The Affects of a Culture on Local Cuisine

Recently I was reading a journalistic paper for an assignment at college, and stumbled upon how this works in Israel. The article was about how the effects of local culture on the local cuisine. So what is Israeli cuisine? How does the culture affect the food and wine in Israel?

So to answer these questions we need to take a look back at what has happened in this country before it became a state. The state has been around for 67 years, and it has been ruled by so many regimes before we won it back. That is when it all started for the Jewish nation in Israel. Thousands of immigrants came off the boats from countries like: Poland, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, France, Italy, Iraq, Iran, Germany and many more. This is when we started creating an identity for the new state. All at once everyone brought the tastes they love from their countries to here.

so 67 years later, has all this defined what Israeli cuisine is today? In my opinion, no. We are still a young state trying to find its identity so there is no real Israeli cuisine. But, there are all of those dishes that really represents what every immigrant that moved here has brought with them and basically has created a fusion of foods that everyone in the this country eats. Whether it’s Ashkenazi Jews eating Sfardic food and Sfardi Jews eating Italian cuisine. Things like Cholent or Chamin, same dish different interpretation. Same for a big doughy ball in your soup whether it’s Kibbeh or Kneidels. Different types of stuffed vegetables, is another great example. Sadly what is called Israeli Salad is really an Arab salad and Israeli couscous is really little balls of pasta.

So what are those dishes that I’m referring to?

  • Kibbeh, Matbucha, Felafel, Tehini- All over the Middle East
  • Shakshukah, Chraimeh-  Tunisia
  • Hummus, Tabooleh-  Lebanon
  • Shwarma, Bourekas- Turkey
  • Croissants- France
  • Couscous, Tajine- Morooco
  • Kneidelach, Kugel, Deli meat, Goulash-Eastern Europe
  • Schug, Jachnun- Yemen
  • Sabich, Sambusak, Kebab-Iraq
  • Pasta, Pizza, Bolognese, Meatballs- Italy
  • Feta- Greece
  • Yellow rice- Iran
  • Hamburgers- USA

All of these things have become part of the mainstream cuisine in Israel, and I feel that we can all agree that all of these dishes and food items is what affects the local cuisine in Israel. By mixing and combining and interpretation of all of these great foods is what really makes up a great foundation that will one day be defined as Israeli cuisine.


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