Movie Review – In Search of Israeli Cuisine

by Gideon

My interest in food is limited to eating it. I enjoy good food, but have little interest in how it is made. I don’t watch cooking shows. When I taste something really good I never ask for the recipe.

The movie’s title caught my eye when I scanned the new arrivals category on Netflix. The “Israeli” part of the title attracted my attention. I paused for a moment wondering if I really want to spend ninety minutes watching a movie about food preparation. I hesitated, not sure what to do. Curiosity won and I pressed the “select” option. I hoped that it won’t end up being a boring documentary movie.

The movie was really good!!!

I spent the next ninety minutes watching a wonderful movie about the Israeli society with all its fascinating aspects. I didn’t want it to end.

On the movie’s website it says that “In Search of Israeli Cuisine is a portrait of the Israeli people told through food. The feature length documentary puts a face on the culture of Israel, profiling chefs, home cooks, vintners, and cheese-makers drawn from the more than one hundred cultures that make up Israel today – Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze. A rich and human story of the people emerges.”

It is true.  However, there’s more to this movie. It is a great introduction to the Israeli society with all its complexity, its charm, its evolution, its history, its hope, and aspiration. Through the preparation of various cuisines, we get to know the Israeli society; a mosaic unlike any other in the world.

Rotten Tomatoes, an American review website for film and television gave it a rating of 92% with an audience score of 100%. Rotten Tomatoes says about the movie the following:

“Through scenes that are mostly cinema verité–interviews, farms, markets, restaurants, kitchens, landscapes, and history–audiences will discover that this hot, multi-cultural cuisine has developed only in the last 30 years. In that short time, Israel went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the most advanced. Its sophistication mirrors the current state of the Israeli people and their food: secular, outward looking and innovative.”  

Roger Sherman, the movie director said about the motivation for the movie:

“I wanted to go to Paris. I didn’t really think about Israel as a destination. But my friend Joan Nathan, who writes Jewish American cookbooks, called and said ‘I’m leading a food press tour and somebody cancelled, you should come.’ …I was knocked out by what I saw, what I ate, and how gorgeous the country is. Israel has a food scene that I had no clue about, a restaurant scene that rivals New York or San Francisco; it has mountains and desert, and a beach that runs the length of the country…When I came back, people laughed when I said Israeli cuisine was this big thing — 350 international wines, cheeses you thought you could only get in Italy or France. I thought, ‘This would be a great film.’” (The Daily Meal)

 “Americans see Israelis and Palestinians as always in conflict. Those are not the people of Israel for the most part. ‘The Search for Israeli Cuisine’ will show the 70+ cultures that make up the Israeli people, each with wonderful and unique food traditions. Israel has one of the hottest food scenes in the world. Getting into restaurants in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is as difficult as New York or San Francisco. Viewers will be amazed and impressed.” (IMDb – an American movie review website)

If you want to learn more about Israel, its food, its people, and its cuture, this movie is made for you.