Rye not? A Breakdown of Jewish Cuisine

Here, our writer Melissa Baron dishes up a fun, informative taste of the week. She may also slip in a health tidbit from time to time, because #balance. 


Smoked salmon (aka lox)--check.





Either we’re in my ideal heaven or we’re in a Jewish deli. Oh wait--that’s right-- they’re one in the same.

While I am not Jewish, I grew up tasting some of the finest Jewish cuisine available, thanks to the incredible cooking of our close family friend and my other mother, Syd Rubin, who just so happens to be Jewish.

She’d make us kids matzo ball soup, latkes (if you’re wondering, it’s “lat-kuhs”), challah (like the kids these days “holla” at their friend) and a nice brisket.

She’ll still often make brisket now--slow cooked with onions, carrots and potatoes--but she explained how many of these traditional foods, like brisket, have been getting pricer over the years.

“A lot of what [Jews] ate was stuff nobody wanted, because our people were poor,” said Syd. “Now a lot of those foods have become very expensive.” And after having tasted an authentic bagel and lox sandwich, I see why the food is in high demand.

Flash forward a few years and now I’m married to a nice Jewish boy,  so I luckily had only a short time in between my childhood Jewish feasts and dinners at my in-laws.

When asking her what she commonly ate growing up, my mother-in-law, Andi, fondly remembers having chopped liver on rye or Hebrew National salami with mustard on toast for lunch in elementary school. “Nobody wanted to trade with me for lunch,” she laughs, “but I loved it!”

While I luckily don’t have chopped liver in my future, I can look forward to juicy lamb shanks, potato kugel (casserole), rugelach (crescent roll often filled with chocolate) and many more delicious foods.

Whether you’re Jewish or not, check out these great Jewish delis around Boston and experience your own doughy, salmon-y, tasty heaven. I guarantee you’ll like it a lox!

Michael’s Deli-- 256 Harvard St, Brookline

Zaftigs Delicatessen -- 335 Harvard St, Brookline

Kupel’s Bakery -- 421 Harvard St, Brookline (Do I sense a theme here?)

Mamaleh's Delicatessen -- One Kendall Square, 15 Hampshire St., Cambridge

Inna's Kitchen - Boston Public Market -- 100 Hanover St, Boston

Check back next Sunday for next week’s Weekly Digest!