Hello friends, and Happy New Year! My name is Tori, and I’m The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Welcome to my blog! Here I will be posting articles, recipes, and cooking tips for people who are interested in Jewish cuisine.
So, what exactly is a shiksa? More importantly, why is this shiksa writing a blog?
I’m so glad you asked! Most Yiddish dictionaries define the word shiksa as simply “a non-Jewish woman.” Today, the word is often used to describe a non-Jewish woman who is in a relationship with a Jewish man. In other words, if you’re a non-Jewish girl, especially one who is married to a Jewish boy, you might be considered a shiksa. Historically, the word shiksa has been used in a derogatory way, meant to convey that the shiksa is somehow “less than” somebody born into Judaism. Some have even equated the word shiksa to a “vile abomination” or an “unclean thing.” Not so cute, right? When I first heard that, I took offense. I was born a shiksa, and I assure you I take showers regularly. Luckily, those definitions aren’t very popular anymore.
Nowadays the word shiksa is pretty much used with good humor—as I believe it should be! After all, there are many shiksas in the world; interfaith marriage is increasingly common. I feel it’s important to focus on the things that unite us, rather than the things that divide us. Fundamentally we are all the same. A good meal can bring warmth and joy to anybody, no matter who you are or what background you come from. Therefore, I’d like to officially liberate the word shiksa from its negative past.
I’ve been lovingly referred to in our family as a shiksa for many years now. I began dating my hubby about 8 years ago, and I started studying Jewish cooking around the same time. I was surprised to discover that what I had previously understood to be Jewish food (bagels, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup) was actually a tiny part of a larger and more complex international cuisine. I’ve learned that Jewish food can be colorful, healthy, flavorful and inspiring! I’m even toying with the idea of writing a cookbook that will include all of the Jewish-inspired recipes I’ve gathered throughout the years.
I am fascinated by the traditions and history associated with Jewish cuisine. Food is a way of communicating; the energy we pass on through our cooking feeds the body as well as the soul. By recording the stories and recipes of Jewish family cooks, I hope to help preserve and celebrate the food traditions of Jewish people.
This blog will follow all my adventures—in the kitchen and in life. It will also offer friendly information for those who are interested in learning more about Jewish cuisine and culture. I look forward to sharing my decidedly “shiksa” perspective with you!