Sometimes what you eat is more than an indulgence, it's a religious or ethical obligation. It's especially actual if talk about kosher food and Jewish cooking. People who are not acquainted with kosher cooking tradition often are very surprise to find various collections of recipes in Jewish cookbook for holidays and everyday.
Jewish cooking is a unique synthesis of cooking styles from the many places that Jews have lived throughout the centuries. Jewish cooking shows the influence of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, German and Eastern European styles of cooking, all influenced by the unique dietary constraints of kashrut and other Jewish laws.
However there are a lot of examples showing how native cultures influenced on Jewish cooking tradition. If take the cuisine of the Libyan Jews one can see that it is different from the local cuisine. In some dishes it borrows from Tunisian and Moroccan cooking, and it reflects Spanish origins. There are also many Italian dishes, undoubtedly influenced by the colonization.
Many of the foods that we think of as Jewish are not unique to Jewish culture. Stuffed cabbage, a traditional Jewish dish, is common in Eastern Europe. Blintzes and knishes are familiar to all Germans, not just Jewish ones. Falafel and hummus, increasingly thought of as Israeli-Jewish foods, can be found in any Greek restaurant. But the combination of these varied foods into one style of cooking, along with our own innovations, is uniquely Jewish.
There are descriptions of several traditional dishes. Challah is a special kind of bread used for Shabbat and holidays. It is a very sweet, golden, eggy bread. Any traditional Jewish meal begins with the breaking of bread. Gefilte Fish is a cake or ball of chopped up fish. A knish (the k and the n are both pronounced) is a sort of potato and flour dumpling stuffed with various things. Blintzes are basically Jewish crepes. Cholent (the "ch" is pronounced as in "chair" -- an exception to the usual rules of pronunciation) is a very slowly cooked stew of beans, beef, barley and sometimes potatoes. Holishkes are cabbage leaves stuffed with meatballs in a tomato-based sweet-and-sour sauce. Tzimmes is any kind of sweet stew. It usually is orange in color, and includes carrots, sweet potatoes and/or prunes. Kugel is another dish that encompasses several different things, and the relationship between them is hard to define. Also Jewish Apple Cake is very popular and beyond any doubt worth of trying.
As a rule the typical Jewish dish contains a large proportion of fat which when combined with cereal or vegetable fruits, nuts, sugar or honey, forms a dish supplying all the nourishment required for a well-balanced meal. Many of these dishes, when combined with meat,
require but a small proportion of same.
The Israeli table is composed of all the dishes from around the globe where Jews have been and still are. New ways of preparing old recipes combined with the ability to adopt new ingredients to old dishes alters the dish for contemporary Israel. To these cooking styles and more, Jews from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Yemen etc., have each made unique contributions to the national table. All Arabic countries have more or less the same dishes only sometimes different names and adding this or that herb or spice. It has such an influence on Israeli table that even the original names stayed the same.