A Podcast on Jewish Food:
Its Culture and History

beth-schenker-the-big-schmearThanks for visiting the Web site for The Big Schmear, a new podcast all about Jewish food. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be posting two new episodes on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. I hope you visit my Web site often and while you’re here please let me know what you think of The Big Schmear, share your favorite Jewish food restaurants, your favorite Jewish food cookbooks, and tell us anything else about Jewish food you find interesting. Of course, I hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the episodes. If you’d like to email me my address is: beth@thebigschmear.com

Happy Listening!
Beth Schenker
Host, The Big Schmear

Coming Soon!

Join me for Part 2 of my conversation with Sonat Birnecker Hart from Koval Distillery. We even take you on a bit of a tour through the distillery.


Latest Episodes: 20 Episodes & Counting!

Liz Alpern of The Gefilteria talks Gefilte Fish and More!

Episode 8


Liz Alpern


Gefilte Fish and More!

Beth meets up with Liz Alpern of The Gefilteria at a fantastic food demo in Detroit, Michigan. It’s part of the 2nd Annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival. The conversation with Liz covers lots about food pivots, her path to becoming a foodie and gefilte fish as an intro into old world Jewish foods.



The 2nd Annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival 007

Episode 007


Guest: Hazon

It’s a Food Festival!

Beth goes to Detroit, Michigan to check-out the 2nd Annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival. The festival is put on by Hazon. The word Hazon means vision. Hazon is an entry point and ongoing resource for individuals and institutions to engage in Jewish life and create a more sustainable world for all through Jewish outdoor, food, farming and environmental education. Hazon aims to point the Jewish community outwards to create change locally and nationally. They welcome participants of all religious backgrounds and none.


Traveling through Jewish Food History with Joan Nathan, Continued

Episode 6

Guest: Joan Nathan

Traveling through Jewish Food History

Award winning cookbook author Joan Nathan is back to share some food stories with Beth from her new cookbook King Solomon’s Table. They talk about blueberries and the discovery of a Toronto recipe that had its roots in Poland, Yemenite Shabbat chicken soup, and the latest Jewish food trend- Israeli food.


Traveling through Jewish Food History with Joan Nathan

Episode 5


Guest: Joan Nathan

Traveling through Jewish Food History with Joan Nathan

Award winning cookbook author Joan Nathan joins Beth to talk about her path to Jewish food writing with roots in anthropology and Israel. She shares stories about her travels and the research she did about the history of Jewish food for her newest cookbook King Solomon’s Table. Joan even finds time to share a family Passover story.

Joan Nathan is the author of numerous cookbooks including the James Beard and IACP Award winners Jewish Cooking in America and The New American Cooking, which also received the Julia Child Award for Best Cookbook of the Year. She was the host of the nationally syndicated PBS television series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on the book. A frequent contributor to The New York TimesTablet magazine, and other publications, Nathan is the recipient of numerous awards, and she received an honorary doctorate from the Spertus institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. A founding member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, she was also appointed to the Kitchen Cabinet of the National Museum of American History. Nathan graduated from the University of Michigan with a masters degree in French literature and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.

The Breakfast Queen, Continued

Episode 4


Guest: Ina Pinkney

The Breakfast Queen, Continued

In this episode, Ina talks about her favorite Jewish foods, including some that are her own guilty pleasures and some that found their way into her restaurant. She also shares what she considers to be absolute necessities to have in her own kitchen.  And best of all, Ina reads from her cookbook: the book  is not only filled with wonderful recipes from the restaurant and has beautiful photos of her amazing food, it’s also a memoir of her long career in the restaurant business that is filled with personal stories and anecdotes that tell us as much about the food as they do about Ina.


The Breakfast Queen

Episode 3


Guest: Ina Pinkney

The Breakfast Queen

In this episode of The Big Schmear we meet Ina Pinkney, an amazing entrepreneur and restaurant owner, from her first flourless chocolate cake delivery service to the opening of her iconic breakfast eatery in Chicago. Ina’s made breakfast an entirely new experience in Chicago and it was THE place to go to break the fast, celebrate important life events, family Passover Seders or just enjoy the best breakfast in town.