Author Archives: Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden

About Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden is one of England's leading food writers. Her works include the James Beard Award winning The Book of Jewish Food and A Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Haroset from Egypt

On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt.

From The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Ashkenazi Haroset

On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt. These are the classic Eastern European ingredients. Only the proportions vary.

From The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Haroset from Morocco

On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt. This is a Moroccan variation on the recipe.

Piedmontese Haroset

This haroset recipe is adapted from one sent by Nedelia Tedeschi, of Turin. She enclosed a little picture of a squirrel eating a chestnut, from the package of dried chestnuts she uses to make the paste. It was Passover, and the Italian store near my house had closed, so when I phoned around to try to find dried chestnuts and couldn't, I used cooked vacuum-packed ones instead. The result was very unusual and also delightful.

Haroset from Italy

On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt. In Italy there are various regional versions of haroset. The haroset of Padua has prunes, raisins, dates, walnuts, apples, and chestnuts. In Milan they make it with apples, pears, dates, almonds, bananas, and orange juice. The following is a general version.

From The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Turkish Haroset

On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt. These are the classic Eastern European ingredients. Only the proportions vary.

From The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

East Central European Cuisine

Reprinted with permission from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, published by Knopf.

The Ashkenazi  Diaspora gradually spread westward and southward. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618‑1648), Germany began to readmit Jews, who supplied the armies. By the eighteenth century, the numerous German courts offered opportunities to financiers and “court Jews”—as those who served as financial advisers and agents to rulers in Europe were known—some of whom became extremely wealthy and powerful. The old Jewish communities in the lands that were to become Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia grew large with Jews from the annexed Polish territories and immigrants from Poland and Russia. 

In the nineteenth century, the Jews of Europe achieved emancipation. The process had begun when Napoleon’s revolutionary armies carried their ideals of the Rights of Man and equality into the countries they conquered, ending the age of the ghetto. The spirit of Enlightenment spread through a Europe that was shedding feudalism and industrializing and helped all the Jewish communities to achieve economic and social integration. Jews flocked to large cities like Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Bucharest.

A small minority attained wealth and prominence in banking and commerce, the liberal professions, and various industries, but the majority who flooded in from Russia and Poland remained a poor, uprooted working class. While Jews in the villages remained steeped in religious orthodoxy and tradition, speaking Yiddish—their Polish roots much in evidence—the Haskalah (Hebrew for “Enlightenment”) spread modernization, acculturation, and integration in the cities. Although there was a certain replication of Polish Jewish culture, there was also a gradual assimilation of the varied local and ruling cultures (the lands were part of the German, Russian, and Austro‑Hungarian empires and were ethnically diverse). Several essentially different Jewish communities developed. Hungarian became the language of the Jewish elite, German that of the business communities, and Czech, Romanian, and other languages were spoken regionally.

Cheese Lokshen Kugel

Reprinted with permission from The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

This deliciously creamy noodle dish is a specialty of Shavuot. It can be savory or sweet.

Blintzes

Reprinted from The Book of Jewish Food, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Blintzes are of Hungarian origin. Pancakes of every kind with various fillings, called “palacsinta,” are common in Hungary. This one was adopted as a specialty of Shavuot, when it is customary to eat dairy dishes. It is a magnificent sweet and one of my favorites.

Ashkenazi Haroset

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On the Passover seder plate, haroset symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt. These are the classic Eastern European ingredients. Only the proportions vary.

Watch our 1-minute video on how to make Ashkenazi haroset here. For more haroset recipes, click here.

From The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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