This talk with Hélène Jawhara Piñer will delve into the love story of Jewish food and its history in Spain through her books Sephardi and Jews, Food and Spain, focusing on the construction and evolution of the food of the Jews in the long-term. Piñer will underscore how the history of Spain, mainly during the Inquisition, shaped the culinary practices of the Jewish conversos and give an understanding of Jewish history through the analysis of the important role played by food habits.

Hélène Jawhara Piñer holds a doctoral degree in Medieval History and the History of Food. She has lectured at Bar-Ilan University of Tel Aviv, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Casa de Velázquez of Madrid, the Weitzman national museum of Philadelphia, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded the Broome and Allen Fellowship of the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) in 2018 and the David Gitlitz Emerging Scholar Prize of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies in 2021.

She is a research associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance (UMR 7323 of the French National Center for Scientific Research). Dr. Jawhara-Piñer’s main research interest is the medieval culinary history of Spain through inter and multiculturalism, with a special focus on the Jewish culinary heritage until the early modern period. Her articles are published in various international revues like Meldar of the University Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla, Spain), Ladinar of the University of Bar-Ilan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), eHumanista of the University of California (Santa Barbara, USA), Conceφtos (University of Bordeaux-Montaigne, France). Since 2022, she is a member of the Foodish Advisory Board of ANU Museum (Tel Aviv, Israel).

She is the author of the historical cookbook Sephardi: Cooking the History. Recipes of the Jews of Spain and the Diaspora from the 13th century to Today, which relevance has been highlighted by the Los Angeles Times, El País and the Jewish Book Council. It has also been translated into Spanish Sefardí: Cocinar la historia. In 2021, the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Prize awarded her for Best Jewish Cuisine Book for “Sephardi.”

She also publishes an academic book Jews, Food and Spain. The oldest Medieval Spanish cookbook and the Sephardic culinary heritage whose foreword is written by Paul Freedman (University of Yale). This book was finalist of the Jewish Book Awards in the “Sephardic Culture” category, in 2023.

She led the culinary live shows “Sephardic Culinary History with chef Hélène Jawhara Piñer”, 13 sessions promoted by the ASF & The Center of Jewish History. Since 2022, she is a member of the Foodish Advisory Board of ANU Museum (Tel Aviv). Her forthcoming cookbook Matza and Flours. Recipes from the History of the Sephardic Jews will be available for Fall 2024.

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