Archive for the 'Jewish history' Category



03
Jan
11

This Week’s Upcoming Internet Radio Show


Elizabeth Bland, photo from her website (cheesemistress.com/)

Last Wednesday we had a very interesting discussion on cheese and kosher cheese in particular with Elizabeth Bland (we will soon post, on these very pages, a supermarket trip with Mrs. Bland where we will look at various kosher cheeses. Meanwhile you can hear an .mp3 file of our radio show here.

This coming Wednesday – January 5, 2011 – our guest will be Gill Marks. Gill recently published the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. What are Gill Marks credentials? What qualifies him to talk or write about food? As his website states:

Gill Marks, at The James Beard Foundation. Photo from gilmarks.com

An author, rabbi, historian, chef, and social worker, Gil Marks is a leading authority on culinary subjects in general and Jewish cuisine in particular. Among his published books are Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (Wiley: 2010), James Beard Award-winning Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World (Wiley 2004), and James Beard Award finalist The World of Jewish Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1996). Marks was included in the Jewish Forward’s annual “Forward 50,” a list of the fifty most influential Jewish-Americans in the year 2010. http://www.forward.com/forward-50/

A self-taught chef, Marks entertained at his New York City home, earning a reputation as a gourmet cook. He began moonlighting for several caterers before branching out on his own. Some of his early jobs involved baking 150 apple pies for a cooking spray promotion, an all-dessert bat mitzvah, and a health food wedding. In 1986, Marks combined his interests in food, history, Judaism, and writing to become founding editor of Kosher Gourmet magazine, a position he held for six years. After leaving Kosher Gourmet, Marks turned his attention to writing fiction and biblical research as well as continuing his work on culinary subjects. His efforts include two plays, Therapist, and, in collaboration with Stanley Allan Sherman, The Golem of Gavah. His other books are The World of Jewish Desserts (Simon & Schuster, September 2000) and The World of Jewish Entertaining (Simon & Schuster, 1998) and he was also among the international team of contributors to the prestigious Meals in Science and Practice: Interdisciplinary Research and Business Applications (Woodhead Publishing, 2009).

Marks has also written articles for numerous magazines; served as a guest lecturer at the Culinary Institute of America,HazonKosherfest, and Drisha Institute; acted as consultant for various companies and organizations; and given presentations throughout the world, including the 92nd Street Y, Macy’s DeGustibus Cooking SchoolThe Learning Annex, the Kislak Adult Center, and the Fresh Start Program at New York’s Rikers Island. Marks continues to write, research, lecture, and perform cooking demonstrations for groups across the country and make appearances on various television and radio programs.

When I first contacted Mr. Marks to arrange the radio interview I thought it would be a short call, instead I was totally fascinated listening to his stories and the call was rather a long one. He is a captivating repository of anecdotes and history, this upcoming show promises to be a very interesting one!

Please, listen in on Wednesday at 8:00pm on Jewish Radio Network. Click on the red “here” under the white “Radio,” then wait about 90 to 180 seconds for the application to start streaming.

CS

26
Nov
10

Food, Jewelry and the Torah


[An interesting post outlining how food and jewelry interact in the Torah, by a friend and faithful blog reader from Israel. CS]

This week’s Torah portion – Vayeshev – kicks off one of the most exciting stories in the TaNa”CH, the story of Joseph. What many don’t know is that much of it revolves around food and jewelry. The food: Joseph’s first dream, 11 sheaves of wheat bowing to Joseph’s proud bundle. Everything goes south from there. The jewelry: Pharaoh takes off his ring and gives it to Joseph. Everything goes up from there.

But then another food wave comes and brings us down again. The Israelites, living in Goshen in Egypt, are exempt from paying the food tax instituted by Pharaoh at the end of Genesis. They are, after all, Joseph’s family. (Uh oh…) The next Pharaoh avenges this by making the Jews build his grain storage cities by force. Slavery begins.

Jewish history takes another upswing with jewelry, as we literally empty Egypt of every precious metal stone. We are rich beyond our wildest dreams…only to then use it all on a golden calf.

Jewelry takes another turn around when we build the Tabernacle (Mishkan) to Hashem instead, but comes down again at food when complaints stream in about the lack of meat.

The cycle between jewelry and food is indeed an interesting one, with more waves that follow, both up and down, ever repeating. The key is to use them both correctly, in a kosher way and in tune with the Divine purpose for our lives.

Rafi Farber
Senior Marketing Manager, Zoara.com

31
Dec
09

Ethnogastropolitics


Well, the New Year is finally upon us. Some of my favorite moments are those great end of the year stories. Here are a few food related ones that caught my eye. While we’re obsessed with e-coli and mad cow disease breakout, we have developed some new twists on ‘when pigs fly.’ Like the web designer who’s suing a NYC Scandinavian themed restaurant for the 150 pound decorative moose head with 3-foot-wide antlers that fell off the wall and hit her; got to love that one. Or, how about the rights of farshtoppte katchkas? We now have a politically correct foie gras being produced. Ducks and geese no longer have to suffer forced feeding and the resulting engorged livers sustained to indulge a connoisseur’s palate.

This year, on a more serious note, we were forced to take a look at our own production standards. Aside from the Madoff driven stock market fall, we had the tremendous fall from grace of one of our own primary meat processing plants. It’s kind of ironic that this year we have witnessed record numbers at food banks and soup kitchens around the nation, and that that same meat producer had fed thousands with his charitable food bank work.

On another note, Raymond Sokolov, of the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled Exceptional Food Moments of 2009, described “Mr. Obama continued his foray into ethnogastropolitics by engaging New York-based, Ethiopian-Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson to cook the administration’s first state dinner, an Indian-fusion meal for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.” A vegetarian dish, by the way, “which included roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut-aged basmati rice.” Yum yum! Who would have ever thought that we would move from glasnost to ethnogastropolitics with Swedish Ethiopian chefs preparing dishes at the White House for a black president of the United States of America? Truly Moshiach is on his way! When you think about it, the ethnogastropolitics concept has been a bona-fide component of our Jewish history and our accompanying tales of persecution. From libels of blood mixed with matzo to kashrus on the run from one pogrom to another, our very make-up is a testament to surviving that particular political combination.

Wishing all our readers a happy, productive and successful secular New Year 2010! May the fiscal New Year be Madoff free, swine flu free, ethnogastropolically correct, and may no moose heads fall upon us.

Best Wishes,

SYR




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