Hide That Bread; The Passover Police Are Watching

Security guards at building entrances may be a common sight in Israel, but for one week every year, they search bags for something much less dangerous than weapons—sandwiches.

During the week of Passover, observant Jews do not consume chametz, or leavened food. Since the holiday commemorates the story of the Israelites' hasty departure from ancient Egypt, the rule prohibits any food made of grain and water granted time to ferment and "rise." (See The Crummy History of Matzoh.) Religious people do not eat bread, cereal, cake, cookies. Some also avoid legumes, like beans, peas, lentils, although American views on this have recently expanded.

But Israel has no separation between religion and state. A special Chametz Law exists for Passover, which states: "A business owner will not ...

One Man’s Quest to Keep the Jaffa Orange Alive

Once Israel’s most famous export, hardly any Jaffa oranges are grown today, for reasons both political and agricultural. But one farmer in Northern Israel refuses to give up.

Chaim Tzehori pulls out his pocket knife to expertly dissect an orange–sweet, thick-skinned and oval-shaped. He proudly offers me the fruit of his labor as we visited in his orchard earlier this spring.

Some of his oranges dot the orchard floor, signaling the nearness of the season’s end. Chaim, now 87, planted these shamouti trees himself 50 years ago in 1965, and while he still climbs the ladders himself to harvest the fruit, he knows his time among the trees will someday come ...

Who Invented the First Modern Restaurant?

Legend has it that a soup salesman named Boulanger opened the first modern restaurant 250 years ago in Paris. But when one historian went looking for proof, she found things were not so clear.

Back in the 18th century, few city-dwellers had the means for personal kitchens at home. So before a brasserie sprung up on every corner, they ate from communal platters laid out for inn guests or bought oysters and such from street vendors. If they had a little more time and money to spend, they could visit multiple traiteurs (cook caterers) specialized in particular trades or guilds, like roasting meat or baking bread.

Everything changed with Monsieur Boulanger ...

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