Definitions of Jewish Foods

This may only be understood by New Yorkers... but here goes. Just got it from my friend Gil, who probably got it from his son-in-law, the Rabbi. 
A pancake-like structure not to be confused with
anything produced in the House of Pancakes. It is made with potatoes, onions, eggs, and matzo meal and cooked in hot oil. Latkes may be eaten with apple sauce or sour cream but NEVER with maple syrup. There is a rumor that in the time of the Maccabees they lit a latka by mistake and it burned for eight days, hence the miracle of Chanukah. What is certain is that you will have a heartburn for the same amount of time.
The Egyptians' revenge for leaving slavery. It
consists of a simple mix of flour and water--no flavor at all. When made well, it might taste like cardboard. Its redeeming value is that it does fill you up and stays with you for a long time. However, it is recommended that you eat a few prunes soon after.
Kasha Varnishkes
One of the little-known delicacies which is more
difficult to pronounce than to cook. It has nothing to do with varnish, but is basically a mixture of buckwheat groats and bow-tie noodles, with some fried onions. Why bow-ties and not, for example, elbow macaroni? Many sages discussed this and agreed that some Jewish mother decided that bow ties are very neat and tidy and G-d forbid there should be an elbow on her table.
Basically this is the Jewish answer to Crepes Suzettes.
You know from Haggis? Well, this ain't it. In the old days they would take an intestine and stuff it. Today we use parchment paper or plastic. And what do you stuff it with? Carrots, celery, onions, flour, spices, and for flavor, chicken fat. But the trick is not to cook it alone but to add it to the cholent [see below] and let it cook for 24 hours until there is no chance whatsoever that there is any nutritional value left.
Sounds much worse than it tastes. There is a
Rabbinical debate on its origins: One Rabbi claims it began when a fortune cookie fell into his chicken soup. The other swears it started in an Italian restaurant. Either way it can be soft, hard or soggy and the amount of meat inside depends on whether it's your mother or your mother-in-law who made it.
This combination of noxious gases has been the secret weapon of Jews for centuries. The unique combination of beans, barley, potatoes, and bones or meat, which cooks for at least 24 hours, is meant to stick to your ribs and anything else with which it comes into contact. At a Mexican restaurant a youngster who had just had his first taste of Mexican refried beans exclaimed: "What! They serve leftover cholent here too?!"
Gefilte Fish
A few years ago, I had problems with my filter in my fish pond and a few of the fish got rather stuck and mangled. My son [5 years old] looked at them and commented, "Is that why they call it 'Go Filtered Fish'?" Originally, it was a carp stuffed with a minced fish and vegetable mixture. Today it is ground fish balls (or ovals) eaten with horseradish ["chrain"], which is judged on its relative strength in bringing tears to your eyes at 100 paces.
How can we finish without the quintessential Jewish food, the bagel? Like most foods, there are legends surrounding the bagel. Rumors persist that the inventors of the bagel were Norwegians who couldn't otherwise get anyone to buy smoked salmon. Think about it: Can you picture yourself eating lox on white bread? A cracker? Naaa. They looked for something hard and almost indigestible which could support the spread of cream cheese and wouldn't take up too much
room on the plate. And why the hole? Many philosophers (mostly French and German) believe the hole is the essence of the bagel and the dough is only there for emphasis.


Posted by Margy Kleinerman