Food Glorious Food: I have an idea – but I need your help:

Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2010 02:48 Written by bryfy Friday, 12 February 2010 02:42

I just finished watching Jamie Oliver, the world renowned British chef – and I am inspired. His presentation on healthy eating is something that every educator, parent, grandparent and anyone else who feeds our children, should watch (and it wouldn’t hurt the younger generation to watch it either)

It got me thinking about the obligatory Jewish cooking classes that many Jewish supplementary high school programs offer – and why not?

They’re popular, relatively simple to plan, and you slip in the Jewish content piece without the kids even realize that they’re learning.

But here’s where Oliver challenges us. The real strength of Jewish education in the future – especially for our teenagers – will be offering quality programming, that competes with the many other choices they have, and us seen as adding real value to their lives. If it happens in a Jewish setting, with Jewish friends – that are the bonuses that we know Jewish socialization has to offer.

So here’s the challenge. Let’s design a Healthy Jewish Cooking curriculum. Chopped liver, challah, matzah balls, honey cake all have their cultural importance only matched by their caloric significance. But now is our chance to create a healthy lifestyle that is also Jewishly rich – how much more value added could one ask for?

So let’s hear from you – Please post for us all in the comments below: what are your favorite healthy Jewish recipes? Maybe even add a few sentences about the Jewish significance of your recipe. Let’s see if we can put together a cook book, and perhaps even a curriculum, that leverages the power of the blogosphere.

Together we can create a program with rich Jewish significance that a generation of health conscious youth will value because it’s adds to the quality of their lives – and what could be better – their lives will be improved in a Jewish context and in a very Jewish way.

So please, post away…


  1. Deborah Harris   |  Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Unfortunately, favorite healthy Jewish recipes sounds a little like favorite Jewish athlete. I mean… it’s just not a large list from which to choose.

    Perhaps we need to work on developing those recipes as well. I could see taking favorite recipes and working to develop healthy versions. Depending on the ages of the kids, that’s something they could work on. They could learn about substitutions, how to cut calories and boost health benefits, and then apply those changes to Jewish cuisine.

  2. Iris Koller   |  Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 7:09 pm

    With all respect Deborah, I make many Jewish recipes and they are all healthy. Part of that is looking to the cooking of our Mediterranean/Sephardi past and then , as you say about, it is about thinking “healthy lifestyle” and adapting foods to work. No one complained (before I became a vegetarian) that my “brisket” wasn’t good when I made it from lean london broil type cuts instead of the fattier brisket cuts. The only complaints came from it being gone far too quickly!

    David – even the idea of thinking about foods that bring good health is Jewish. We start each day being grateful that our bodies work. Being healthy is very much a “Jewish thing.” Happy to share mroe thoughts and recipes anytime.

  3. Russel Neiss   |  Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 8:26 pm

    The concept of ‘Jewish food’ is somewhat of a misnomer, considering all that Jews have ever done is take the culinary traditions from around them. Geflilte Fish was a polish delicacy. Falafel and humous were also appropriated. The book ‘Matzoh Ball Gumbo’ shows how a whole generation of Southern Jews appropriated and recast southern soul foods…

    But that being said — my recipe choice is below….

    Borscht: Low carb — Fat Free and has the added benefits of having nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer ( …. it’s Jewish, and gives you the added benefit of being able to discuss the ‘Borscht Belt’ and Jewish American culture of the 20th century. And most importantly — it’s so easy that I can’t even mess it up…. There are countless variations — I got hooked on the Lithuanian variation when I was studying there — it has the added benefit of being hot pink but uses either kefir or buttermilk so it’s milkhig and a little more fattening than the ‘standard’ Jewish borscht ( but so much more delicious.

  4. Shira   |  Sunday, 14 February 2010 at 7:20 pm

    David- This is a great article about an issue that more in the Jewish community should take note of and begin discussing! I love cooking and try to come up with new recipes that offer healthier alternatives to traditional Jewish dishes without sacrificing taste and the love that goes into making them! It’s definitely a hard thing to do, as someone noted above! I recently made a successful updated version of kasha varnishkes, which is on my food blog, . Middle eastern dishes are certainly easier and oftentimes healthier to make, but there’s always room for further experimentation with Ashkenazic cuisine!

  5. Stu Botwinick   |  Monday, 15 February 2010 at 2:47 pm

    The concept of using food to engage Jewish teens is an interesting idea. More than just the “obligatory” class, you could create a full-blown curriculum. From gleaning to cooking for the hungry, from healthy eating/body image education to Jewish kitchen science, you can teach many important Jewish values and ethics into a semester or year-long program. Working with Hazon, last year I wrote a program proposal using their Min Ha’aretz curriculum as a guide. The program uses contemporary food issues and the connection between food and Jewish tradition as a platform for a variety of service learning, hands-on experiences and informal and formal Jewish education.

  6. The Jew and the Carrot » Blog Archive » (New) Jewish Cooking Classes? - Voice of the New Jewish Food Movement   |  Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 6:06 pm

    […] read David’s post and share your own healthy, traditionally Jewish recipes at his blog. Click here to read more.  Print This […]

  7. Lev Metz   |  Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I managed to teach a dozen high school students in Confirmation class how to make my family recipe chicken soup (how’s that for Ashkenazi healthiness?). Not only did the kids love it, but it gave us the opportunity to discuss fresh/organic produce and meat as well as the mitzvah of bikkur cholim – visiting the sick. Keep at it!

  8. Meredith Lewis   |  Wednesday, 17 February 2010 at 2:17 pm

    At, the number of users interested in food content has grown at an astonishing rate. While we used to have recipes on our site as part of our mission to cover “all things” Jewish, we now put serious time, effort, and money into bringing high-quality Jewish food content to our readers. And they keep responding.

  9. bryfy   |  Wednesday, 17 February 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Looks like this food thing is really taking off:

    Birthright Group and Food

    Healthy Food at Summer Camp

    And of course don’t forget The Jew and the Carrot Blog

  10. Rachel Ring   |  Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Hi. I am putting together a Jewish cooking class for our Hebrew Chai School. Does anyone have a curriculum that I can look at or borrow from? What has worked? What hasn’t?

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