This chapter focuses on the definition and characterization of Israeli cuisine. Based on interviews with dozens of chefs, restaurateurs, and food critics, and defying existing conventions of Israeli cuisine as an amalgam of diasporic Jewish cuisines, local produce, and (according to some) local Palestinian cuisine, the chapter argues that a defining element of Israeli food is large portions of “satisfying” dishes made from mediocre ingredients. Satiety, in this sense, is explained as a cultural rather than physiological trait. The implications of this tendency for excessive portions are discussed in personal, social, and national contexts. The chapter shows how the meanings Israelis attribute to their desire for large portions shed light on hidden aspects of contemporary Israeliness.
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