Jewish Food in the Global South: A Symposium

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Symposium Registration Cooking Class Film Screenings Co-sponsors

Program-cover-webThis two-day symposium will explore Jewish food in and of the global South, a concept that references the historic diversity of the American South and its vibrant cultural intersections with the nation and the world over time. Appealing to both public and academic audiences, this symposium will feature dynamic presentations by Jewish foodways and cultural scholars, documentarians, culinary critics, and James Beard award-winning chefs. Panel discussions will investigate what makes a food “Jewish” in the diverse social and cultural contexts of our global markets and networks, and how that designation affects the lives of its creators and consumers. Through examination of specific ingredients such as pastrami, iconic dishes such as hummus, and particular cooking traditions that negotiate the laws of kashrut with contemporary aesthetics and nutritional trends, participants will discuss how the distinct social, economic, and political dimensions of different regional cultures, including the American South, determine how Jewish foods are prepared, consumed, and interpreted.

register-here-buttonDistinctively, this symposium brings together hands-on cooking demonstrations and food tastings with scholarly conversations about Jewish foodways traditions today. Scholars and chefs will highlight the innovation within contemporary Jewish culinary traditions that perpetuates specific tastes and customs, and that expands an understanding of how Jewish culinary traditions influence, and are influenced by, the larger social, regional, and cultural environments in which they are embedded.

The symposium is suLogo-and-Taglinepported by Jimmy, ’62, and Susan Pittleman and presented by UNC’s Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, Department of American Studies, Center for Global Initiatives / Global Research Institute, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for the Study of the American South, and UNC’s FOOD FOR ALL pan-university academic theme.


Saturday, March 4:

Class: King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cuisine

Update: February 7: The Class is Sold Out. To be placed on a waiting list, please call the store at 919.913.1239.

Cooking Class at Southern Season

11:00am cooking class at Southern Season in Chapel Hill.

quiches-kugels-couscousAuthor of “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France” and ten other cookbooks, Joan Nathan is an award winning author and joins us to celebrate the upcoming May release of her latest title. Her list of accolades is extensive and her dedication to the Jewish community is clear. Treat yourself to hear Joan speak of her passion and knowledge of Jewish food. Menu: Carciofi alla Guida, Fried Artichokes Jewish Style; Fesenjan (Walnut and Pomegranate Chicken Stew) with Saffron Rice; Upside Down Fruit Cobbler. Cost is $50 and pre-registration is required [through the Southern Season web site]. Update: February 7: The Class is Sold Out. To be placed on a waiting list, please call the store at 919.913.1239.

More info



Jewish Food Film Festival at Varsity TheatrE

Join us for an evening film screening of two Jewish food films: Deli-Man and Streit’s Matzo and the American Dream. The screenings will be from 4-7pm, with Streit’s Matzo starting a 4pm and Deli-Man starting at 5:30pm. Details.

This event is free and open to the public, no tickets or registration required. Screenings will be at the Varsity Theatre, 123 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill.

More info and film trailers.


Sunday, March 5:

Symposium with four panel sessions and Keynote Lecture

register-here-button9:30 am – 6:30 p.m. – four panel sessions and keynote lecture. Pre-registration is required, and there is a small fee.
Click here for details on each panel session.
The registration site is now open.

Panel 1 The Jewish Kitchen: History and Politics
Sit. Relax. We begin with a ‘nosh’ and conversation in the ‘kitchen’ (ok, we’re in a lecture hall, but we can pretend) with Jewish foodways scholars and writers to explore the core culinary ‘grammar’ of American Jewish cuisine that central and Eastern European Jewish immigrants adapted in the evolving consumer marketplace and racial landscapes of the United States.
Panel 2 The New American Deli: Reimagining Tradition
Take a number, and grab a seat. Two deli authorities—a visionary culinary entrepreneur and a historian—will consider the history and changing scene of the American Jewish delicatessen.
Panel 3 The Jewish Kitchen: Evolving Ingredients and Dishes
Have some more. Eat. Jewish foodways scholars and chefs discuss iconic foods and dishes at the center of Jewish American cuisine, examining the ways in which their preparation, consumption, commodification, region, and reinvention, have both nurtured and challenged Jewish social and religious cultural expression over time both at home and at restaurant tables.
Panel 4 The New American Deli, Global Southern-Style
You look hungry. Grab a pastrami biscuit.  Hear from an artisan pickler/preserver, our own Carrboro, NC-deli owners, and an African-American/Jewish culinary writer/historian as they consider the contemporary expression of Jewish global southern cuisine and its dynamic relation to taste, place, memory, race, cultural resilience, and creativity.
Keynote New York Times journalist Kim Severson will moderate an evening salon on contemporary American Jewish cuisine with special guests and James Beard award winners: Joan Nathan, author & NYT’s journalist, and Chef Alon Shaya of Shaya Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana.


FedExBuildingThe symposium will be held at the UNC FedEx Global Education Center, 301 Pittsboro Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516



News Release.UNCjewishfoodsymposium