'Taste the Nation' heads to Lower East Side for Hanukkah edition

Publication Date08 November 2021
AuthorJulia Gergely
In a special, four-part holiday edition, Lakshmi highlights traditional holiday foods from locations around the U.S. — she visits Los Angeles to celebrate the Korean New Year, Miami to learn about Cuban Christmas and Cape Cod to learn about food traditions of the Wampanoag Nation, and to deconstruct the holiday narrative of Thanksgiving.

To learn about Hanukkah? Lakshmi only needed to travel around the corner from her East Village apartment. In the episode, titled "Happy Challah Days," she visits the Lower East Side, where hundreds of thousands of Jews lived after immigrating from Eastern Europe around the turn of the 20th century.

The episode is a New York Jewish food lover's dream. Lakshmi — the author, model and food mogul who's been nominated for 11 Emmys for her hosting/judging work on Bravo's "Top Chef" (her Jewish co-host Gail Simmons has been nominated for two) — makes her first stop at Russ and Daughters appetizing shop on Houston Street, a Lower East Side landmark since 1914. The shop is run by Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman, great-grandchildren of the store's original owner, Joel Russ.

At Russ and Daughters, Lakshmi learns to make latkes and samples many of the store's signature Ashkenazi offerings: caviar, schmaltz, herring and liver. Lakshmi next visits the Tenement Museum, the Pickle Guys — an Essex Street mainstay since 2010 — and New York's Central Synagogue, where she discusses the history of Hanukkah with Rabbi Ari Lorge.

After speaking with Ruth Zimbler, a Holocaust survivor, she learns how to make holishkes (stuffed cabbage) with the creators of the artisanal...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT