What’s a Nosh?

nosh is a small bite to eat, a snack. Popular Jewish noshes include the following and can be enjoyed at The Big Nosh™ this year:

Brisket is one of the nine beef prime cuts. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast, especially as a holiday main course, usually served at Rosh Hashanah, Passover, and Sabbath. For reasons of economics and kashrut, it was historically one of the more popular cuts of beef among Ashkenazi Jews. Brisket is also the most popular cut for corned beef, which can be further spiced and smoked to make pastrami.

Chicken Soup is a traditional dish of the Jewish kitchen. The 12th-century rabbi and physician Maimonides touted the benefits of chicken soup to one’s health. The Tree Of Life includes hand crafted Matzo Balls to savor the flavor.

Chopped liver is a popular spread in Jewish cuisine, made by sautéing or broiling liver and onions in schmaltz (kosher chicken fat), adding hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, and grinding that mixture.

Corned beef is brisket cured or pickled in brine, then boiled or baked. Recipes for the brine dates back centuries. Jewish immigrants in New York City standardized brisket for the cut of beef.

Kasha is at least a thousand years old, one of the oldest known dishes in Eastern Jewish cuisine. Jewish-American immigrants brought kasha varnishkes (buckwheat served over bow-tie pasta) as a favorite side dish.

Kugels are a casserole-style dish, either savory (with grated vegetables and cheese) or sweet (with noodles and custard). Our Big Nosh version contains noodles, milk, cheese, sugar, and raisins. Some Jews believe that eating kugel on Shabbat brings additional spiritual blessings. The dish originated over 800 years ago in southern Germany, and became a staple in Ashkenazi Jewish households throughout Eastern Europe.

Latkes (potato pancakes) are a traditional Jewish dish, often served during Hanukkah. They have gained popularity as a Hanukkah dish because they are fried in oil, commemorating the oil that miraculously provided light for eight days. Columbia’s Tree Of Life Brotherhood creates a world class Latke.

Pastrami is brisket of beef that has been cured in a mixture of garlic, peppercorns, sugar, coriander seeds, etc., and smoked before cooking. The Romanian specialty was introduced to the United States in a wave of Romanian Jewish immigration from Romania in the second half of the 19th century, via the Yiddish ??????????? (pastróme). Sussman Volk is generally credited with producing the first pastrami sandwich in 1887. The sandwich was so popular that Volk converted the butcher shop into a restaurant to sell pastrami sandwiches.

Pickled Beets, as well as other pickled vegetables like cucumbers and cabbage, were staples for Jews in Poland, Lithuania, the Ukraine, and Russia. Pickles were a significant part of meals, particularly in the winter when fresh produce was scarce.

Potato Knish: Eastern European immigrants brought knishes to North America around 1900. The Yiddish word “knish” (????) is derived from the Russian “knysh” (????), meaning dumpling or cake.  A knish consists of a mashed potato filling covered with dough that is either baked, grilled, or deep fried.

Rye Bread is a popular bread for sandwiches. In the United States, corned beef or pastrami on rye is particularly popular; it is considered a classic element of Jewish-influenced New York City cuisine. One common form of this combination is the Reuben sandwich.

Tzimmes  (Yiddish: ?????) is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish sweet stew, typically made from carrots and dried fruits such as prunes or raisins, often combined with other root vegetables. The dish is cooked slowly over low heat and flavored with honey or sugar and sometimes cinnamon or other spices. It is often part of the Rosh Hashanah meal, when it is traditional to eat sweet and honey-flavored dishes. The round slices of carrots, looking like gold coins, symbolize the hope of prosperity in the year to come.