The Jews Left Their Mark on English Cuisine—but Didn’t Invent Fish and Chips

While Jewish contributions to Western culture have indeed been impressive, from time to time overzealous Jewish writers succumb to the temptation to take credit where none is in fact due. Thus one occasionally finds the claim—based ultimately on an essay written by the great Anglo-Jewish historian Cecil Roth in the 1950s—that Portuguese descendants of converted Jews brought fish and chips, that quintessential English staple, to Britain in the 16th century. The distinguished anthropologist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett debunks this claim, but notes other piscatory delights that are indeed of Jewish origin:

There are many ways to fry fish, several of which appear in the first Jewish cookbook published in the English language, The Jewish Manual (1846). . . . None is specifically identified as Jewish or recommended for the Sabbath, although fish fried in oil and eaten cold was and still is a beloved Sabbath dish on the English table. Israel Zangwill sang its praises in his 1892 novel Children of the Ghetto.

A century earlier, Hannah Glasse published a recipe for “preserving salmon and all sorts of fish the Jews’ way”—a recipe for escabeche, which begins by dredging fish in flour and frying it in oil before pickling it in vinegar. Glasse adds that “all sorts of [flour-dredged] fish fried well in oil, eat very fine cold with shallot, or oil and vinegar.” This recipe appears in the appendix to the sixth edition of The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1758) and is believed to be the first time that a recipe for frying fish in oil and serving it cold appears in print as a Jewish dish, at least in the English language.

What distinguishes fish in the “Jews’ way” is not only dredging it in flour and frying it in oil, but most importantly, eating it cold and according it pride of place on the Sabbath table. The fried fish in British fish and chips is a different dish.

Read more at Forward

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Jewish food, Shabbat

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus