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May 07, 2004 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-05-07

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Jewish With A Twist

Zingerman's special dinner gives Jewish American foods a new flavor.

Special to the Jewish News

Ann Arbor
an Langone of Ann Arbor has
more than a passing interest in
Jewish food — in addition to
having grown up with.it, she
likes to know where traditional foods
come from and how they have changed
as Jews settled in the Diaspora.
Langone, who started the Cultural
Historians of Ann Arbor group 20 years
ago, said her interest in food and culture
in large part brought her to the Jewish
American Foods dinner at Zingerman's
Roadhouse April 14. The sold-out event
drew about 50 diners.
It was an evening of sampling Jewish


Richard Soble chats with Chef Young.

foods from around the country as well as
learning about those dishes. Ari
Weinzweig, co-owner of Zingerman's
"community of businesses," talked with
diners about traditional Jewish cooking
and the history of Jewish food.
As appetizers, soup, salad, entrees,
sides and desserts rolled out of the
kitchen, hq discussed what makes food
"Jewish" and how many of the dishes
associated with the tradition today grew
out of locall recipes brought over during
three majot waves of immigrants, foods
adapted regionally and those based on
the laws of kashrut.
"I think it's a very good idea to have
food in context, to know what you're
eating," Langone said, adding that she
appreciated the intellectual component
of the event. "They probably could have
this dinnet without the talk, but I think
the talk enhances it so much.
"Jews iOntify through food and I
think you ' f ould sense it here," she said.
The thir0 in a series of monthly
themed dialers, Weinzweig said this one
hits closer to home because of his per-
sonal expetence with the culture and
the histo4— all the more reason to
choose a menu that reflects the tradition
but with recipes people may not have
tried, he said.
"I tried to pick stuff I didn't grow up
with really because I wanted people to

have a new experience instead of just
coming and eating the same things
most of us are familiar with," he said.
"If you're going to come for a special
dinner, it's nice to eat things you
Zingerman's Roadhouse chef and co-owner
haven't had before."
Alex Young enters with paella.
On the menu were such items as
miniature wmoked salmon cheese
The menu was the result of a lot of
cakes with fresh dill, fried kreplachs,
"homework" done by Weinzweig and
chicken soup with Cajun matzo balls,
Zingerman's Roadhouse head chef and
Sephardic braised short ribs with prunes
co-owner Alex Young, who researched a
and apricots and Southwestern tsimmes
variety of styles from different regions to
(sweet potatoes with prunes and chilis).
prepare for the event..
Ann Arbor resident Barbara Kessler
"We're celebrating_the various_groups
said she liked the combination of flavors
Jewish people within the country;
and appreciated the new tastes.
that's the most important thing — it
"The Southwestern tsimmes knocked
certainly wasn't your standard Jewish
my socks off," she said. "It was really
fare, no,", Young said.
Ellen Adler drove in from Toledo to
Many participants spoke about how
participate in the event, which she said
the food triggered memories of their
was a great experience and a "new"
childhoods. Conversations could be
Jewish thing because though it didn't
heard around the room about ways the
dishes were different from what they had push all the old memory buttons, it did
expose her to some different Jewish
grown up with.
"It brings back memories of mostly
"I liked the whole more than I liked
grandmothers," said Dick Sobel of Ann
specific part," she said. "I liked what
Arbor. "When I was a child, every
about — it wasn't like I was just
Friday night we'd have dinners at my
here for the food or just to listen to Ari.
grandmother's — many of the same
We live in Toledo, and I love that there's
foods were there, but I don't recognize
a restaurant in Ann Arbor that can fill a
them from my Shabbos dinners. These
room with Jewish people interested in
were foods we were familiar with but
doing this." 111
prepared differently."

Veggie Time!

Spring is the perfect season to use more vegetables in your meals.

Special to the Jewish News


pring translates directly to our diets. Almost
no one desires a crock of hot soup and for-
get any recipe with the word "hearty" as a
descriptor. Bring on the freshness. Bring on
fruits and veggies!
Vegetables don't need a hard sell. Besides the imme-
diate benefits — versatile, fresh, good taste and that
all-important fiber — there are the fringe "health"
benefits owing to inherent antioxidant phytochemi-
cals, those compounds that make carrots orange,
asparagus green and tomatoes red.
Eating fresh vegetables, most of which are com-
pletely fat-free and very low in calories, is also benefi-
cial because veggies are filling.

If spring is on your mind, put it on your plate. The
following recipes make the most of spring crops and
fresh flavors — true primavera!


1 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups, peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red or Bermuda onion
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
1 T. dried parsley flakes
3 T. balsamic vinegar

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Bring rice and water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Reduce heat and cook the rice until tender, about 45
minutes. Drain if necessary; transfer rice to a medium
bowl. Cool for 15 minutes.
In the meantime,- steam or microwave the asparagus
for about 3 minutes, until tender crisp. Add the
asparagus and remaining ingredients to the rice; toss
well. Cover and chill until ready to use, up to a day
ahead. Before serving, adjust seasonings to taste,
adding more vinegar, salt and pepper as needed.
Makes 8 servings.


Primavera is the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian
word for spring. Use any vegetables you like for this
fresh as springtime dish.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t. minced garlic
12 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

VEGGIN TIME on page 58


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