In Search of Israeli Cuisine

And on this installment of Man vs. Fuad, Chef Michael Solomonov, born in Israel but raised in Pittsburgh, advances through Israel from its street vendors to fine restaurants in search of an answer to the question: “What is Israeli cuisine?” This documentary will not make you hungry once you realize you aren’t going to get this kind of food around the corner out of a vending machine, because its emphasis is on “local ingredients” and the diverse, sometimes complicated connection between Arab and Israeli techniques in the kitchen. Both the guilt-ridden Polish kosher background and the Kurdish-Turkish-Palestinian historical significance have created a new language advanced, in part, by the Israeli students who came to America and returned in the ’80s to bake the curiosity for all that was around them into a national taste for a nation too young to establish any “national cuisine.” Its immigrant baggage is connected to Yiddish/Arabic/Russian grannies’ traditions centered in and around Tel Aviv, considered the nation’s modern, secular center, seeking to present food as a part of nature that is continuously in flux.