The Sephardic Roots of Israeli Cuisine
You simply can’t understand Israeli cuisine without understanding Sephardic cooking.
Sephardic Jews kept their recipes alive through the dark centuries of the Inquisition, passing down a rich culinary tradition that combines Spanish, Arabic and Mediterranean influences. Those recipes and ingredients are deeply woven into the cuisine in Israel, a country where about half of the Jewish population is of Sephardic or Mizrachi ancestry.
Join Hélène Jawhara Piñer as she cooks dishes featured in her critically acclaimed 2021 cookbook, “Sephardi: Cooking the History. Recipes of the Jews of Spain and the Diaspora, from the 13th Century to Today” and speaks with the Forward National and Food Editor, Rob Eshman. Learn to recreate the magic of adefina, the Sephardic Shabbat stew (like cholent, but with flavor!), and nebulas encanonadas, leafy fried pastry wrapped around almonds and honey. Through these dishes, Piñer will illuminate the remarkable journey of Sephardic Jews.
Hélène Jawhara Piñer holds a doctoral degree in Medieval History and the History of Food from the University of Tours, France. In 2018, she was awarded the Broome & Allen Fellowship of the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) for outstanding academic accomplishments and services to the Sephardic community, and for encouraging continued excellence in the field of Sephardi studies. She is a research associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance (CESR) and of the Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages (CoReMa) research program in Tours, France. Dr. Jawhara Piñer’s main research interest is the medieval culinary history of Spain through inter- and multiculturalism, with a special focus on the Jewish culinary heritage in Arabic.
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