I think that most people would agree that besides perhaps the Chinese and the South American cultures, the Jewish culture has the most ancient recipes and practices regarding food. The Jewish people trace their roots all the way back to Abraham and ancient Egypt. Their dietary practices and feasts are some of the most ancient recorded and continually practiced by a single people in all of history. Their rich history of culinary traditions and practices is fascinating!
What are these biblical feasts that the ancient Israelites practiced? There are many on the Jewish calendar some of which were created by God and some of which are national holidays for the Jewish people. Each has its own culinary practices and feast or holiday treats. Here is a quick guide on the Jewish holidays and their most popular treats!
Purim – Hamantaschen are the most popular treat at Purim. They are triangular cookies with a traditional filling of poppy seed or prune. One theory is that the cookies are triangular in shape to represent the triangle hat that Haman, the enemy of the Jews, wore.
Shavuot – The Jewish people celebrate the giving of their Torah at Mount Sinai on this holiday often celebrated in May. All kinds of dairy products are enjoyed from cheesecake to blintzes to yogurt and ice cream.
Sukkot – This holiday, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is full of delicious dishes. It is the one holiday that does not have a specific dish. Since it is a fall holiday though, lots of soups and other warm dishes are often eaten.
Hanukkah – To celebrate the miracle of the oil lasting eight days instead of one, all types of fried foods are eaten. The most popular are of course, latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot.