Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
The history of Jewish cooking is long. Almost as long is the history of jokes about Jewish cooking. (A bad matzo ball makes a good paperweight. Hahahahaha.)
Just about everyone—with the possible exception of Jewish food joke writers—will be glad to hear that we’re in a new era of Jewish cuisine. No offense to anyone’s grandmother, but several places are using well-sourced ingredients to make superior versions of brisket, babka, and of course, matzo balls.
Such a calendar occurrence won't happen again for approximately 70,000 years, so professional and home cooks alike have crossbred the respective culinary traditions with the fervor of 1,000 turduckens.
Shana tovah u'metukah!
The exhortation to have a "good and sweet year" isn't just a figure of speech; it also guides the menu for celebrations of Rosh Hashanah for Jewish people around the world. This observance of the New Year brings the faithful together, for two nights in some communities and one night in others, in services to reflect upon and celebrate the year that has passed and the one that is to come.
The shofar - the horn of a ram - is blown, bread is tossed into the water to indicate the casting off of sins, prayers and poems are recited.
Then comes the feasting.
Editor's note: This piece - a little-known lesson in African American drinkways - was originally delivered as a presentation at the 2008 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium on the Liquid South. It was later printed in Cornbread Nation 5. Today's installment comes courtesy of John Simpkins, Fellow of Comparative Constitutional Law at the Charleston School of Law.
I've been black since birth. I'm not sure how long I've been a Jew. "You're the only black person I know who can quote Woody Allen movies," said my Jewish friend, Peter, when I asked him to assess my Jewishness. "I only quote from the early good ones," I explained. "And those I love. In fact, love is too weak a word for what I feel. I more than love them. I 'lurve' them."
"Sammy Davis Jr. was your favorite member of the Rat Pack," Peter continued, pressing his case. "You even sent your three-year-old to summer camp at the Jewish Community Center. He recognizes the Israeli flag, can sing the dreidel song, and is constantly asking for challah. If you're not Jewish, Jonah certainly is."