In high school, as a part of the Jewish United Fund’s Research Training Internship, one of the cookbook leaders, Alana, created a Jews of Color cook booklet, entitled Tzevayim (“colors” in Hebrew; accompanying video), collecting recipes from six women from Chicago.
Using this high school project as a proof-of-concept stepping stone, today, our team has joined our passion for cooking and our Jewish community to create a JoC cookbook that can be found on the bookshelves of stores across the nation; a cookbook that JoCs could open and feel seen, appreciated, and welcomed, with food as a delicious medium for connection among JoCs, as well as the Jewish community as a whole. Our hope is that this community cookbook will help relieve the pressure that many JoC feel to conform to the exclusively white-Ashkenazi standards in Jewish communities by inspiring readers to embrace all elements of their cultural traditions.
Recipes serve as the vehicle for connection and story-telling. We do not want to use food as an escape to pretend as though we live in a post-racial harmonious world, nor do we want to self-exoticize or self-tokenize by implying that our stories and foods represent a whole culture. Instead, we want to use recipes as a “vehicle to confront injustices to prompt meaningful action,” to quote chef and writer Tunde Wey.