Food and Culture-Torah High’s newest Course is whipping Up Interest

Torah high's food & culture class is whipping up interest

By Miriam Perl

Of all of Torah High’s newest courses that has been rolled out this 2019/20 year, Food and Culture is the one that teens can’t seem to get enough of. With two full classes and a waiting list for a third class, teens are clamoring to take the course that features gastronomic and culinary delights. The teens will not only prepare different dishes, they will learn about the world’s cultures, modes of etiquette, and beliefs as they relate to food.

Here are 5 highlights of Torah High’s Food and Culture class:


Yes, Foodstagram is a real thing! It’s that craze on Instagram that involves taking beautiful pictures of food as art. It’s a reflection of the Instagrammers creativity and soul. It involves the perfect plating and knowing how to manipulate light and shadows to make the picture drool-worthy.

Students at Torah High will learn the art of plating and take a step back to consider what Foodstagramming really means. Has this focus on Foodstagramming made teens more aware of what they should be eating and putting in their bodies? It appears that it has!

Medicinal Food

Alternative medicine has focused on the power of foods for some time now. But there is one Jewish physician who lived in the 12th century, whose prescriptions are still practiced today. His name? Maimonides, a renowned Jewish medieval philosopher, astronomer, and health practitioner.

At Torah High, students will go back in time to learn about how this Jewish sage influenced his contemporaries in Egypt and Spain about what was considered healthy regarding what to eat, what to drink, and when. Not only did Maimonides revolutionize the culture around health during his own time, doctors today are still basing their advice, albeit unknowingly, on what Maimonides prescribed.

Food and Culture will also look at the ancient herbalism of Egypt, China, Rome, and Europe to learn about what these ancient cultures believed was most salubrious for your wellbeing. Did you know that onions and garlic were considered healthy by the Egyptians?

food in the torah

Food and Culture will be focusing on those interesting vignettes in the Torah where food played a central role. Torah High students will try to recreate Jacob and Esau’s lentil soup and bake two challahs to recall the double portion of manna that fell in the desert. Students will also learn about the mitzvah of removing a small clump of challah dough—a mitzvah called Hafrashat Challah—which derives from the Torah injunction to give a tithe of what you own to the poor.

"And Hashem spoke to Moshe to say: Speak to Bnei Yisrael and you shall say to them upon your coming into the Land that I am bringing you there. And it shall be in your eating from the bread of the Land you shall tithe a tithing to Hashem. The first of your loaf a portion tithe a tithing as the tithing of the silo so shall you tithe it. From the first of your loaves you shall give a portion to Hashem for your generations (Bamidbar 15:17-21)."

There are many such stories in the Torah that revolve around food. The class will not only explore the culinary aspects of foods in the Torah; they will gain a glimpse of the Torah’s wisdom.

Hummus Wars:
Is Hummus Lebanese or Israeli?

If only the world’s wars always revolved around food! Apparently there is an ongoing dispute as to who can claim to be the true originators of this delicious chickpea dish. Apparently, Israel’s perceived appropriation of the dish and the marketing of it in the west as an Israeli cuisine caused the president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists to sue Israel for breaking food-copyright laws. While the president failed to win the case, Lebanon decided that it would win the Guinness Book of World Records by making the biggest plate of chickpeas ever!

Torah High students will learn about the history of hummus and whip up a few versions to delight their palates.

Cultural Supermarkets

Torah High students will visit Nations Fresh Foods, the largest cultural supermarket in Toronto, where they will peruse the aisles and take in the colourful, fragrant cornucopia of international foods and cuisines from around the world. The supermarket will serve as a portal to the world’s many cultures through the thousands of foods of every type on display.

Food and Culture is just one of the many incredible courses offered at Torah High. Click here to discover all our courses for the 2019/2020 year.