The Global History of Jewish Food


Professor Hasia Diner, History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, and Professor Simone Cinotto, of Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche, Pollenzo, Italy organize the international conference “The Global History of Jewish Food.” The conference brings together scholars from the United States and Europe for a 2 day conversation on the history of food, a topic to be explored from the point of view of the long and geographically wide scope of Jewish history. The conference focuses in particular on moments of change, both positive and negative, including but not limited to migration, dispersion, war, and the formation of new Jewish communities. How did Jews cope, from the standpoint of their foodways, with the dislocations which spanned centuries and traversed the globe? How, in these global journeys, did they engage with the foods of the peoples around them?

The conference features three sessions and a final round table.

The conference is open to the public. Italian Jewish cultural public figures Gad Lerner and Moni Ovadia will talk on Jewish culture and food. The President of UNISG and the Slow Food Association Carlo Petrini will open the conference.


Monday June 9, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm – Aula Magna UNISG

9:00 am – Welcome Remarks
Piercarlo Grimaldi, Dean of the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche
Simone Cinotto (UNISG), Conference Organizer

9:30 am – Keynote Address Hasia Diner (NYU), Conference Organizer

10:00 am – Italian Jewish Public Figures on Jewish Culture and Food
Gad Lerner, Journalist, Writer, and Television Personality
Moni Ovadia, Artist and Theatrical Author

11:00 am – First Session: Eating Across the Jewish-non-Jewish Divide
Gennady Estraikh (NYU), Turning to Pork: Goyishization of Soviet Jews
Flora Cassen (University of North Carolina), The Sausage in the Jews’ Pantry: Food and Jewish-Christian Relations in Renaissance Italy
Hasia Diner (NYU), Food on the Road: Immigrant Jewish Peddlers and their Non-Jewish Customers


Monday June 9, 2:30 – 4:30 pm – Aula Magna UNISG

2:30 pm – Welcome Remarks
Carlo Petrini, President of the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche and Slow Food

3:00 pm – Second Session: Embracing Novety/Yearning for the Familiar
Annie Polland (Lower East Side Tenement Museum), From Immigrant Era Cookbooks to Contemporary Walking Tours: Jewish Food on the Lower East Side
Rakefet Zalashik (NYU), Appetite and Hunger: Perceptions of Food Among Jews in Eastern-Europe between the Two World Wars
Marion Kaplan (NYU), From the Comfort of Home to Exile: German Jews and their Foodways


Tuesday June 10, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Aula Magna UNISG

10:00 am – Third Session: Jewish Food Fights
Ari Ariel (Bryn Mawr College), Mosaic or Melting Pot: The Transformation of Middle Eastern Jewish Foodways in Israel
Adriana Brodsky (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), The Fight Against “Guefilte Fish”: Asserting Sephardic Culinary Repertoires Among Argentine Jews in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century


Tuesday June 10, 2:00 – 4:00 pm – Aula Miroglio UNISG

 2:00 pm – Final Roundtable