The Big Jewish Nosh Fest

Ellie Ruhan prepares a quick and easy sephardi fish dish at the Big Jewish Nosh Fest. Howard Lee is far right.
Ellie Ruhan prepares a quick and easy sephardi fish dish at the Big Jewish Nosh Fest. Howard Lee is far right.

One of the brilliant things about living here in Leeds, the throbbing heart of Yorkshire, (and therefore the world) is the cultural richness of the city and surrounding areas. And when that culture comes served on a plate, I’m definitely up for a nibble.

With a title like the The Big Jewish Nosh Fest, it was a case of waiting for breakfast to settle, then high-tailing it over to the Etz Chaim Synagogue  to try out the One Stop Nosh Cafe where hopefully there would be chicken soup and matzo balls to go with the brisket and apple pie which defined the boundaries of my experience of Jewish food.

The place was heaving, though we arrived just in time for the first cookery demonstration, where the guest of honour, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, was on the gentle end of that wonderful Jewish humour that I was hoping would be served up along with the food.

“So the Lord Mayor visited our old folk’s home where he met the oldest resident, 103 she was, 103, I tell you, that’s a grand old age,” our compere Howard Lee told us in general and the Lord Mayor in particular.

“He bent down and spoke to her, ‘do you know who I am?’ he asked. She looked at him.  ‘Feh, if you don’t know who you are, go to reception, they’ll tell you!’

Great humour, great cooking, though we missed the Hairy Bakers and the Viennese strudel prepared by Jewish Mum of the Year, Sandi Firth. The Israeli wine was good, as was the spiel that went with it, but we were soaking in the atmosphere as we were offered a selection of meats. The older man beside us exclaimed, ‘how much?’  to be told ‘for you it’s nothing, in fact it’s less than nothing.’. Warmth, food, humour, fantastic!

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