East meets west in Ora’s Yemenite chicken soup

Guest post by Ora Shalom-Berger, along with her husband Haim. For me, like for most people, just the thought of certain foods immediately conjures up warm memories of my childhood, evoking all kinds of positive associations. While growing up in a Yemenite family in Israel – to which my parents had immigrated from Yemen in…

In Search of Israeli Cuisine

If you live in Toronto, like I do, and you’re interested in Israeli food, like I am, you’ll probably want to see the acclaimed documentary film In Search of Israeli Cuisine at a special screening on March 19 at Beth Tikvah Synagogue. Michael Solomonov, renowned Israeli-born chef and co-owner of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia, serves…

Israeli Food Part of New Exhibit on Toronto’s Jewish Restaurants

A new exhibition on Jewish eateries in Toronto, past and present, illustrates the growing importance of Israeli-style food in the city’s restaurant scene. Little surprise given how the Israeli-Canadian community has expanded over the past decade in Toronto which today is home to some 65,000 expatriate Israelis. Now on view at the Reuben & Helene…

In the Mix: Sabich Packs a Pita with a Winning Combo

Sabich, the name of a distinctly Israeli dish, is one of those foreign words whose origin is uncertain and doesn’t convert well when transcribed in English. If mispronounced, its second syllable can cause offense as a derogatory term for a woman. Galya both pronounces and makes sabich like a pro and comes to it honestly…

Galya’s Culinary Treats for Rosh Hashanah Dinners

True to form, in celebration of the Jewish New Year, Galya prepared a wonderful Israeli-style Rosh Hashanah dinner for family and friends on the two successive evenings of the holiday.  Predictably, it was a feast for the palate and a treat for the eyes, adding to the festive atmosphere as we ushered in the year…

Happy Apples for a Sweet New Year

Apples have long had a hallowed place in Jewish tradition, most festively during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) when people dip them in honey to symbolize the sweet year they hope is ahead. In Israel and Jewish homes around the world, apples are an inseparable part of this holiday which begins later this week….

Olive Oil: Nature’s Divine Liquid

Until I met Galya and was introduced to her extraordinary Israeli cooking in 1985, I had little idea of just how important olive oil can be in making good food. Since then, I’ve marvelled at how often Galya uses this ancient Mediterranean ingredient to enhance her culinary creations. Like many Israelis, she uses it in…

A Montreal Perspective on Jewish and Israeli Food

While Israeli food may be the primary focus of Galya’s culinary passion, its cousin – Jewish food – has long fascinated her. Last week, she explored its development in Montreal, taking part in a wonderful walking tour called Beyond The Bagel. Launched in 2015 by the Museum of Jewish Montreal (MJM), the tour was conceived by…

The Zen of Za’atar: Israel’s Key Spice Blend

Like every national cuisine, Israeli cooking is made up of big and small ingredients, some with a strong presence that get lots of fanfare, others that are subtle and more in the shadows. Early on in my awakening to Israeli cuisine, thanks to Galya, I was introduced to a marvellous spice blend I had never…

How Sweet it is: The Joy of Halva

Halva is one of those age-old treats most people can’t resist once they discover it. While not unique to Israel, it’s home to a particular version of halva that’s extremely popular there as both a dessert and frequent snack. It’s considered “a taste of Israel” for which Galya Sarner has a great affinity. Dating back to…

Showcasing Israeli Cuisine on the Page

As Israeli food becomes more popular outside Israel, interest in learning more about it continues to grow. Reflecting — and contributing to — this phenomenon are various books that have come out in recent years. By far, the most successful and one that Galya Sarner strongly recommends is Jerusalem: A Cookbook. Published in 2012, it…

Israeli Cuisine True to Mediterranean Diet

Given its geographic location, it’s little surprise Israeli food is strongly linked to the so-called Mediterranean diet. Long recommended for its purported nutritional and health benefits, this eating plan is based on foods and recipes endemic to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an eating pattern to which Israeli culinary customs largely conform. Although the…