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What Do Jewish People Eat?
Jewish cuisine is a culinary tradition that is both varied and flavorful. For centuries, Jews across the world have enjoyed a variety of dishes based on local produce and ingredients. From the simple matzo ball soup to the complex falafel sandwich, Jewish foods reflect an expansive culture, as well as a keen flourishes.
What do Jewish people eat? There is no simple answer. Jewish food reflects the diversity of not only of Jewish peoples around the globe, but also the regional influence of the countries they inhabit. In the Middle East, many dishes incorporate chickpeas and fava beans, while Ashkenazi Jews (those of Eastern European descent) often opt for potatoes, cabbage, and lox (smoked salmon).
A staple of many Jewish tables is the Shabbat dish: A traditional meal served to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath. Commonly, this includes challah, a special loaf of bread, as well as simple dishes like tzimmes (a medley of cooked vegetables, fruits, and meat or fish) and cholent (a slow-cooked stew); many Jews also believe that each family should offer a unique dish on the Sabbath to make the meal an experience.
On Rosh Hashanah and other Jewish holidays, dishes like gefilte fish, latkes (potato pancakes), and chrein (horseradish relish) are mainstays. Kosher food laws — which include, among others, the prohibition of combining milk and meat — also influence the preparation of meals.
For breakfast, Jewish people often opt for delights like knishes (stuffed dough pockets) and blintzes (crepes filled with cheese, fruit, or potatoes). In Israel, matza brei (fried matza) is a popular option.
Lunch and dinner might include a variety of meats, such as brisket, as well as vegetarian and vegan options like hummus, tabouleh, and falafel.
Beyond traditional holidays, Jewish people have put their own spin on dishes from all over the world. The bagel, for example, is a creative adaptation of the traditional Polish and German breads. Kugel, a comforting dish made with potatoes, eggs, and cheese, is also a beloved Jewish staple.
No matter the day, occasion, or flavor, Jewish cuisine has a range of flavors and styles that please the palettes of foodies across the globe. From elegant and savory to simple and sweet, Jewish food reflects a culture with a rich and varied history.
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