Laurel Herman
Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, Ancestral Foods
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When the going gets antisemitic, the tough make soup

The antisemites who were hiding in plain sight are no longer hiding. And I am left wondering how anyone who loves food could be so hateful
Curried Carrot Coconut Ginger Soup 
Photo by Laurel Herman
Curried Carrot Coconut Ginger Soup, Photo credit Laurel Herman

I found myself the other day in a bad space with a particular online conversation. I rarely if ever initiate/approach someone who posts something questionable or blatant for that matter. I never initiate with them, but I did this time. Admittedly, I am not thick-skinned. We have our Jewish mishpocha, everyone in the Jewish world is family, rooting for each other every chance we get. We need each other, (and our allies) to counteract all the evil we see around us. I cling to that. It is manna for us.

Yes, there is a recipe at the bottom of the page. But first a word from our local antisemite.

This experience shook me. Pure hate, Real hate. Maybe it was under the surface until now.

Good vs. Evil. There is no middle. Antisemitism can lurk in some odd places ya know?

It is one thing interacting online with strangers who may be bots, who knows? We forget that our Facebook and Instagram friends are not really our real life friends. And even though I met the person in this post once, I don’t interact with him on the regular, if at all. He is a food writer and has a large audience. I am told the food scene as with other groups here is not as supportive as I would like to think. Many foodies are antisemitic. They’re our neighbors, coworkers, they are the enemy hiding in plain sight. Except they are no longer hiding. I no longer give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

I have often wondered how anyone who loves food could be so hateful. Then I remember the Arab female chef I used to follow, gleefully handing out sweets and celebrating October 7th. I find it difficult when someone likes my food photos or recipes, and then posts “free Palestine.” What do I do with that? “Welcome to the new America,” as one Jewish friend put it.

“My daughter doesn’t feel safe on campus.” That is what I began with. The following quote is from this person: “Hate speech is excusing genocide and then using imaginary antisemitism to pretend to be the victim.”

I did something I should have never done. I countered his social media post singing the praises of the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) graduation walk-out, unbeknownst to me, how he might respond. One of the kids walking out was carrying a “globalize the intifada” sign. When I sent a photo, I was told the photo was photoshopped. Antisemitism on campus and in our immediate communities is like an uncontrolled cancer. This incident is a mere drop in the bucket to what many of you get on the daily. I mentioned Columbia, Jewish students being barred and the violence there.

This was his response: “No Jewish kids were barred from campus there either. But I’ve certainly seen videos of Jewish Activists acting out and being completely ignored while they call the police, claiming to being harassed. It’s not helping their narrative, and neither are you.”

Really? This is the face of antisemitism.

He continued, “I’ve been very engaged with what’s happening on campus and the reoccurring theme is not anti-Jew but anti genocide. There is a difference.”

READ THAT AGAIN. IMAGINARY ANTISEMITISM? Dude, YOU are a Jew hater, and you don’t get to define this. Obviously, you haven’t really been following, or you would know the definition of genocide. Classic virtue-signaler.

Thank you for showing me who you are.

They deny the Holocaust. They deny October 7th, the rapes and beheadings. And now they deny there is antisemitism? That’s a new one for me. I thought I’d seen everything. This is in my backyard. I wanted to vomit. I cried a lot.

And then I made soup.

* * *

Curried Carrot Coconut Ginger Soup

Don’t ask how much this serves, we’re Jewish. Enough for your family and some for a friend who could use a nice bowl of soup.


2 lbs organic carrots washed, peeled and cut into small, even pieces

1 medium onion, diced

2 inches fresh ginger

1 tablespoon good curry powder (I like Frontier Natural Co Op)

1 1/2 qts veggie or chicken stock (this can be made vegan)

1 can coconut milk

Cilantro for garnish, or a bissel yogurt

Sauté the onions in a little olive oil, in a heavy bottom 3-quart pot. Add in the curry (more if you like) and the fresh ginger. Sauté for about two-to-three minutes on medium heat. Add in the carrots. Make sure they are coated with the curry. Add in the broth and cook until the carrots are tender. Turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk. Either blend with a hand blender or cool first, if using a food processor. Salt and pepper to taste.

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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