American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution
New, Modern, Fresh
These represent some of the newer items in America's Jewish culinary experience. Some of these are new iterations of classical identities while others are simply adoptions of other ethnic cuisines with dietary laws of kashrut. These items represent the changing identity of Jewish food in America.
For many years, Chinese food was understood as the de facto Jewish food, reserved for Christmas and non-Jewish holidays, Jewish celebration-fare, and weekday meals. Without any dairy in Chinese recipes, it was very easy to adapt to a kosher diet. Even though pork played a large role, with chicken, duck, beef, and fish, almost all Chinese dishes could be replicated for a kosher palette. (Most recently, sushi has become the exciting food for Jewish events, as it too can be easily adapted to kosher rules.)
Another popular theme is the renovation of the stale delicatessen, which is perhaps most recognizable in Ann Arbor's own Zingerman's deli. While not a kosher establishment, or even kosher style, Zingerman's has created a name for itself in providing high quality and memorable foods. Much more a gourmet sandwich shop and restaurant than a classic deli, Zingerman's, like Starky's and many other new delis in America, creates good food from this classic Jewish space.
And then there are those that don't quite fit. A wood-fired matzo oven that churns out Italian-inspired Creole cuisine for Passover and a bowl of "sacrilege soup," which is a baconed matzo ball served in a vegetarian broth.