Tag Archives: challah

Q&A: Bread vs. Rice

Dear Janet:

In my father-in-law’s family they always served rice instead of Challah for Shabbat. Is that an Izmir tradition? Victor thinks it is Sephardic; however, I’ve been to other Sephardic homes that I believed had Challah. I’ve tried to look up the history but have hit an end. I’d love it if you could assist. Thank you in advance. – Lael Hazan

Victor is partially right, Lael. Challah per se – the braided loaf – is not a Sephardic tradition, and as one of the most elemental staples of the Sephardic diet, rice is served on Shabbat as on most other days. If a Sephardic cook were to choose one over the other to serve the family, the choice would be a rice pilaf of some sort; the bread is the extra. We don’t think of rice as a bread substitute, nor vice versa.

That said, festive breads have a distinct place on the Sephardic table, Continue reading


Filed under History, Your Questions Answered