In which I am immersed in Russian music but would have preferred herring

March 31, 2011 / Comments Off on In which I am immersed in Russian music but would have preferred herring
Jars of herring in the fridge

I was at a wedding this past weekend. Both parties are Russian Jews, who left shortly after communism collapsed, and both have maintained a strong Russian (/Soviet) Jewish identity. Unfortunately, this did not translate into a dinner of herring and pickled tongue, but rather, into an evening of almost exclusively Russian music – actually more…

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Blah, blah, authenticity, blah, blah, shtetl

November 25, 2010 /
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Food poverty and authenticity - woman on a bike in a modern-day shtetl in Ukraine

Things recently noted on the food front, all courtesy of the New York Times… (The short version, if you don’t want to scroll down – we have issues around food poverty and authenticity.) Exhibit A GROWING up in Montreal, Noah Bernamoff had an issue with his mother’s kasha varnishkes. “My mom’s had so much kasha…

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Sometimes, a chocolate bar is just a chocolate bar

August 20, 2010 / Comments Off on Sometimes, a chocolate bar is just a chocolate bar
Hersheys label for anti-artisan chocolate bar

(Warning: The following rant has not been brought to you by sustainable, artisan chocolate or fair-trade coffee. In fact, it’s been sitting around on ye old to-do list for coming on three weeks now. I guess we can call it a well-aged rant.) In short, can we please, please stop trying to find meaning in…

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Edible authenticity puts class politics on the plate

April 21, 2010 /
Authentic cuisine: Jewish Artichoke alla giudia in Rome

Just who does “authentic” cuisine serve? Anya von Bremzen, writing in the April issue of Saveur, isn’t so sure. I don’t normally buy food magazines for the articles on Italian food, but the April Saveur has a piece on Roman food, “Eternal Pleasures“, by von Bremzen, who also wrote one of my favourite cookbooks, Please…

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Roman Vishniac’s photography: The impoverished life that wasn’t quite

April 5, 2010 /
Roman Vishniac Exhibit at Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam; photo by the Persian-Dutch Network

A few years ago, I was at a lecture on Jewish immigration where someone asked why Soviet/Russian Jewish immigrants were so smug about their academic credentials. The response? Academics was just about the only thing they had to feel good about, since, as a group, Russian-Jews were not well accepted by the established Jewish community.…

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