Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amazingly Treif "Jewish" Food

What is Jewish food? Is it cholent? Bagels and lox? Matzah balls? I've come to realize that these might be foods that Jews like to eat, but that doesn't make them Jewish. What's Jewish food? Any food that's sanctioned by God for Jews to eat - i.e. food that's kosher. Everything else? Jewish style.
I came to this realization after reading an NPR article about a new L.A. restaurant which specializes in covering traditional Jewish foods with bacon. That's right - bacon.
The article begins by telling us,
At his restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, Top Chef Ilan Hall is wrapping a piece of bacon around a traditional matzo ball.
Great. Really. I must say that I'm not altogether shocked - not even surprised. But that's what Jewish food has become - another ethnic niche food for chefs (Jewish ones too) to fuse with other foods, regardless of the kashrut implications.
If you take the six minutes to listen to the audio, you'll also note that Ilan's grandfather, in Israel, although working as a kosher butcher by profession, took the time and energy to illegally import pork products through Lebanon for his own personal consumption. Lovely.
I guess the apple (or pork braised applesauce and latkes) really don't fall that far from the tree.