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The Friday 5: Top Jewish Food Remedies & Superstitions

Kein ayin hora and knock on wood–we Jews have carried some old school superstitions with us throughout the diaspora, and many of them lead right into the kitchen. Here's how to save yourself from the common cold and the evil … Read More

By / November 30, 2007

Kein ayin hora and knock on wood–we Jews have carried some old school superstitions with us throughout the diaspora, and many of them lead right into the kitchen. Here's how to save yourself from the common cold and the evil eye, not to mention ensure your fertility and keep your pantry full, all by employing the use of common kitchen staples.

Chicken Soup: Not just for the soul, this traditional remedy known as "Jewish Penicillin" is more than just superstition. Studies have shown that it may actually "contain substances with beneficial activity including an anti-inflammatory effect that could ease the symptoms of colds and other upper respiratory infections." Sounds like your mom (not to mention all of her female ancestors) was right.

Break That Bread: This is an old, general superstition. Never eat from a piece of bread over which you have recited a berakah before first cutting it in two. Why not? Because otherwise, evil spirits might trouble your digestion. Bread is also traditionally brought with salt to welcome someone to a new house. 

Something in the Oven: This kitchen superstition, which is said to have originated in Minsk, insists that you always keep something–anything–in your oven. If it's ever left empty, you run the risk of not have anything to cook or bake when you really need it. In order to avoid this hungry fate, people historically kept a piece of wood in an empty oven.

Good Eggs, Bad Eggs: The good news is, if a woman eats an egg with a double yoke, she'll be blessed with many offspring. The bad news is, if you steal an egg, you'll face seven years of poverty.

The Garlic Method: Eat lots of this bulb to ward of evil spirits (and everyone else in your shtetl). Garlic and red ribbons have also been placed on cribs to protect babies from the evil eye.

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