They’ve been here for almost a thousand years but most people in Britain are unfamiliar with their cuisine. Although Jews first arrived in Britain in 1070 at the invitation of William the Conqueror, with the exception of Smoked Salmon bagels and Salt Beef sandwiches, their culinary tradition is hardly known.
Jewish cuisine may well be the world’s most nomadic, with dishes from its broad range of communities: Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European); Sephardi (descendants of the Iberian Jews including Italian, Greek, Turkish and Balkan); Mizrahi (North African, including Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian and Libyan); Judeo-Arab (Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi); Persian Jewish; Yemenite Jewish; Indian Jewish and Latin-American Jewish. And since the establishment of the State of Israel, a nascent Israeli ‘fusion cuisine’ has also developed.
Its name inspired by the date when Jews first arrived in this country, 1070 is Britain’s first food brand celebrating the world of Jewish cuisine.
AS JEWISH AS FISH N’ CHIPS
In 1860, Joseph Malin, a 13-year old Jewish boy living in London’s East End, had the bright idea of combining fried fish with chips. Joseph’s family were rug weavers and to increase the family income they began frying chips in a downstairs room of their house. It was Joseph’s idea to combine the chips – at that point a novelty in London – with fish from a nearby fried fish shop.
Fried fish already had a long history in London – in a letter written at the end of the eighteenth century, future American President Thomas Jefferson described eating ‘fried fish in the Jewish fashion’ on a visit to the capital. Battered fried fish had first arrived in London some 200 years earlier in the form of Pescado Frito with Sephardi Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain. So Britain’s most popular take-away can trace its Jewish roots.