Israeli cuisine – dissecting our national dishes

The future of Israeli food is boundless and full of excitement.

By RACHEL MYERSON
January 18, 2018 09:12
4 minute read.
Ptitim, often known as ‘Ben-Gurion rice'

Ptitim, often known as ‘Ben-Gurion rice'. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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With appreciation for Israeli cuisine spanning far beyond the Middle East, I decided to take a look at its secrets to success. I found that the magic of the food cooked up in the Holy Land lies in its complexity. Essentially, it comes down to three main “layers” of influence and contribution that are particularly evident because of how young Israel is: first, the food brought by Jewish immigrants from all over the world, secondly, the food that was already eaten in the Middle East pre-1948, and finally, how Israeli agriculture and culture have birthed a world-renowned native cuisine. 

In this article we will be focusing on the third layer, dissecting modern Israeli dishes to understand how they came to be and where they may lead us. Our “case studies” will be Israeli breakfast ptitim and Eyal Shani’s roasted cauliflower. 

Israeli breakfast

The Israeli breakfast began as a humble meal to feed kibbutz members who began work early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. After a couple of hours of work, at mid-morning, they would gather to eat a fresh, filling brunch (for all intents and purposes) in the communal dining hall. The meal has since become known as the Israeli breakfast. 

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