What is your child eating for lunch?

By Denise Phillips, November 19, 2009

What do your children eat at school? I have examined the provision of Jewish secondary schools in London and it is clear to me that most of the schools are following the government guidelines of no chips, limited ketchup, no salt, no nuts and vending machines that cannot sell fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps and similar style of snacks, while water is available at all times. Staff had put an enormous amount of attention into content, method of payment and in many cases I was extremely impressed.


Is salt really dangerous?

By Alex Kasriel, November 12, 2009

Most of us love kosher delicacies like smoked salmon, shmaltz herring, pickles and chicken soup.

But these kiddush staples contain high proportions of salt which, as we know, is bad news for hearts. Or is it?

Recent research from the department of nutrition at the University of California found that it may be difficult to consume too much salt.

Professor David McCarron measured salt losses in the urine of almost 20,000 people in 33 countries and he found that our organs are naturally able to regulate our salt intake.


Shabbat, African-style

By Simon Round, November 12, 2009

Jewish food — bland, stodgy, comforting and ultimately a little boring? Not if you are Tunisian.

North African Jews have a cuisine every bit as traditional and defined as that of the Eastern European shtetl, but that is about all it has in common. It is defined by its fragrant spices, heat from the fiery harissa paste, herbs, vegetables and meats.


Slow food? We've been cooking it for centuries

By Bernard Josephs, November 5, 2009

Few dishes are more deeply rooted in the traditions of Jewish cuisine than stew. From the frozen wastes of Russia to the deserts of the Middle East, cooks have for centuries perfected the art of slow cooking, using a variety of vegetables, spices and meat.

To find the origins of the hearty kosher stew it is probably necessary to go back to the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when a plate of stewed lentils changed the course of Jewish history.

As the story goes, Jacob offered him a bowl full in exchange for his birthright, making it one of the most expensive meals in history.


The future's orange

By Ruth Joseph, October 28, 2009

The red/golden pumpkin is a glorious sight and now farmer’s market stalls are laden with these wonderful squashes. Of course they are not mentioned in the Bible because they arrived as galleon treasures from the New World, originally transported by Spanish conquistadors but distributed by Jewish merchants in exchange for silks and spices from the Orient.


The fish that's not fishy

By Anthea Gerrie, October 22, 2009

Blame it on Nobu, that Japanese chef so beloved of fashionable diners.

Within a decade of him taking a humble, inexpensive and, some would say, unremarkable fatty fish and giving it an extraordinary treatment, he has single-handedly created a world market for black cod.

And it is not just for the sushi crowd — this new addition to top fishmongers’ slabs is now making an appearance at simchahs.

“When we serve it as part of a mixed starter, it’s always the star of the plate,” says Sarah Taylor of kosher caterers Tony Page.


Packed lunch gets taste-lift

By Denise Phillips, October 15, 2009

It is all too easy for both parents and children to get into a routine of having the same packed lunch day in and day out. Nutritional content becomes limited and the children are not encouraged to experiment with new flavours, textures and experiences. The fussy eater is not exposed to new foods or new ingredients, as might be the case with a cooked school lunch, and may end up following the eating habits of their parents, who may only buy specific brands and eat a narrow range of foods.


Shakshuka: Israel’s hottest breakfast dish

By Bernard Josephs, October 8, 2009

What is the best way to prepare shakshuka, the spicy, warming, vegetable and egg dish that is a regular part of the Israeli diet and is usually served as a cooked breakfast or a light lunch?

The answer to this vexing question is a huge bone of contention around many kitchen tables in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israelis of course love to argue, particularly about food, and the debate about what constitutes a “genuine” shakshuka is at the centre of many a furious debate.


What to do with your second-hand citron

By Ruth Joseph, October 1, 2009

It’s a fascinating fact that in the Middle Ages, the humble etrog became part of a peace treaty. After fighting and losing yet another war, the Republic of Pisa was banned from trading in etrogim in 1329 by the Guelph League of Tuscany, headed by Florence. Etrogim or citrons had always been valuable, in fact, the Spanier merchants, from Frankfurt, became famous for trading in them. And this is strange when one considers the etrog’s sourness and thick skin, in comparison with other citrus fruits. They also need more water than other fruit trees, so their value lies purely in prayer.


Why ambiguity is key to kosher cooking

By Denise Phillips, September 24, 2009

Cooking and good food are central to Jewish life. Our calendar is studded with a glorious variety of festivals and holidays. Some of them are serious occasions; others are more fun. But they all have one thing in common — a celebratory shared meal with a signature dish chosen for its religious connections. And behind each one is a Jewish mother, a matriarch capable of creating classic, delicious meals at a moment’s notice on a regular, almost daily basis.