What really is “Israeli food?”

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This is a highly-debated question that many of us want the answer to, but we may never be satisfied, as there is not one correct answer. The term “Israeli food” represents an idea and concept, but it has not been solidified as one thing.

The 2016 movie, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, shares the  notion that Israeli food, in a sense, is anything a person wants it to be. As chef Michael Solomonov takes us on a colorful tour around different parts of Israel, we get to see how each chef has a different opinion about the meaning of Israeli food. This is one reason as to why Israeli culture is so cool–people can make it their own and are not confined to acting or thinking a certain way about the Israeli culture.

In the movie, Solomonov references something that I support about Israeli culture: that Israel is too young to have its own cuisine. At just 71 years old, Israel, like many other countries, has adapted food from different parts of the world into its own cuisine, while also creating some newer recipes and putting twists on old ones. As a younger culture, Israel is still changing and growing, especially in regard to the cuisine. Each chef seems to be able to change traditional Jewish recipes, as well as food from other cultures, and make a unique dish.

The chefs and families bring food to their plates in their own ways. They seem to benefit from examining traditional recipes, mixing ingredients, utilizing their experience in the kitchen, and sparking their own creativity. Something especially unique about Israeli culture and its cuisine is that many restaurants serve dishes with only locally grown ingredients. As a result, the type of “Israeli food” served depends upon the area of a restaurant in Israel.

With all of this in mind, and with knowledge from In Search of Israeli Cuisine, we understand that “Israeli food” is a concept that is changing and developing as time goes on. Israel is still young in its willingness to adapt as a culture and thus keep us all on our toes.