Archive for the 'Europe' Category

Kosher Veganarchy in the U.K.!

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

Last month, the Redwood Wholefood Company, a vegan food manufacturer in Britain, issued a press release announcing “one of the first times that a UK manufacturer of vegetarian and vegan products has undergone the kosher certification process.” Celebrity animal rights advocate Heather Mills, who owns Redwood, said, “Achieving kosher certification is an endorsement of the care and attention we give to the sourcing of ingredients and to the manufacturing of our products.”

Perhaps a press release should be taken with a grain of kosher salt. While it is commendable that Redwood has reached out to clientele seeking a hechsher, kosher-certified vegan food is likely not a total anomaly in England. The press release highlights the rarity of kosher certification for companies that chiefly focus on vegetarian and vegan foods, but surely there must be a fair number of kosher foods that are vegan in the U.K. I took the below photo last year to show off the kosher section of a London supermarket, and I’m guessing that at the very least, the matzos that my friend was holding were both hechsher-bearing and vegan!

Culture in the Cucina: Dec 13

Jewish-style fried artichoke

Calling all New Yorkers!  If you’re around on Sunday, December 13th at 2pm, join me at this fun Jewish food event!

How Rome’s Jews are Cooking up the Past and Future

While Jews have lived in Italy since the 2nd century BCE and are credited with popularizing staple ingredients like eggplant, fennel and pumpkin, the notion of an “Italian Jewish cuisine” is difficult to define. Still, a handful of traditional dishes – like Carciofi alla Guidia (deep fried artichokes) and Pizza Ebraica (a fruit cake-like dessert) – have managed to endure over time.

Food writer, Leah Koenig, will discuss how certain traditional recipes have attained iconic status in Italy’s oldest and largest Jewish center, Rome. She will also explore how today’s urban Jews relate to their culinary heritage. New York’s Jews have their bagels, knish and egg creams. What dishes do Italians turn to when they need a nosh, and how do these foods connect them to their past and their future?  *Bonus! Italian Jewish Chanukah recipes and tips on where to find Jewish Italian food in NYC.

EVENT DETAILS and more photos of Rome’s delicious food culture below the jump…

World Summit on Food Security

World Summit on Food Security

Cross-posted on From the Groundthe blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS).

The World Summit on Food Security is happening right now (November 16 to 18) in Rome. According to an article in today’s New York Times, world leaders have rallied around a new strategy to fight global hunger and help poor countries feed themselves. They have not, however, pledged the $44 billion sought by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization to increase agricultural aid to the world’s one billion hungry people.

Nine Faiths, One Vegan Lunch at Windsor Castle

The following article was written by Leah Koenig and published in the Jewish Daily Forward earlier this week.  Be sure to click on the link below to check out the comments.

photo by Simon and Vicki

On Tuesday November 3, His Royal Highness Prince Philip will host over 200 guests for lunch at Windsor Castle, the 900-year-old palace that serves as an official residence of his and Queen Elizabeth’s. But this lunch will be noticeably different from the roasted quail and crème fraîche typical of castle meals. Instead, the menu is entirely vegan and centered on seasonal, regionally sourced ingredients.

You’re the Jew in my Coffee…

Cross-posted at

a tiny bottle of pharisaer
Tiny Vial of Pharisäer

What do you put in your coffee?

Pharisees of course

Ever-sensitive to appearances of Jewish references in popular culture, I was a bit surprised to read Maureen Dowd’s headline in the New York Times on Sunday, July 19, 2009: “Pharisees on the Potomac”

I did not see any mention of late antiquity in her column and it was not until a number of hours later that I realized she had used the Christian allusion to Pharisees as hypocrites! Shame on her and shame on her editors (I wonder if William Safire saw the column). As the Wikipedia makes quite clear:

Yid.Dish: Italian Jewish Fried Artichokes

x-posted from My Jewish Learning


Like many Jewish travelers, I have a tendency to seek out the Jewish connections in any city I visit. Stumbling across a generations-old deli, say, or a stone building etched with a Star of David from its former life as a synagogue, helps me feel at home when I am abroad. For Jews spending time in Rome, no trip is complete without a trek to the Roman Ghetto and a taste of Carciofi alla Giudia, literally “Jewish Style Artichokes.”

Known for their delicate chrysanthemum shape and crispy, salt-kissed taste, fried artichokes are a popular dish in restaurants across Italy’s largest city. Their history however, stems back to 16th century, when Roman Jews were confined to an overcrowded, impoverished ghetto. Deep fried artichokes might seem like a delicacy now, but according to Matthew Goodman who authored, Jewish Food: The World at Table, “food [in the ghetto] was scarce [and] frying was the cheapest and easiest option of food preparations.”

