What Foods Will You Find on Your Israel Journey? Part 2
In our previous post, we told you a bit about the Middle Eastern and Spanish influences on Israeli cuisine.
European and Other Influences
Starting in the late 1700s, with the influx of Jews from Russia, France, Poland, Germany, France, and Italy, Israel’s cuisine expanded. Schnitzel, strudel, babka, lox, gefilte fish, kugel, chopped liver, knishes, borsht, and, of course, the proverbial chicken soup!
Of course, visitors come to Israel from all over the world, and Israelis love to travel. So it is no surprise that many of the dishes found in Asia, Australia, South America and the U.S.A. appear in Israeli restaurants. Pizzerias and burger joints are found in almost every town.
When you visit Israel, you will find that many restaurants offer dishes that are prepared according to the laws of the bible, which are known as the laws of kashrut, or keeping kosher. You will also find many restaurants that do not follow these biblical restrictions.
When you are in a kosher restaurant, you will find that kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy and pareve.
- Kosher meat must come from an animal that chews its cud and has split hooves, such as cows, sheep and goats. Poultry includes chickens and turkeys, but not any predatory fowl.
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream, must come from kosher animals
- Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are called pareve. Common pareve foods are eggs, fish (with scales and fins), fruit, vegetables, grains, unprocessed juices, pasta, soft drinks, coffee and tea and many candies and snacks.
In kosher restaurants, besides the types of foods listed above, another rule which is followed is that meat and dairy products are never mixed together at the same meal. Example: If you ate steak for dinner, your after-meal beverage can be coffee, however the coffee will be served with a non-dairy creamer.
As mentioned above, there are many restaurants which will mix meat and dairy products, as well as serve foods that are never found in a kosher restaurant: lobster, shrimp, cheeseburgers, buffalo wings. Check with your hotel staff to get recommendations for restaurants that serve the food you are in the mood to eat.
During Passover, Jewish dishes will vary a bit due to the Biblical prohibition against eating grains that have come in contact with liquids and risen, known as chametz. Observant Jews will absolutely not eat chametz. Ashkenazi Jews, descendants of families who hail from Europe, have further restrictions. Sephardi Jewish cooking includes some dishes not found on the tables of the Ashkenazi Jews. Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils as well as sides of rice, or snacks such as sunflower seeds will still be used during a Sephardi family’s Passover holiday.
In our next post (Part 3) we’ll tell you where Israeli food is grown and share a traditional Israeli recipe.