JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Cuisine for Geneology #general

Ken Stone <ken@...>

I think determining regional cuisine and different names for the same dish
are extremely important for genealogical research.

Switch the scenario to being in Eastern Europe wondering where in America
your ancestors immigrated from. If great grandpa enjoyed wild rice, he may
have been a shtetl dweller in Northern MN. If you heard stories about
grandma picking grapefruit fresh off the trees, maybe she lived in the

Mexican cuisine, Italian, French, BAR-B-CUE, all vary by region. Why
shouldn't old country Jewish food?

Is it a hoagy or sub sandwich? Pop or soda? Thin crust or deep dish?
Casserole or hot dish? Sweet roll or Danish? All these are regional names
for the that particular food.

In Chicago there's a Vienna Red Hot stand on every corner, in Minneapolis
there are none. Street vendors selling roasted nuts and big hot pretzels
with mustard are strictly East coast.

Food provides plenty of clues about where someone is from.

Back to European cuisine and genealogy. I know my grandmother is from
Vienna. She cooked all the classic German dishes but called them by their
Viennese names. Thus spaetzel, the little potato dumplings, are
"knuckle" in Vienna. If I did not know where she was from, but knew about
"knuckle" my research would one day yield someone saying "Oh, that's what
they call spaetzel in Vienna!"

Could not begin to comment on whether corned beef is Irish or Jewish. For
that matter how did pastrami and salami wind up at the Kosher deli?

Ken Stone

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