Episode 22: Pride In Our People From Pride in Our Food w/Jeffrey Yoskowitz of 'The Gefilteria'
“In today’s reality, most families don’t store a live carp in the bathtub before the holidays, or spend all day preparing labor-intensive foods. Under the banner of convenience, the past several decades have seen treasured food traditions stuffed into jars and neglected, gefilte included.
Gefilte fish was once an innovative way to stretch how far one fish could go to feed a family, a powerful symbol of European peasantry. The canned variety, by contrast, is a poignant reminder of how far we’ve strayed from the old days, so much so that gefilte has become synonymous with the outdated, the gray, the antiquated and the Old World.
But we need not accept the extinction of this tradition, or of the robust, colorful, fresh flavors of Ashkenazi cuisine.”
-Excerpt from the “The Gefilte Manifesto”
Jeffrey Yoskowitz is co-owner of The Gefilteria and co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, named a National Jewish Book Awards finalist. A food entrepreneur and writer, Jeffrey travels the globe speaking, cooking and teaching. His writings on food and culture have appeared in The New York Times and The Atlantic, among others. In fall 2019, Jeffrey will be the chef-and-scholar-in-residence for “History, Heritage and Herring,” a culinary tour of Poland and Lithuania. He has cooked as a guest chef at the esteemed James Beard House kitchen, was named to the esteemed Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 list for Food and Wine, as well as The Forward 50. The Gefilteria in collaboration with The Nosher has also produced guides for delicious Jewish eateries all around the world - which can be found here.
Has America been the Goldene Medina for Jewish food? Is this where Ashkenazi food came to die or has it been innovated and grown in ways previously unforeseen? In this episode, with Jeffrey Yoskowitz, we delve deep into American Ashkenazi food by going back into history and imagining the future as well.
Jewish food tells a story not only of American acculturation but also about how Jews celebrated holidays, how they gathered, and how they were influenced by mid-century American suburban economics. The role of the Goose tells a surprising story about how Jews celebrated Hanukkah. Pastrami, which is a tradition that hails from Romania, points to the innovations that Jewish New Yorkers came up with as Jews from all over Eastern Europe were mixed together and began to interact with each other and experiment with and expand on each others’ food.
To watch The Gefilteria in action creating some of their most delicious gems, check out the video below!
For books and resources either written or recommended by Jeffrey Yoskowitz, be sure to check out:
“The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods” by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern
“Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen” by David Sax
“97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement” by Jane Ziegelman
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