Egyptian as compared to Greek Food Taboos
The Egyptians likewise engage in religious and dietary customs that may at first glance seem foreign to the Greek reader, and it is not insignificant that Herodotus begins his so-called “digression” on Egypt with a story about food.
Dalby notes that Egyptians were especially remarkable to Greeks due to their many food avoidances which often varied from village to village. While not unheard of, Greek peoples’ food avoidances were rarely mentioned in their own texts, which would have made the Egyptians’ seeming pickiness all the more foreign to Greek readers. The Egyptians were known for numerous dietary restrictions, often limited only to the priests; this limit, according to Garnsey, served practically to perform the symbolic function of maintaining the food taboos.
Crucially, the Egyptians are the ones expressing disgust at the practices of the Greeks, not the Greeks at the Egyptians—the Greeks are on the receiving end of moral judgment—they are the ones perverting a foreign (and much older) ritual, not the other way around.
HERODOTUS’ HISTORIES by MOLLY B. HUTT, August 2017
The Prohibition Will Not Prevent Mixed Marriages The original motivation for the prohibition against using wine made or touched by non-Jews was to prevent mixed marriages- "because of their daughters," as the Talmud phrases it. If anything, that problem is more acute in our day than it was in Talmudic times. If I thought for one minute that prohibiting wine made by Gentiles would have the slightest effect on diminishing the number of mixed marriages, I would drop all other concerns and opt for prohibiting it on that basis alone. I frankly doubt, however, that prohibiting wine touched by non-Jews will have any effect whatsoever on eliminating or even mitigating that problem. Other spirits prepared by non-Jews were permitted long ago, and it is precisely at the cocktail party where most initial socializing takes place. Moreover, the real factors creating our high rate of intermarriage have little, if anything, to do with the laws of kashrut in general, let alone the kashrut of wine in particular. Few of those who plan to intermarry keep kosher at all, and those who do will not be prevented from marrying their intended spouses by a prohibition against drinking wine with them. Moreover, as Rabbi Silverman points out, the prohibitions originally instituted against the bread, oil, and cooked foods prepared by non-Jews have been abrogated long ago. If one were keeping these strict measures in order to prevent social intercourse between Jews and Gentiles, then the policy would at least be consistent. Such a policy would be ineffective, however, because Jews in their modern business and social contacts will not, and often cannot, observe such rules. We have enough difficulty convincing them to observe the laws of kashrut! Even if a return to all of the former prohibitions could be effectuated, it would not be desirable. In keeping with our acceptance of the conditions of modernity, we in the Conservative movement would undoubtedly hold that, short of mixed marriage, Jews should have social and business contact with non-Jews. In any case, all of the other prohibitions designed to inhibit social intercourse between Jews and Gentiles have been dropped in the course of history. Maintaining the prohibitions against wine alone will not prevent mixed marriages in the modern context of constant interactions between Jews and non-Jews. One doubts whether standing alone it is even a significant factor.
