New Course at Torah High: How Food and Culture Shape the Jewish Experience
When it comes to Jewish tradition, food usually plays a central role. We’ve all heard the joke about the meaning of the Jewish holidays: “They tried to kill us, they didn’t, let’s eat!”
What lies behind that lame joke is a truth that we cannot deny: Jewish food is something that is completely intertwined with Jewish culture. In an age where many Gen Zers report not being sure how to boil an egg, learning some necessary kitchen skills won’t hurt.
Most of us grow up eating the food associated with our own culture. It becomes a part of who we are as we develop emotional associations with our favourite foods; most of the time, however, we do not go beyond our taste buds to explore its origins. The truth is, when it comes to foods of any cuisine, they usually reflect some underlying meaning.
In the Food and Culture course at Torah High, students will take a look at how the food of our Jewish culture has been influenced from the cuisines from around the world. Sephardic Jews adopted much of the Middle Eastern culture that surrounded them, using new spices and giving twists to classic Jewish dishes like gefilte fish and cholent.
Israelis have created their own fusion cuisine, taking inspiration from the Tunisian, Lebanese, Arabic, and Greek cultures surrounding them.
Ashkenazi Jews have a much more concrete set of cuisines, originating from the shtetl and moving out into the cities of Eastern Europe.
Because of the way the Jewish people have spread out over history, defining Jewish food can be almost impossible. That is why Torah High’s Food and Culture course focuses not only on the food itself, but how the food reflects our particular history. In the same vein, other cultures reflect their own histories, ethos, and norms.
Students will learn to cook with ingredients from around the world and explore the different ways in which cultures consume and prepare their foods, and the rituals surrounding them, which often reveal interesting insights and meaning. For example, students learn why Middle Eastern and Indian cultures eat with their hands, and why that plays an integral role in the kinds of food that they eat. Students also have the opportunity to delve into the origins of diverse food traditions from around the world, including the food that we enjoy here in Canada.
By exploring food, from its ingredients to its underlying sociological truths, Torah High students will gain a deeper understanding of the cultures of the world.
Food and Culture is one of the most popular courses that we offer at Torah High. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity for your kids to learn practical skills and have fun while doing it!