If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “What is Israeli cuisine, really?” you’ve probably come to the conclusion that the answer is pretty complicated. Director Roger Sherman found himself wondering the same thing when he went to Israel for the first time in 2010. There, according to his film’s website, he found a cuisine that he calls “one of the most dynamic in the world,” full of “Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian, and Russian – Jewish, Arab, Palestinian, Christian, and Druze, kosher and non-kosher, secular and religious” influences that are all worth exploring.
The documentary, “In Search of Israeli Cuisine,” will make its debut in New York and other major cities starting on Friday, March 24.
We’re particularly thrilled that the film follows Michael Solomonov, one of our favorite Jewish chefs, through Israeli markets, trendy restaurants, home kitchens, cheese factories and vineyards. Solomonov, who wrote Zahav: a World of Israeli Cooking and owns several Philly-based Israeli-inspired restaurants (including Dizengoff in NYC), has lived in Israel and has a passion for cooking and exploring its diverse cuisine.
I plan to see the film next week at one of my favorite theaters in NYC. As someone who loves cooking Middle Eastern foods like hummus, tabouleh and falafel, I’m looking for ways to enrich my understanding of what these foods mean to Israeli immigrants and those who have been cooking this way for thousands of years. On the other side of the question, I’m excited to see the various ways in which European, Russian and African immigrants inform the cuisine.
Food will always reflect cultural tastes and political ideologies, while at the very same time it unites us. When I’m feeling most optimistic, I think food really could be an important tool for promoting peace. Projects and documentaries that feature everyday people and everyday kitchens, like this one, will hopefully inspire more questions and conversations along these lines.