A case for Gastronomic Judaism

I remember reading articles in Jewish journals in the 1970’s  bemoaning “Gastronomic Judaism”, where people’s only connection to Judaism was through bagels and lox.


While I think that only eating Jewish food does not fully create a truly Jewish life I do believe that it can tie Jews into the practice of Jewish ritual.


Shavuot begins tonight. Shavuot celebrates out being given the Torah.  According to a midrash, in anticipation of the giving of Torah since Jews didn’t know the laws of ritual slaughter, they ate dairy. From this comes the tradition of eating dairy on Shavuot and the birth of the blintz.

I often make blintzes on Shavuot. My other usual Shavuot meal is Cholesteral Death Kugel.  Last week I mentioned to my daughter that it would be Shavuot this week. She asked if I would be making kugel, and asked to join us for the holiday meal.

Yesterday, my sister called me to ask for the blintz recipe.  Yes, it is pesky to make, but so good. by the end of the conversation my sister had decided to make either the kugel or lokshen mit kaese because they are so much easier.by the end of the conversation, I had decided to make the blintzes.

Blintzes are a bother to make. The pancakes are the problem. You are left with lots of small bits of waiting time as the pancakes cook.SAM_0524SAM_0526SAM_0525

When you bake bread there is a long enough wait so you can make a dress, or go shopping or make the rest of your meal or make most of a challah cover while waiting for the bread to rise. When you make blintz pancakes, you aren’t in constant motion  which has it’s own pleasures. You have herky jerky bits of time without enough down time to actually get anything useful done. It was even hard to fit in washing my dirty dishes. Filling and frying the filled blintzes will be easy.



Eventually though, all the bletlakh or pancakes were done.

Why do I bother? Because my labors make my kids look forward to Shavuot. I assume that they will remember the times that I read of the giving of the Torah to them right from the bible as their Shavuot bed time story.

During the phase of life when my kids would be least connected to formal Judaism, they still want to be sure to be at my table for the holidays.


In addition to the blintzes I’m serving a still not made escarole salad with chopped dates, orange and pecans. I’m also making a tomato soup.  Tonight’s guest is bringing dessert.


And here is a bonus. This is a super budget way to make inexpensive Greek yogurt.


First buy


The giant 5 lb container of Indian yogurt at Costco. This will set you back around $4.  Then after you come home, dump the yogurt into a colander lined with a tea towel. Put a big bowl underneath the colander.


Here is the yogurt draining.



No, it’s not pee, it’s yogurt water. After several hours you will have 3 lbs. of thick Greek style yogurt.

Some of it will go into my blintzes.


So even my kids who claim to be atheists are looking forward to z’man matan Torateinu, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah..


Chag Sameach


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