JR_website_Israeli_cuisineRosh Hashanah is all about looking back at one’s achievement in the previous year and looking forward to a fruitful and sweet New Year.

The 4th of July at Manchester Reform Synagogue was marked by another Food For Thought Event, this time at the Altrincham home of Claire and Simon focusing on Rosh Hashanah and Israeli Cuisine. There was lots of different fruits, as well as honey and honey cake (Teiglach) to sample at another very well attended event. Typically for Rosh Hashanah, the challah is usually round, often studded with raisins and drizzled with honey, and other symbolic fruits and vegetables are eaten as an entree, such as pomegranates, carrots, leeks and beets.

We also discussed what the essence of Israeli food was – a little more of a difficult concept. Israel’s culinary traditions comprise foods and cooking methods that span three thousand years of history. Over the years, these foods have been shaped by influences from Asia, Africa and Europe, and religious and ethnic influences have resulted in a culinary melting pot. Geography has a large influence on Israel cuisine, and foods common in the Mediteranean region, such as olives, wheat, chickpeas, dairy products, fish, and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, and zucchini are prominent in Israeli cuisine. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful in Israel and are cooked and served in many ways. Foods such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous and Za’atar have become synonymous with Israeli cuisine. The diet, based on locally grown produce, was enhanced by imported spices, readily available due to the country’s position at the crossroads of east-west trade routes.