[Sca-cooks] Period Jewish Recipes

elisabetta@klotz.org elisabetta at klotz.org
Tue Aug 22 08:33:00 PDT 2006

>> I have not noticed any recipes identified as Jewish in other European
>> cookbooks.
> They are rather unlikely to turn up there. Unlike in many parts of the
> medieval Muslim world, the Jews of Europe largely lived a parallel existence
> separate from their Christian neighbours after the thirteenth century
> (apparently this was quite different before then, but cookbook manuscripts
> are thin on the ground then). Their written culture was in Hebrew, to the
> point that the Ashkenasi Jews wrote their native tongue - a German dialect -
> in the Hebrew alphabet. If we wanted to find Jewish recipes, that is most
> likely where we must look. Does anyone know of scholarly research in that
> direction? I'm no Hebraist, unfortunately.
> Giano
  That sounds logical, but it doesn't exist. About 2 years I contacted  
the Jewish manuscript project, which at the time at about 6700 Jewish  
medeival and Ren manuscripts in their database, in all different  

They ran a search for me. There was 1 possible hit in a Italian  
manuscript. It described a fish dish. That's it. A fish dish. What  
type of fish? How was it cooked? No mention.

I have not found any period sources for Jewish recipes. I read the  
"Jewish" recipes in the Andulsion Cookbook as a style and technique  
direction, more than a recipe.

There is historical data to what was eaten, and when based on holidays  
and seasons, but no actual recipes. They were all handed down orally.

My search continues, but based on information we have, it is very  
doubtful that we will find any recipes sources. The best example of  
the oral tradition is when the Jews were kicked out of the sugar  
business. Since none of the processes were written down, it took about  
50 years for the Christain sugar traders to figure out how to process  
the cane correctly.

Due to the open nature of the culture in Germany and Italy, those are  
the best places to look. I have been checking out the di Medici papers  
(http://www.medici.org/jewish/) on and off, as they are taking a long  
time translating.


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