Jewish Food

Why do Jews eat dairy foods on Shavuot?

The Torah itself is compared to milk – "Honey and milk under your tongue"

The origins of this custom are grounded in the commemoration of the receiving of the Torah on this day. The Torah itself is compared to milk – “Honey and milk under your tongue” – and thus dairy products are symbolic of that great day of Sinai. The Jewish people after receiving the Torah could not eat meat products immediately, since the meat that they had was not prepared in accordance with the newly-given laws of the ritual of animal slaughter and the dietary laws. Hence they ate only dairy products on the day of revelation, the holiday of Shavuot.
A further source of the custom lay in the description in the Torah of the Land of Israel as being “a land that flows with milk and honey.” Thus, the dairy foods came not only to remind the Jewish people of the Torah given at Sinai, but also of their beloved homeland.
Here are two favorite Shavuot recipes of Gil Marks, the author of “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.”

Blintz Souffle
4 servings
l package frozen blintzes
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter or margarine in rectangular baking dish or melt and pour into dish. Arrange blintzes on top.
2. In a bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and orange juice. Pour over blintzes. Bake  in preheated 350 degree F. oven 35-40 minutes.
Serve immediately.
Cheese Latkes
1 cup drained cottage cheese
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
5 T. sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
oil for frying

1. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, milk, eggs and vanilla.
2. Add sugar, flour and baking powder and mix well.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop batter around pan with teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on size latkes you want. Fry on both sides until brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Top with jams or preserves or sour cream.

Source:; Gil Mark’s “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.”

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