Joan Nathan, a Love of Life Through Recipes: Industry Night, July 1, 2024


Welcome back to another episode for Industry Night. If you are joining me on YouTube, you can see I am back at the Capital Jewish Museum, and as I mentioned last week, I am a little more than excited about being here. The Capital Jewish Museum celebrates DC’s Jewish heritage — it is full of incredible stories of Jewish people from all around the world who made their way to this city and were integral in laying the foundation for the vibrant community we live in today.
The new exhibit, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Jewish Deli" explores how American Jews imported traditions, adapted, and built community through the experience of food. Not just here in DC, but all around the country. The Jewish deli forged an entirely new, American cuisine by combining Central and Eastern European dishes with ingredients abundantly available in the United States.
Bagels people?!
Where do you think bagels come from — and my favorite Jewish dish that is also part of the general lexicon — other than matzoh ball soup. I have a great story about my daughter-in-law who was born in Romania and grew up in Germany — Not Jewish, No Judgement — I was helping her and my son move into a new home and she had cases and cases of matzoh ball soup mix. I was like what’s the deal with the matzoh ball soup? Is my son always sick? And she said… And I do love this… Oh, these are a delicacy from my country. And I was like, yeah —  you see that language there? That’s Hebrew. These are a delicacy of my people.
And speaking of matzoh ball soup, it is also one of Joan Nathan‘s favorite dishes. The minute she smells it, it brings her back to a specific place in time in her new fantastic memoir and cookbook My Life in Recipes: Food, Family, and Memories. Now I am bringing on this prolific writer, cookbook author, and James Beard Award winner — oh and IACP award winner — I mean who better to talk about how our ancestors' trials and tribulations affect what winds up on our tables than Joan Nathan?
But first, Malki Karkowsky, Chief Advancement Officer here at the Museum. Malki is one of the reasons the Deli exhibit is here and has received so much support from the Deli community.
Okay! Let’s get on with the show:
Joan Nathan is the author of twelve books, including Jewish Cooking in America and The New American Cooking, both of which won both the James Beard Award and the IACP Award, and King Solomon’s Table, which won an IACP Award and a Gourmand World Cookbook Award. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and other publications. She lives in Washington, DC, but her heart belongs in Martha's Vineyard. And I am so thrilled to have her with me today to talk about EVERYTHING.

Listen to the full episode here, or watch it all here.