Laurel Herman
Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, Ancestral Foods

Black and White Cookies, a Culinary Metaphor for Antisemitism

Gluten free Black and White cookies photo credit Laurel Herman
Food as Metaphor

“The very first thing I saw this morning was a quote from Elie Weisel. “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Food as Metaphor I have always seen food as metaphors,  Black and White cookies ( I just made these last week) are not called Black, White and Grey cookies for a reason. I was recently challenged by a lesbian couple, ” We hurt for all sides” but continued posting things like ” but I didn’t see photos of the beheaded babies”. That is simply not going to fly with me, on so many levels. I was Jewsplained  by someone who proceeded to lecture me on  Jewish history but could only go back 50 years. I was infuriated but not surprised. I hope this is the last time I mention them, they are gone from my circle. There is a right and wrong. Young people tearing down posters believing they are propaganda is just mind numbing to me. Denial, maybe they think that is the name of the river Jordan in their chants.

Baking/cooking is a process. In its simplest terms, it is building one ingredient upon another to create a finished product. In my mind it has always been preparation ( mise en place) and assembly. Make the batter, adding one ingredient at a time, then  bake the cookies. Cool the cookies. Frost one side, let it set, then frost the next side. It takes time and patience. There is no grey area. Baking differs from cooking as it is chemistry. Measurements matter. Cooking  uses  recipes, baking uses formulas.

Black and White Cookies Photo credit Laurel Herman

One thing I appreciate: I appreciate those who although have been silent, not saying anything on a subject they have no personal relation to. Better to shut up and let us do what we need to do. Thank you for that. What I really appreciate, are those few individuals, who are in my life that want to learn. One wonderful Black man, a dearest friend not afraid to have the uncomfortable conversations, you know who are. We have always based our friendship on that.

Back to baking: I have said many times that what and how you add ingredients  to your mixing bowl is crucial to the outcome of the dish. It can be good ingredients, or it can be poison. In relation to the war, Hamas meticulously curated the most harmful ingredients to its cookie batter. Disinformation, lies, unimaginable cruelty, grooming, posturing, buzz words like colonizer, genocide, oppressor’ narrative, occupation, and ethnic cleansing. This is the perfect antisemitic formula.  

All under the guise of a delicious cookie, that people couldn’t resist biting into, the perfect poison. People whose ancestors or communities were oppressed jumped on the bandwagon and got in line to eat the poison cookies. They created a Black and White cookie of sorts. Let not forget the denial of the horrific rape and mutilation  of Israeli women. They frosted the cookie with that. 

The cookies I made were different, they were  delicious. My ingredients, apart from the pasture raised eggs, were gluten free flour, vegan butter, and whatever else went in there. The ingredients and the intention were pure. The original recipe is for @goodforyouglutenfree. I made some edits such as using apple cider vinegar and vegan butter to the recipe. It can easily be found online. It has integrity. There is a right and wrong, a good vs evil. And that’s what this is all about. No one can tell our story but us, the Jewish people. I tell mine through food. 

I could go on, but for now the day before Thanksgiving, I give thanks for family, good friends, and great gluten formulas.

About the Author
Laurel Herman is a Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, and Culinary Medicine practitioner, residing in Richmond, Virginia. A classically trained chef in the European style( Thames Valley University, London, U.K. and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition) Her style is anything but classic, its fun, and relaxed. Laurel's passion is bringing people together through food goes back to growing up in a home which welcomed everyone. She has taught at various venues throughout the Richmond area. Now retired, but never from the love of food, active on Instagram Laurel also loves doing her podcast Chai talk with Laurel on Spotify. Her books, The Blissed Out Chef was published in 2015 and the Inner Kitchen, Balboa press in 2011.
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