Food Cultures of Israel
Recipes, Customs, and Issues
by Michael Ashkenazi
November 2020, 227pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6685-2
$63, £47, 53€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6686-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Heavily dependent on vegetable and milk products, the Israeli diet has emerged as one of the healthiest in the world.

This volume explores cuisine in Israel, including the country's food culture history, important dishes, current food issues, and more.

The evolution of Israeli food has been dependent on three major variables: the geography and climate of Israel, its ethnic mix and ethnic history (including religious influences, non-Jewish communities, and heavy immigration from around the world), and technical innovation that has enabled Israel to become a leader in agricultural technology.

This book provides a comprehensive picture of Israeli food culture in the twenty-first century, examined on the basis of the various influences that created this particular culture. Such influences include the lengthy food history that can be traced to prehistory, including data from the Bible and Koran and archaeological evidence; as well as contemporary food practices that have emerged as a mix of influences from different ethnic groups. Modern Israeli food practices are the result of the sway of European, Middle Eastern, and other cultures, creating a cuisine that is marked by its blends.

Main topics are accompanied by easy-to-follow recipes. The book serves as an introduction to daily life in Israel as well as the evolution of food practices in a relatively new country.


  • Provides the reader with an overview of food as one aspect of Israeli culture
  • Serves as a sample case of food culture analysis
  • Discusses the food not only of the Jewish majority groups but also that of non-Jewish and Jewish minority groups and their mutual influences
  • Notes the influences of two central institutions in Israeli society: conscript service in the army and collective food practices
  • Provides readers with an understanding of the problems and benefits of Israeli food and how they are dealt with officially, technically, and unofficially
  • Illustrates the discussion with local recipes
Michael Ashkenazi, PhD, is a consultant and retired professor of anthropology. He is coauthor of The World Cookbook: The Greatest Recipes from around the Globe, The World Cookbook for Students, Food Culture in Japan, and The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture. He is also author of books and articles on extraterrestrial intelligence, Japanese religion and society, weapons technology and its effects, and Israeli culture. He raises olives and exotic fruit.


"Recommended for public, community-college, and university libraries."—Booklist Online, April 30, 2021

The Global Kitchen

One of the most important cultural traditions in a country is its cuisine. Every country and culture has a national dish, an iconic “flavor” that is recognized as symbolic of that location, from Brazil’s feijoada to Russia’s pelmeni. The Global Kitchen series explores food culture around the world, with an emphasis on typical meals and recipes.

Each volume in the series focuses on the food culture of a specific country or, in some cases, a small group of countries. Volumes follow the same chapter outline, written in a narrative style interwoven with recipes for hands-on engagement. Coverage begins with a general review of food history in the country as well as a detailed discussion of staple ingredients that play a major role in the cuisine. Several chapters break down specific meals into appetizers and side dishes, main dishes, desserts, and beverages, looking at common meals and recipes that contribute to the country’s culinary flavor. Additional chapters examine food shared on holidays and special occasions, street food and snacks, and restaurants. A final chapter investigates food issues in the country, including dietary and health concerns. Numerous recipes appear throughout the text, and a glossary, a timeline, a bibliography, and sidebars round out each volume.
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