One time my brother came home to find me on the couch watching The Food Network. He threw his hands up, “all you watch is food TV!” That’s pretty true, but there is one cooking show I was missing out on, until now. Eat in Good Health is a Yiddish cooking show produced every 2 weeks by The Forward. It is one of the most enjoyable cooking shows I’ve seen. The show is a great mixture of tradition, modernity, entertainment, and education.
The show’s hosts, Rukhl Schaechter and Eve Jochnowitz speak throughout the show at a calm but normal pace. Though they teach a few of the nuances of Yiddish, it is not a language learning show. Still, while watching the show I felt like I was picking up a few phrases. At the very least, the flow of the language started to feel familiar, and I did learn that there are different words for sweet and sour cherries.
As surely and naturally as they speak Yiddish, they live in the old world and the new. There was something so fun about watching Eve say, in Yiddish, that she had purchased organic, locally grown popcorn in Union Square. Two minutes later, they sing a traditional Yiddish song about the mamelige (a kind of Jewish polenta) they’re making. They also defer to their grandmothers occasionally when cooking, Rukhl explaining that she measures salt in her hand because that’s what her grandmother did. Later, they come right back to modernity, suggesting to put feta (something I don’t think they had in the shtetl) in the mamelige.
In such a fast paced world where food seems incomplete without truffle oil and Himalayan salt, the down to earth traditionalism of this show is refreshing. Eve’s delight as the popcorn she is making “finds sound” and starts popping is just as entertaining as watching Bobby Flay garnish a plate as seconds count down. In fact, perhaps The Food Network would benefit from some of Eat in Good Health’s style. Though I have a feeling that watching Paula Deen sing a song about butter with a southern twang wouldn’t be quite the same.
The clip above is their second episode, watch their first episode here