It started with an artichoke. I was in Rome studying food and culture. The day before, I had eaten the best pasta of my life: a simple cacio e pepe sublimely balanced with pepper, cheese, and the most perfectly cooked al dente noodles. But it was a artichoke in the old Jewish ghetto that left me speechless.
That bite became the inspiration for Honey & Schmaltz an ongoing culinary memoir of Jewish food.
Despite being raised by a Reform rabbi, religion and I have never really clicked. But as I bit into that fried artichoke — a food as Jewish as matzo ball soup — I was overcome with nostalgia. I’m not Italian, but somehow I felt a deep connection to my ancestors. I wanted to dig deeper into my own history by way of the lexicon of recipes my people had produced.