How Authentically Jewish Is My Chicken Soup?

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What does it mean for a recipe to be authentically Jewish? Here at MJL we try to bring you great Jewish recipes, but that means we spend a lot of time thinking about what it means for a recipe to be Jewish. Must it have been made by Jews and that’s it? Must it be something old-world-y, like brisket, or do my recipes for seudah shlishit also count? Jewish cuisine tends to be heavily influenced by regional cuisine (thus Italian recipes from Italian Jews, Persian recipes from Persian Jews, etc etc) so is it really definitively Jewish at all? Does it have to be kosher to be Jewish? Is there such a thing as a goyishe recipe?

Personally, when I think of Jewish food I tend to think of heavier Ashkenazi fare like chicken soup, brisket, kugel, and babka. But I’m Jewish, and when I make Shabbat and holiday meals, those foods are very rarely on my menus. Instead, I make pescatarian-friendly dishes with clean crisp flavors. Lots of salads, lots of roasted vegetables, and dairy desserts. They’re not traditionally Jewish, but they serve as “Jewish meals” for my guests and me. Is that enough?

Over at The Kitchn they’re having a discussion in the comments about authenticity . Add your two cents there and in the comments here.

Posted on June 22, 2010

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9 thoughts on “How Authentically Jewish Is My Chicken Soup?

  1. CARULE LOWERY

    If you have to ask then you know it’s not and especially if it’s not kosher…come on people have all of us lost so much of our traditions and customs that we don’t know what and how to reconzine what a Jewish meal is??????? I MAY NOT ALWAYS EAT JEWISH AND KOSHER,BUT AT LEAST I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE…YOUR LOCAL TEMPLES,BOOK STORES AND EVEN WEB SITES CAN ASSIST YOU,BUT COME ON YOU KNOW!!!!!!!

  2. Ginny

    I am not Jewish but I sure enjoy the recipes on this website. So while you try to define whether they are Jewish or not, I am just going to enjoy eating them.

  3. Carole

    I am not Jewish but enjoy much of the philosophy and the food. I see it more i how and why the food is prepared and finally how it is experienced that is uniquely Jewish. Judaism is as much or more a culture than a religion. Whether Italian Jew or Persian Jew, it comes down to a celebration of goods gift to us and a shared joy.

  4. jimmy

    I suppose if you want authentic Jewish food, you have to go all the way back to the Bible (Deuteronomy 8:8), where it mentions the seven varieties: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates. Add the various spices mentioned, and you have a vegetarian basis for many recipes.

  5. Elizabeth

    I’m Judeo-Christian and I really enjoy most all foods that G-D has given us TO BE RECIEVED. Whether it’s Koscher or not, I love all Jewish dishes and enjoy the variety of recipes on this website. My only thing is, that i do NOT eat “scavengers” i.e. pork,etc. But the point is, that, I agree with the above respondant, that , come on folks, truly you must know the difference between Jewish & non-Jewish foods regardless of what part of the world they originate. Elizabeth

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