Have Klezmer, will Kugel - Three recipes for Passover


Photo by Robyn Lee — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

As an homage to this week’s festival pick, The Jewish Music Festival, we’ll be looking at three traditional delicacies that are as steeped in tradition as they are in calories. Bialys, strudel, and latkes are the celebrated darlings at the Annual Jewish Craft & Food Faire in Carmel, California, but they’re also edible mainstays at many (and most) Jewish celebrations.

The much-loved bialy, (short for the Yiddish word bialystoker), is a chewy yeast roll that is baked, but never boiled, with a stuffed center of diced onions, garlic, bread crumbs or poppy seeds. Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants introduced the bialy in the 19th and 20th centuries, though history credits the businessman Harry Cohen with the bialy’s debut in NY. This Brooklyn Bialy recipe will take you three and a half hours, and win you three hundred friends.

Next up is the strudel, a stuffed and layered dessert with origins in the Byzantine Empire and fervent admirers in the Israeli culture since the 1920’s. Two tasty facts about the strudel: in Middle High German, the word means “whirlpool” or “eddy”, and the symbol @ represents a strudel in text-messaged Hebrew. The earliest surviving strudel recipe was handwritten in 1696, but if you can’t make it to the Viennese City Library where it now resides, here’s a great one from “That Hungarian’s In My Kitchen” by Linda Radke.

Latkes (or potato pancakes for the uninitiated) are scrumptious staples of Czech, Ukrainian, Yiddish, German, Korean, Russian and Swedish cuisine, but they play an especially important role in the Hanukkah tradition. The oil used to cook the latkes is symbolic of the miraculous oil that fed the flame in the Second Temple of Israel in the Hanukkah story. Whether you like your latke with applesauce, lingonberry jam, powdered sugar, or with nothing but a smile, here’s a simple latke recipe from the James Beard award-winning author, Claudia Roden.

Find out more about the The Jewish Music Festival in California and visit other Jewish festivals here.

- Courtney Maum

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