Baker’s Grocery at 931 Park Street, Columbia, SC

Baker’s Grocery at 931 Park Street, Columbia, SC

Why Kugels & Collards?

Food can tell a story. Delicious aromas, the taste of a special spice, a china pattern used for a holiday dinner can elicit memories, take us back to a particular time and place, and define a moment in history for us.

Why a blog devoted specifically to Jewish cooking memories? Because, our responses to sights, smells, tastes can help us tell our stories. Even today, when my kids come home and a brisket is cooking, they immediately know it is their grandmother Mimi’s brisket recipe. From those wonderful aromas wafting through our house, stories about Mimi’s Rosh Hashana dinners come pouring out. Great memories abound.

Columbia, South Carolina, is a town that relishes its Southern food culture. This focus on food is multiplied in the Southern Jewish home.  The “Southern” part of that identity was often embodied in the local cultures that define Southern cooking, among them African-American influences in traditional Southern cooking (minus the pork in vegetables!) combined with traditional Jewish recipes, many from our immigrant great-grandparents and grandparents.  A “Southern Jewish” food culture emerged. It is not unusual to have collard greens – a Southern staple that has its roots in the African-American culture - alongside fried chicken, “Jewish” brisket, tsimmes, rice, black-eye peas and the omnipresent kugel (noodle pudding) at a dinner table! Kugels and collards co-exist on the Southern Jewish table easily and are symbolic of the intertwining of our food cultures.

Kugels and Collards was born out of our interest in studying the history of these merging Southern and Jewish elements in our food ways in Columbia, South Carolina. Our hope is through recipes and memories we can collect, preserve, and share this special history with our readers.

Recent Recipes

Kugels & Collards Southern Jewish Food and Culture Blog is brought to you by the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative.

Historic Columbia in partnership with the College of Charleston’s Jewish Heritage Collection, the Jewish Community Center and Columbia Jewish Federation, the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina and the Richland County Library,  established the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative in 2014 - a multi-discipline project, which documents as well as provides access to and awareness of local Jewish History.

Two members of the CJHI Rachel Gordin Barnett and Lyssa Kligman Harvey have an interest in all things to do with their Southern Jewish History. You might say that they are interested in anything specific to Jewish history and culture in South Carolina…especially food! Rachel grew up in Summerton, SC and Lyssa in Columbia, SC. They both reside in Columbia, SC and have been instrumental in preserving Jewish History for the state. Rachel is a past president of the Jewish Historical Society of SC and Lyssa a past chair of the Jewish Cultural Arts of the Jewish Historical Society and of the Columbia Jewish Community Center. Both of their families are long time South Carolinians. Both of their mothers were born and raised in Charleston and passed down recipes of their Jewish heritage. Rachel and Lyssa realize the stories that surround food and food culture are one of the best ways to preserve memory about the past and to honor the present culture.

Historic Columbia is providing support for this unique endeavor. They believe this creative food blog will engage Columbia and South Carolina in many ways to remember their Jewish past and celebrate their present culture.

Many thanks to Robin Waites, Ex. Director of Historic Columbia for her enthusiastic leadership in this project. Also, thank you to Brian Harmon and Katharine Allen for their creativity, administrative and historic research support for Kugels & Collards. They have been the test kitchen for many recipes that have been posted to the blog!

More about the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative

Since 2015, the initiative has collected more than 45 interviews with members of the Jewish community; created a print walking tour brochure with 34 sites and a web-based tour with expanded audio-visual content that currently features 42 sites; and installed three South Carolina Historical Markers at Jewish sites with great cultural and historical significance. To learn more, CLICK HERE.