real housewives shakshuka fight
Image design by Mollie Suss

These Real Housewives Stars Have Seriously Strong Opinions About Shakshuka

Drama can come from the most un-eggs-pected of places…

In a refreshing twist for a Bravo franchise, the new “Real Housewives of New York” love to eat. So much so that in the first three episodes of the RHONY reboot, much of the drama has centered around food, be it cheese, caviar or shakshuka

The reboot is officially the result of allegations of racism against the former RHONY cast, but also a natural conclusion to said cast fading into obscurity over the years. This revamp has a younger, more diverse cast who are actually willing to travel to — and, gasp, even live in — boroughs outside Manhattan. 

But they’re still New York Housewives, so their favorite place to travel to is the Hamptons, which is the setting for a spicy shakshuka-fuelled subplot spanning three whole episodes. The Housewives are staying at Erin Lichy’s house, the only Jewish housewife this season after Lizzy Savetsky left the cast, purportedly due to antisemitic backlash. 

Lichy’s Bravo bio states she was “raised in Manhattan as one of five children in a close-knit Israeli family,” which probably explains her very keen, balabusta-esque desire to cook shakshuka for her guests for breakfast. This North African breakfast dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce is extremely popular in Israel. 

But Lichy’s plans are soon derailed by, arguably, the coolest housewife this season: Jenna Lyons, former creative director and president of J. Crew and poster girl for statement eyewear. Lyons does not eat before she works out in the morning or she’ll throw up. 

Lichy handles Lyons’ shakshuka snub with grace, in addition to the other Housewives incessantly complaining about how cold her house is and about the caviar feast that greeted them when they arrived.

“I picked caviar because that’s a nice bougie snack for these bougie b*tches,” Lichy explained in a confessional. 

Turns out, her guests, who arrived at the three-day Hamptons trip with mountainous piles of luggage, are only sometimes bougie, and wanted a simple sandwich instead. In Lichy’s words: “Tough crowd.”

Still, they survive the night and wake up for their morning workout with no shakshuka and… no Jenna Lyons. A flashback reveals Lyons attempting a French exit the night before, to stay at her own Hamptons home, which, the girls reason, is closer to the beach. 

This second snub almost pushes unflappable Lichy to the edge, but she manages to keep it together with an angry eye flash and a couple of passive-aggressive comments to her remaining guests the next morning.

“Are you shak-sh*tting me?” quips Lyons in her confessional. “Who’s going to have shakshuka before working out? That would be like shak-vomiting. Like, no.”

All’s well that ends well, however, as Lyons apologizes, and in a sneak peek at episode four she even helps Lichy make her famous shakshuka by cutting some tomatoes. Learning the lesson from episode one’s #cheesegate (a spiraling, coded argument about a cheese plate that I couldn’t quite follow), Lichy makes one skillet of shakshuka with cheese, and one without. Thankfully, the girls love it — at least they say they do to Lichy’s face — even if they cannot, for the life of them, pronounce it correctly. (It’s shak-shoo-ka.) 

One could argue that food is the seventh housewife this season: the silent-but-sly one, driving the drama through physiological warfare, manipulating the women through hanger and unpredictable levels of bougieness. I’m excited to see what dishes the housewives will fight about next; this being RHONY, I bet they have some pretty explosive things to say about bagel flavors
But while we anxiously wait for episode four to drop on Sunday, August 6, might I suggest you try one of The Nosher’s numerous recipes for shakshuka? From classic to green (with lots of herbs and leafy greens, topped with feta) to a batch recipe for a crowd that would satisfy even the fussiest of overnight Hamptons guests, they’re sure to hit the spot — pre- or post-work out.

Keep on Noshing

Two Jewish Home Chefs Are Competing on This PBS Cooking Show

In Season 2 of “The Great American Recipe,” two Jewish contestants are showcasing the diversity of Jewish food.

Barbra Streisand Has Some Surprising Opinions About Jewish Delis

Not to mention an unconventional egg cream hot take…