The Ashkenazi recipes that appear in this collection are descended from, or inspired by, Ashkenazi Jewish food culture. In the Jewish diaspora, Ashkenazi Jews descend from their ancestors who lived in Central and Eastern Europe. Ashkenazi Jewish populations could be found in Poland, Germany, Russia, and other cold weather countries.
Ashkenazi recipes often reflect the cold weather countries they descend from. To survive a Polish or German winter, one needed cuisine that was warming, comforting, and caloric. Ashkenazi cooking typically includes lots of carbohydrates — like bread, potatoes, and noodles – as well as meat and poultry (both meats and fats). Pickled foods and dried foods (like dried mushrooms) are also common, as fermentation was used to extend the shelf life of Ashkenazi food.
Americans typically think of deli food when they imagine traditional Jewish cooking– matzo ball soup, brisket, latkes. These foods became part of the United States deli culture thanks to early Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. You’ll find some of those comforting and delicious deli-style Ashkenazi recipes in this category.
Several traditional dishes can be found in both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish cuisine, with slight differences. Most modern Jewish home cooks have been influenced (either consciously or unconsciously) by both Ashkenazi and Sephardic cuisines. You will find Ashkenazi Jewish recipes in this collection, as well as some recipes that fit into both Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions –including holiday recipes. However, the recipes in this collection are not organized by holiday. If you are searching for recipes that are kosher for Ashkenazi Passover, you’ll find my Passover recipe collection helpful. You can find other Jewish holiday dishes (as well as a variety of holiday recipe ideas) here.
Jewish cuisine is unique and delicious. If you’re curious about the Sephardic side of the cuisine, check out my Sephardic recipes collection. I hope you enjoy exploring the many traditional Jewish flavors shared here!