More and recipe, below the jump…

Apples: Eating, Drinking, Picking & Growing

While reading Eli Margulies’ recent recipe for poached pears using apple juice, I was reminded of my favourite apple juices. For our readers in England, this is a reminder of two delicious products they may already know about. And for our other readers, here is something you’ve probably never heard of, let alone even tasted. These juices are something I always look forward to drinking whenever I visit the UK. Even if they were exported (and I’m not sure they are: the food miles would be fearsome and the quality might suffer significantly!) there’s something about English apples that always makes me delighted to come back to the UK. So first, here are some thoughts on apples in general, in the US and the UK; for the juice recommendations, you’ll have to read to the end.

Yid.Dish: Mimoza Salad


This is a traditional Soviet party dish, so put on your party hat, cause it’s gonna be GRATE! (Sorry, I just can’t help myself. Bad puns are like a disease.)

A Toast to London?


The first in an upcoming series of posts about food in London, this photo was taken during Passover. Walking past this kitchen store and admiring the beautiful fittings and accessories, I did a double-take. Notice what’s in the toast rack… Who ever said that English food wasn’t creative?

In Memory’s Kitchen: A Cookbook from a Concentration Camp

Photo credit kimberlykv

A few years ago I came across a book called In Memory’s Kitchen, edited by Cara De Silva. The book collects recipes and food memories written by women imprisoned at the Czechoslovakian concentration camp of Theresienstadt. Though they were starving and undernourished, a group gathered to write a book of recipes and food memories to pass down to another generation. The recipes they included were for rich national foods of Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Austria, like fried noodles topped with raisins, cinnamon and vanilla cream, and traditional caramels from Baden Baden.

Food was constantly a topic of discussion, though there was little to go around, and certainly none of the luxurious ingredients a person would need to make many of the cakes and treats included in the book. Discussing and sometimes arguing about the best recipes and methods of preparation for various delicacies was comforting to the women who were starving, and they called this “mouth cooking.”

Anti-Semitism or Animal Rights?



On Ynet today (the website of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest-circulation newspaper) is an article on European rabbis who are gearing up to fight a possible new European Union ruling on meat production that would require animals to be stunned before they are killed. According to the rabbis, this requirement would effectively prevent kosher meat from being produced in Europe.


The article only appears in Hebrew (though it could be in the process of translation for the English Ynet site). I did, however, find this article on Kashrut supervisors in Tiberias who will apparently be issued lasers for zapping bugs on vegetables in the open market.

Pesach in Paris

Thanks so much to Lilit Marcus for this terrific guest cross-post. Lilit is the editor of Her book Save the Assistants (based on the blog of the same name) will be published by Hyperion next year.

Pains Azymes

Photo by Erik Trinidad.  For more photos of their trip click here

Passover is both my most and least favorite Jewish holiday. I love the symbolism and beautiful ritual of the seder, the ancient story of the Exodus with its modern message of working to free all those who are in bondage throughout the world. However, once the seders are over, I spend the rest of the eight days moaning, whining, and generally being a bitch about my newly chametz-free diet. My typical non-Pesach days begin with a bagel, end with beer, and feature pasta in the middle. And, because apparently I’m as much a glutton for punishment as for carbohydrates, this year I’m spending Passover in Paris, the pastry and bread capital of the world. Before I left, my friend Lily assured me that if I ate croissants in Paris it wouldn’t be a black mark on my Jewish permanent record. “It’s like cheating on your boyfriend,” she said. “If it’s in another country, it doesn’t count.”

Do Brits Do It Better? Part 2

Thanks to Anthony Silverbrow for this guest post. Silverbrow lives in England and maintains the blog Silverbrow on Food.


Earlier this year, Leah asserted that Great Britain could claim “foodie superiority” over the US thanks to the work of Jamie, Hugh and Gordon. But while television shows are good indicators of the cultural zeitgeist, what interests me is the quality of food and in particular, the quality of kosher food.And it’s there that I believe we in the UK are the laggards.

Do Brits Do It Better?


When it comes to “sustainable eating,” I’m starting to worry that perhaps the Brits take the (organic carrot) cake.

Maybe my sources are skewed from having a Manchester-bred boss who sends all-staff emails everytime the British foodies do something interesting.  (e.g. when England’s Walmart-equivalent, Tesco, commits to making their products’ ”food miles” transparent, or long-time organic farming supporter, Prince Charles makes a cookie.)

As if the Prince of England wasn’t enough proof of England’s foodie superiority, now I find out that Jamie Oliver – the British hearthrob and “Naked Chef” -has a new book and TV show called Jamie at Home that features food grown in his backyard and cooked in his kitchen.  Jamie says: