Sunday, October 28, 2012

White Bread

Here in Israel, it's all, "where does your family come from?"

And by that, they do not mean, where are you from. They don't even mean, where are your parents from. They mean, way back when, where did your roots take place? Where did your family reside till they were kicked out?

Sephardic, Temani (Yeminite), Ashkenazi, Ethiopian and beyond, you can find it all in Israel. I am not even going to attempt to explain the stereotypes, except that much of the time I feel like American wonder bread walking around. Sliced bread is an ingenious invention but in Israel, pita rocks the landscape. A few months ago, I went into a shwarma place and the vender laughed at me when I ordered my shwarma spicy, incredulously asking if I was quite sure I wanted spicy sauce and exclaiming, "but you are Ashkenazic!" (typical). Yes, I was sure, though I guess being blond doesn't help.

In any event, between the shwarma and the chummus and the jachnun and the roasted eggplant with sesame sauce, Sephardic and Temani food dominate. Don't get me wrong, the food is delicious. In general, I even prefer Sephardic-style cuisine. But sometimes I do miss cholent and kreplach and sour dill pickles and Dr. Brown's black cherry soda. I miss warm pastrami sandwhiches. But if there is anything I've learned about living in Israel, if you seek so shall you find.

Here, there is always tons of delicious food everywhere you turn... and no time of the week is there more food consumed than on Shabbat. Little by little, I have begun to discover the shabbat take out menus, the fancy restaurant and tunisian cafe in Baka, Abu Rami in Talpiot, and more.

And so, last week in a desperate search for my grandmother's chicken soup, I found an Ashkenazi take out place. I've been back twice and couldn't be happier, though I do feel a bit like a stereotype, like an American eating in a McDonald's in the middle of Paris or Florence. But, alas, what do I know? I've done that, too.

Heimeshe's Ashkenazi Delight, Karen Kayemit, Rehavia

Tunisian Food from a Cafe on Derech Beit Lechem, Baka

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