American and Israeli Food Culture
Food is a topic that may people like to talk about. Whether you are looking to talk about your own experiences about it, learn some new recipes, or understand why food means so much to us in the first place, it’s a common topic. It is important in day to day life, as well as in cultural values…after all, it’s not called “Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe” for nothing, right? The recipes that get handed down generation to generation are as important to you as the physical possessions that you get. Food means so much to us all, so celebrate that fact by learning more about it…specifically: American and Israeli food culture.
As much as the world now days may want you to believe, Israel and America have much in common, and food is certainly one of these things. Not only do people from both of these nationalities show interest in the others in terms of tastes and food, but they’ve adopted recipes from each other and made them part of their own culture. It shows that even when the worst times come upon us, food is always a good quality placater.
Looking for an example of Jewish foods in America? Look no further than your favourite cafe that is home to all sorts of themed foods and ideas. Many cafes and small restaurants have opened in all of America’s busiest cities, serving you all of your favourite snacks and spreads ( Hummus and Bourekas, for instance) which were originally from Israel. While the knowledge of this food’s original may not worry you, there are some who would take one look at that revelation and never buy a package of hummus again. Good riddance to them, I say. But, think about food culture in a more accepting way.
The more often that we are able to open our doors (and stomachs) to these rich kinds of food, the more experienced that we come from understanding other cultures around us in a safe and calculated way. After all, there’s nothing dangerous or risky about eating a bowl full of couscous and veggies, right? Well, those are Jewish in origin, and in eating those even once in a restaurant, you’ve introduced yourself to a brand new food culture that is going to change your viewpoint on the world forever, even if it’s just a little bit.
The reason that Jewish food has come to America is because many Jewish families are finding a home, here. Each year sees crowds of Jews heading from Israel to America and starting a new life with their culture fully in tact. As the need arises, more Jewish-themed cafes and restaurants are opening their doors to those looking for a familiar meal, and those who want to experience it for the first time.
Think about it this way, if you want to understand it better. Coming over to a strange land in the 1600s, you’re expected to start a new life and take on the challenge of learning how to cook with corn and beans,when you are used to have your own culturally-accepted foods. So, as time marched forward, and new waves of immigrants came over – bringing the traditional foods and cultural attributes – that you had long since lost access to – with them, you’d jump on a chance to have those familiar and missed tastes, right? That’s all that’s happened.
Historically speaking, Israel is rich with war, famine and cultural depression. Coming from a deeply religious society that were brought to these lands to find peace and prosperity, Jews began to finally make a home for themselves in Palestine in the late 1800s, when other Jews that were fleeing from a massacre found a home within the borders. When it was suggested that Palestine by a Jewish-run home, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) was formed, and Jews all over the world contributed to buying land within Palestine to make this a reality.
The country continued to be flooded with Jews looking for refuge all the way until the end of WWII, where United Nations took control of Palestine. It was then separated into two Arab and Jewish states – which we all know today – and after the nomination of its first prime minister, Israel became an independent nation. To date, it has seen its fair share of tough times, but it is rich with its unique culture, even still.
In terms of culture, Those who come to find a home in America from Israel are still known for celebrating their own holidays. Most of the Jewish holidays are not fixed dates, so the time changes each year, but Jewish immigrants are still able to celebrate their beloved holidays in America. For the first couple of years, many find it strange to be celebrating a holiday that not many celebrate in America. Think about it this way: they’re used to celebrating with the country on a public holiday, but in America, it’s just a day like any other with no special perks. Thankfully, Jewish cafes or Jewish-owned businesses will celebrate along with those immigrants, and give them a safe place to celebrate, as well as the appropriate food to go along with it.
This has come to the point, now, where businesses are being formed by Jewish immigrant. Creating their own companies and production lines, they make these traditional foods and market them to restaurants and supermarkets so that the common man or woman can enjoy these hybrid-culture options that are so common place. It is so interesting to look beyond the label and see that there is more going on beneath the surface when it comes to those foods sitting in the Save Easy, waiting for you to take them home.
Next time you go into your favourite cafe or restaurant, explore all of the pages of the menu and see for yourself if there are options that show off the shared food culture between Israel and America. Odds are, there’s more of it than you think.