Playing Into Some Delicious Jewish Stereotypes

Monday, July 29, 2013

When I learned of Buzzfeed's recently published list of "32 Things Jewish Women Can't Resist," my first thought was that if Buzzfeed really had its shit together, it would've been a list of 36 things, not 32 (Jewish joke!), but a cursory glance at the items that made the cut told me that Buzzfeed didn't really have its shit together, anyway, because this list is drek. Guacamole, Emojis, messy buns, day drinking? Hey, Buzzfeed, that's basically just a lazy list of things every young woman likes right now. Poorly done. I am, instead, solidly on board with The Sisterhood's revised list of things Jewish women actually cannot resist, which is much more nuanced, inclusive, & reflective of Jewish values.

But you know what made it onto both lists? Bagels. And stereotypes be damned, I feel good about that.

Whether you ever actually think to yourself, "I'd like a Jewish breakfast pastry this morning!" or not, the fact remains that bagels are a Jewish delicacy, & on behalf of my ancestors, you're very welcome for them. In fact, one stereotype of Jews that's generally pretty true is that we're into food - but whether or not our culture lends itself to food that's actually delicious is a judgment call with which I've long struggled. I don't like kugel or matzah ball soup or lox or corned beef; I mostly just like bagels. But how can I call myself a culturally proud American Reform Jew if I'm not on board with our proudest culinary offerings?!

Enter DGS Delicatessen, a newish deli that opened in DC last fall. While I was in town last weekend visiting friends/working/having a small pre-birthday celebration, I made plans with some friends to visit DGS for brunch. Of course, because I don't like kugel or matzah ball soup or lox or corned beef, I found myself in a bit of a pickle (ba-dum-chhh!) when it came to ordering. Around me, my friends placed orders for challah French toast, grilled pastrami, brisket sandwiches, & whitefish salad as I struggled to come to a decision. (God, that sentence feels like a Jewish joke in itself. Could we be any more stereotypical?). In the end, I went with two potato latkes & a yogurt parfait that included dates, apples, figs, & honey. Don't think a parfait sounds particularly Jewish? Let me point out that dates, apples, & figs are typical Rosh HaShanah foods & that Israel is called "The Land of Milk & Honey." So don't worry, it was totally in keeping with the them - & both more dishes were absolutely batampte.

My friends & I aren't particularly skilled iPhone photographers, & we were more preoccupied with the company & the consumption than we were with capturing it all on film, so the grainy photos above came from our meal together, & the beautiful ones below are courtesy of Emily Goodstein, a skilled local photographer & one of my good friends. Needless to say, I think DGS makes it onto my "try this place again" list for making me want to work my way up to kugel or matzah ball soup or lox or corned beef or maybe even my arch-enemy, pickles. Ess gesunt!

Note: All professional-looking photos came from my dear friend Emily Goodstein (pictured above, center), who is an outstanding D.C. photographer available for hire to take pictures of things that aren't necessarily food - like your face, or your baby's birth, or your wedding. She didn't pay me to say this; I just like her.

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