The Use of All Wines RABBI ELLIOT DORFF
Rav Yisroel Salanter - Your Food is not Kosher
A story is told that Rabbi Yisrael Salanter the 19th century founder of the Ethicist (Mussar) movement once found himself stranded in Kovno for the Sabbath. Everyone wished to invite him, but when he discovered that the local baker had no young mouths to feed at home and so he wouldn't be taking away anyone's portion of food, the great rabbi accepted the bakers invitation. The baker was an observant Jew but hardly a great torah scholar or even a man of great intelligence. He entered his house with a revered luminary, and immediately bellowed: "Yidineh, wife why are the challot not covered? How many times must I remind you?" The woman, immediately recognizing her distinguished guest, had tears in her eyes as she secured the challah cover which had already been prepared. The baker full of self pride then invited Rav Yisrael to sanctify the wine "one moment", said the sage "can you tell me why we cover the challot?" he asked. "Of course revered Rabbi" responded the baker, "every child knows the answer when there are many different foods on the table, the first blessing is always made over the bread after which no other blessing need be made. On Friday night however the first blessing has to be made over the wine therefore, so as not to shame the challah who expects the blessing over her, we must cover her over until after the sanctification of the wine". Rav Yisrael looked at the baker incredulously "why do your ears not hear what your mouth is saying? Do you think that our Jewish tradition does not understand that a piece of dough has no feelings and would never become embarrassed? Understand that our laws are trying to sensitize us to the feelings of human beings, our friends, our neighbors and especially our wives". ["you're food is not kosher" punch line heard by author]
See: Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Mishpatim Exodus 21:1- 24:18 By Shlomo Riskin
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Maimonides serves non-kosher style food
Maimonides was suspected of heresy by the rabbis of Spain. The rabbis of Germany decided to send an emissary to meet him personally and see if the charges were founded (I know!). They sent a Rabbi Meir. Upon arriving, Rabbi Meir was, uh, perplexed at the things he witnessed in the Maimonides household. First, a servant placed food which looked like human hands on the table. Secondly, the Rambam summoned another servant, named Peter, to fetch wine for the guest. Finally, Maimonides ordered that a calf be slaughtered for him in a quite unlawful fashion. Completely shocked at the obviously unkosher food (human hands, wine served by a non-Jew, and unschechted meat) Rabbi Meir managed to mumble excuses and didn't eat. Later Maimonides approached him and asked him his impressions. Not being able to answer for fear of offending his host, but obviously assuming that Maimonides was guilty of preparing the treifest of treif dishes, the Rambam explained. First of all, the human hand was a special kind of vegetable which only looks like it is a human hand. Secondly, his faithful servant Peter is Jewish. Hasn't Rabbi Meir ever heard of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yose ben Patrus? Thirdly, the calf was removed from the womb of a pregnant cow that was slaughtered according to halacha. As you know, the law is that such a calf does not need to be slaughtered according to the method of shechita. Rabbi Meir understood the lesson: do not jump to conclusions about other people without understanding the complete picture. Having learned this great lesson, he returned to Germany and reported that the Rambam is no heretic.
The Hummus Wars
The hummus wars started in 2008 on the Israeli side and took shape in the run for the Guinness World Award for the largest dish of hummus Lebanon first in 2008,which tried to trademark hummus as a Lebanese representative product; however, the legal procedure failed due to the impossibility of proving it being exclusively Lebanese (Ariel, 2012,
pp. 34 42). The following action took place in 2009 when Lebanon succeeded in producing a larger quantity and obtaining the world record. The competition over the world record for the largest serving of hummus is clearly a national matter and has been understood as an extension of political conflict by participants and observers (Avieli, 2016, p. 21).
this "culinary symbol is therefore multivocal and evokes both an endorsing self-perception of Israeli Jews and the memory of the displaced Palestinians and their 1948 ruin"
Food, or more precisely food culture, builds and sustains a particular relationship between the individual and the nation. By food culture, of national brands and images, which signify and provide evidence of national qualities, is also behind the rise of what The Economist gastroconstruction and reproduction of national food brands and images by the nation-state for political, diplomatic and commercial reasons.
at times inventing a common food culture is a useful method through which national entrepreneurs and movements try to bring different groups of people (divided by ethnicity, religion, geography or class) together; this process is made easier if it taps into existing or imagined shared food practices and traditions (Ichijo Atsuko & Ronald, 2016, p.11).
"consuming the nation", which can be understood by the expression of nationhood and belonging to the nation through daily consumption habits. Looking into these ... areas would provide insight as to how the nation is produced and reproduced by ordinary people and hence can address nationalism "from below" (Fox & Miller-Idriss, 2008, p. 573).
that food culture is not static because, through their food choices, people decide whether to observe particular food
traditions, rules or cultures, reproduce them, reinvent them, discontinue them, or invent and construct new ones. As underlined by Bell and Valentine, the history and evolution of the nation's diet is also (Bell & Valentine, 1997, pp. 168 169). Eating is an act pregnant with implications for group identity at any level, from family or social group to the nation. What and with whom one eats, or does not eat, conveys an array of messages about class, ethnicity, lifestyle, and religion (Ariel, 2012, p. 36).
Recipes are, first and foremost, a discursive product that identifies, describes and gives meaning to a dish. Likewise recipes and/or food preparation are fundamental markers of identity. Moreover, the function of food as an indicator of "us" and "them" appears to be almost universal and eternal.
But, although the data clearly shows that Hummus is part of Arabic culture and this is well accepted by international communities, it is marketed as an Israeli national brand and as Israeli food culture in today's international food market. One of the reasons for this, as expressed by the reviewers, is because the recipe of Hummus was remodified with new technologies according to the need of modern society in today's world.
An ordinary grocery store in Jerusalem, where "authentic" Arab Hummus ranges can be found, shows us clearly that
the food industry in Israel is in progression on the mass-production of this food. As stated by Ichijo and Ranta, another reason for the authentic Arab Hummus to be marked as Jewish-Israeli is to increase its perceived quality when it's exported to the USA (Ichijo Atsuko & Ronald, 2018, p. 167).
According to Benvenisti, the first Zionists settlers wanted to resemble the local Arab-Palestinian peasants, including drinking and eating like them to replace the Arab-Palestinians through the appropriation of their local customs (Benvenisti, 2000, p. 173). Obviously, these acts were justified on many occaisons as another 'return': this time not only to the land but to the historical and biblical Jewish customs that the Arabs had 'preserved'. The defenders of hummus as a part of Jewish
food culture show the Ancient Testament as proof of the primordial character of this food. Indeed, the biblical "hamits" or "himtsa" mean chickpeas but the passage in Isaiah 30:24 states that 'The Oxen likewise and the young donkeys that work the ground shall eat salted provender" meant the animals got a portion of chickpeas paste made with tahini, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil. Ranta and Mendel doubt that this passage most likely refers to a blend of raw or fermented chickpeas used as animal fodder (Ranta & Mendel, 2014).
One fundamental characteristic of the Israeli diet is the compliance of Jewish people to dietary laws. Agricultural work and
life were expected to spiritually and physically liberate Jews on route to bcoming 'new' Jews. The 'new' Jew was to be strong in body and spirit, live in the rural environment, have an 'active lifestyle' and be 'physically uninhibitted' (Almog, 2000 pp. 78-80). In terms of food consumption, the construction of the 'new' Jews also necessitated the creation of a new Jewish diet. The new diet would, on the one hand, highlight the rejection of diaspora values and norms, while, on the other hand, it would connect the settlers to their 'new-old' land and physically transform them. According to this, with the purpose of
unifying the traditions and promoting the Zionist project, the campaign for "Tazeret Haaretz", the products of the land, was launched in the '20s and called on for the purchase of locally produced food by Jewish labour.
According to Claudia Roden, many of the early settlers were 'happy to abandon the "Yiddish" foods of Russia and Poland as a revolt against a past identity and an old life ... and foods that represented exile (Roden, 2011, p. 175). That's why the inspiration for many of the new dishes and food ingredients came from imitating and adapting elements from the local Arab-Palestinian food culture. However, as time passed and relations between the two national communities deteriorated, imitation of Arab-Palestinian food gave way to appropriation and nationalization. In Zionist discourse, the role and importance of Arab-Palestinian food were marginalized and 'forgotten' (Mendel and ranta, 2014). Because , as express by Ranta, an important element of the hummus dispute is the current trend towards a romanticisation, re-Arabization and de-Arabization of Israeli culinary identity, in the sense that a broader recognition of the Arab origins of some of the main dishes in the Israeli diet are being given their original and biblical roots (Ranta & Mendel, 2014).
As a shared food item, hummus has also been represented as a symbol of coexistence, even in the context of this competition. In other words, it is its ubiquity in Israel that makes falafel a contentious food item. Likewise, it is the Israeli-ness of hummus, along with its marketability, that has provoked the objection to the very idea of Israeli hummus. Culinary culture, then, is not a question of heritage or tradition, but rather of performance and practice. Hummus is Israeli
because Israelis eat hummus (Ranta & Mendel, 2014).