for local sustainable ingredients wherever you are and making something that represents its fullest potential. You can even go as far as to say Jewish Cuisine might possibly be about taking God’s purest creations to help us sustain life and use them to their fullest potential wherever you are.
In short, I think I am going to start thinking more about Jewish cuisine as food the nourishes both the mind, body, and soul as well as it is responsibly grown, harvested, and raised.