I was driving home from the grocery store listening to the Splendid Table podcast. In the episode they interviewed Molly Yeh. In the interview she happened to mention she lives in Minnesota and was a New York transplant. They then talked about some of her snack recipes like Fried Cheesy Pickles and Asian Scotched Eggs. All of this started piquing my curiosity and declared hers was a cookbook I was going to need to get.
I then went onto Amazon to order Molly on the Range and started reading the profile they had. In it they talked about the book celebrating Molly’s Chinese/Jewish background. This got me even more excited! Having been raised with a Christian/Jewish heritage I was very familiar with eclectic heritage. Also being a California born transplant to the Iowa/Minnesota border I identified even more.
I quickly ordered her book. This is more than a cookbook. This is a book that chronicles her journey into the food world with wonderful stories that are polished to be pretty tales of perfection but rather real accounts of how she made her transition to the midwest and find a way to celebrate her heritage through the food she knew along with incorporating the new foods of the midwest she was getting exposed to like “hot dish”.
I have been telling my husband for about a year that I am yearning to tap into my Jewish heritage through food but wanted new and fresh takes on it. The traditional recipes are great but with so much exciting techniques being applied to every region of cuisine today I was looking for something to help guide me on that journey. Little did I know at the time I bought the book but it does just that.
In a time of tension and a sense of great divide in this country I can’t help but wonder if I might have stumbled across a key to dealing that divide with a simple question: Can it be done through food?
I grew up in a home that had both Christian and Jewish heritage. I had a Christmas tree and stockings but I also had Blintzes and Latkes. When we think about bridging the divide from a culinary stand point why not do just that? Thinking about meals, holiday or weeknight, that bring together and highlight different cooking styles and regions and how they can be harmonious? If you look in my pantry it’s full of ingredients that represent cultures from around the world. It’s this harmonious space where so many different things can some how come together to create something great.
So as you think about your holiday cooking think about your family, your friends, and if there are differences from upbringing, region, or heritage, how can they be brought together on your holiday table.