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Israeli food culture

Insights into various aspects of the local food scene.

family-portrait-with-food

What we spend on food in a month

How much does the average family spend on groceries in Israel? It depends who you ask, but figures seem to vary widely. The question was recently raised on several online forums. Some people claimed their families couldn’t get grocery expenses under NIS 3,000 or NIS 4,000, while others said they …

cooking-lahoh

Making lahoh like a professional Yemenite baker

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this is the most difficult recipe I’ve ever written about. I have tested it literally 50 times over the course of three years, and my family has eaten hundreds of mediocre flatbreads as I attempted to crack the secret to perfect, bubbly lahoh …

green-rice-in-bowls

Green rice with chickpeas

Like many people I like to shop in bulk, which means that once so often I find myself lugging my toddler’s weight in rice home from Levinsky market. Sure, I could be buying rice around the corner from my house in the convenient air conditioning of Eden Teva Market — …

edible-dead-sea-salt

Eating salt from the Dead Sea

Many, many years ago, after buying Himalayan salt or Atlantic sea salt or something of the type, I wondered aloud whether you could buy salt harvested from our very own Dead Sea. Why import when you have a product that is local and plentiful, and hopefully high quality, too? My …

red-and-white-tahini2

A tale of two tahini mills

After a few wrong turns that led us up and down the bleached stone staircases of Jerusalem’s Old City, we’d found ourselves standing outside what looked like a small convenience store. There were no other storefronts in the immediate vicinity. The nutty smell of sesame was everywhere. But where was …

okra

Caramelized okra with tahini mashed potatoes

If you’re going to eat okra, you’ll be eating it stewed in a tomato sauce. For some reason that dictate is observed as if it were religiously mandated. Why is that? It tastes good, of course. But right now is okra season, these itty bitty green nibs are being sold …

roasted-eggplant

Smoked eggplant with sheep’s cheese and radish sprouts

Once so often you encounter a dish that’s really stellar and memorable. This eggplant was one such dish. The setting: A stormy winter night at a seaside restaurant. Low lighting. Dark decor with black leather chairs. An eye-level view of the raging Mediterranean sea, waves the height of a small …

Ramle-vegetable-seller

Eating lunch at Israel’s markets

To market, to market. It’s been a busy few months, and not because we’ve been up to anything in particular — mostly just due to life. Raising a toddler, working, toddler, work, and then the day is over. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking — cooking has become even …

potato-kubbot

Potato kubbeh with mushroom filling, and a tempest in a semolina shell

Kubbeh got a brief blast of attention when a pop-up kubbeh restaurant briefly appeared in New York City last month. Reading about it from afar, I was pleased that kubbeh was getting some much-deserved focus — kubbeh is quite popular in Israel, but nearly entirely unknown in the United States. …

prasa

Prasa (leek) patties for Passover

Leek dumplings are a traditional Passover food for many people of Turkish and Balkan descent, my family included, though I couldn’t tell you what makes this specifically Passover food. To be honest, it’s not really a dish that my family makes anymore — at this point, the koftes de prasa …