May 30, 2014

FOOD: Everything New Is Old Again.

Artisanal gefilte fish. Slow-fermented bagels. Organic chopped liver. Sustainable schmaltz.

These aren’t punch lines to a fresh crop of Jewish jokes. They are real foods that recently arrived on New York City’s food scene. And they are proof of a sudden and strong movement among young cooks, mostly Jewish-Americans, to embrace and redeem the foods of their forebears. That’s why, at this moment in 21st-century New York, the cutting edge of cuisine is the beet-heavy, cabbage-friendly, herring-loving diet of 19th-century Jews in Eastern Europe.

“It turns out that our ancestors knew what they were doing,” said Jeffrey Yoskowitz, an owner of Gefilteria, a company that makes unorthodox versions of gefilte fish and is branching out into slow-brined pickles and strudel. “The recipes and techniques are almost gone, and we have to capture the knowledge before it’s lost.”

Forward, into the past!