A tale of preservation

By Ruth Joseph, January 21, 2010

What is fascinating about the humble pickle, seen on every Jewish table whether as a simple accompaniment to a burger, a family roast-chicken dinner, part of a grand Kiddush or a simchah meal, is that its origins reach as far back as 2030 BCE in Mesopotamia where archaeologists discovered pickled cucumber seeds.

They had been carried to the valley of the Tigris by Indian travellers. The pickle is mentioned twice in the Bible, in Isaiah 1:8 and Numbers 11:5; and ever since then, we have saved our glut of foods and pickled for leaner times.


Treasure chest

By Ruth Joseph, January 14, 2010

Surely there is nothing more glorious than sitting by an open fire roasting chestnuts, or enjoying a cone of piping hot chestnuts. And chestnuts have more than a food significance for Jewish people. For during the time that Anne Frank was incarcerated in her hiding place, she looked out on a chestnut tree and often mentioned it in her writing.

On February 23, 1944, she said, “From my favourite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree on whose branches little raindrops shine…”


The day the Hairy Bikers sampled my kuchen

By Ruth Joseph, January 7, 2010

The phone rang. I had been invited to appear in the Hairy Bikers’ new programme, Mothers Know Best, and did I have children who cooked, the researcher wanted to know. Of course I did, and so, armed with our favourite dishes, the whole family travelled, as instructed, to a venue situated on the highest, windiest, coldest hill in the Cotswolds. The Highland cattle occupying the field had been moved to an adjacent pasture but the vast cow-pats that remained were a source of constant anxiety and laughter to the gathering guests.


January is the time to veg out

By Bernard Josephs, December 29, 2009

Not much about winter fruit is mentioned in the Bible, except of course for that apocalyptic apple that Eve is said to have shared with Adam in the Garden of Eden.

However, there is evidence in the scriptures that the ancient Israelites had quite an appetite for the many wild plants and herbs that flourished in Judea and Galilee during the days of the Prophets.


How to make canapés that won't bite back

By Denise Phillips, December 22, 2009

This is the time of year when many of us feel the need to entertain work colleagues, parents from school, neighbours and, of course, the family. However, you do not necessarily need to come up with an elaborate menu — entertaining the canapé way is sociable and definitely less challenging on the host/ hostess. And you will not need to spend too much time in the kitchen as most of the preparation is done in advance.


Why Israel is a latke-free zone

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Every year, the range of doughnuts in Israeli shops becomes wider and yummier. But there is a victim of the Israeli love affair with doughnuts — the latke.

“Latkes have been displaced by doughnuts — there’s no doubt about it,” observes Oz Almog, a Haifa University sociologist who chronicles the day-to-day lives of Israelis.


Fruit diet cured my husband of cancer

By Anthea Gerrie, December 10, 2009

It was a legacy she never expected to put to the test. But when her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Paula Davis felt instinctively that her grandfather’s dietary cure was the best bet for his survival.

“Conventional treatments can have unpleasant side effects like impotence and incontinence; it was Brian’s body, and he felt a treatment aiming to rid the body of disease through diet was a saner approach,” says the granddaughter of Dr Max Gerson.


How to conquer your fear of frying

By Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine, December 10, 2009

The kitchen can be a dangerous place, but never more so than during the festival of Chanucah — the culprit, fried food. Of course it can be fabulous, but it also can be fatal, not only in the preparation, but also in the eating. If your house does not burn down due to a forgotten chip pan, if you are not charging around armed with air freshener and if you haven’t visited A&E with multiple burns, the fact is, just eating too much fried food can be a heart attack waiting to happen.


Love at first bite

By Simon Round, December 3, 2009

When it comes to attracting a partner, the ability to chop a courgette adeptly is crucial. Well, it is at Date on a Plate anyway. This is a regular evening run by chef and cookery writer Denise Phillips for foodies who want to date, or perhaps for daters who want to cook.

The recipe is simple. Get some single guys and single girls cooking and eating together, and perhaps there will be some chemistry as well as cookery. The beauty of it is that even if you don’t meet your soul mate, you will at least learn how to stuff a mushroom.


Cauliflower: the tasty way to prevent cancer

By Ruth Joseph, November 26, 2009

Although some consider cauliflower bland, when it’s cooked perfectly with the creamy curds and few surrounding pale green leaves just tender, cauliflower can be one of the most delicious vegetables in the cook’s repertoire. Mark Twain described it as a “cabbage with a college education”. Although it originated in Asia, its health-giving qualities make it a super-food for Ashkenazi Jews, as it may be helpful in fighting both breast and prostate cancers within the community.