5 Senses


One of the important commandments of the Jewish faith is that Shabbat should be observed as a day of rest. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, so man, too, should lay down his work on the seventh day and dedicate the entire day to relaxation and reflection. Activities considered work are strictly defined: lighting a fire, for example, is prohibited, but using a fire that was previously lit is allowed. This limitation has had a strong influence on Jewish cooking, as in the case of cholent. This traditional Shabbat stew is prepared on Friday before Shabbat begins and then placed in the oven, where it cooks slowly overnight. The hearty stew is then ready to serve in time for the festive Shabbat meal on Saturday.

Many people have strong emotional ties with this dish as its aroma evokes childhood memories of celebrating Shabbat within the circle of the family. Joan Nathan, the author of the well-known cookbook "Jewish cooking in America", calls this rich casserole "Jewish soul food."

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