Weekly Reader—Pesach 2021 Edition

Food-Themed Content

A zisn peysekh—a sweet Passover—everyone! This quintessential spring holiday is a wonderful celebration of our freedoms, but as we all know, freedom from dietary restrictions is not one of them.

That’s why, after a week of matzo and hard-boiled eggs, Jews celebrate again, this time by exchanging recipes and appreciating our culinary heritage anew. To honor this tradition, we’ve put together some of our best food-themed content to whet your appetite for after the holiday. Enjoy, and bon appétit!

Ezra Glinter

The Food of Heaven

There’s no more Ashkenazi food than tsholnt (more commonly spelled “cholent”), that hot savory stew of beans, potatoes, and meat traditionally served on shabes afternoons. But how did this particularly tasty brew come to be the food that binds us together? In this article Asya Vaisman Schulman takes a look at the history of the food, and its peculiar name.

Read Asya's article

The Family Cook Book

If you imagine that the Yiddish Book Center’s collections must certainly include Yiddish cookbooks, well, you would be right. Dos familyen kokh-bukh (titled, in English, Jewish Cook Book) is a 1914 bilingual Yiddish-English cookbook that claims to include the best of American, French, Italian, and German cuisine, specially adapted for the Jewish kitchen. Do its recipes still hold up? Find out and let us know.

Read Dos familyen kokh-bukh

Jewish Food Delivery

Long before Seamless or Uber Eats, Jews were in the food delivery business. Once they might have come to your door with a wagon full of pickles and smoked fish; now they’ll still bring you those foods but through more modern means. In this online program Lisa Newman talked to some of the country’s top Jewish food purveyors about how a mail order business in lox, herring, and babka is still booming today.

Watch the virtual program

Eating the Archives

The collections of the Yiddish Book Center are, as its name implies, mostly books. But every so often something else turns up. That’s how Mikhl Yashinsky stumbled across a brown paper bag full of recipe clippings, in both Yiddish and English. He started wondering what the life of such a recipe collector might have been like and what those recipes might have tasted like. After some research, he soon had answers to both questions.

Read Mikhl’s essay

Yiddish and Food

What is the relationship between language and food? Would strudel be less sweet if you called it puff pastry? And what is the relationship specifically between the Yiddish language and the Jewish foods it describes? In this oral history, culinary scholar Eve Jochnowitz reflects on how language and food weave, often unnoticed, through the tapestry of daily life.

Listen to Eve’s interview