Let’s face it: Israelis think they invented everything. Everything! Stents? It was us. Cherry tomatoes? Us again. Disc on key? Yup. Sliced bread? Sure. And don’t forget rice (and God!).
But when it comes to soup mandel, we may have taken it a bit too far. While the Yiddishe name implies that this godly creation was made for chicken soup, which we invented (hey, we invented chickens!) the old mameloshen name also means that the roots of the mandel are in Europe and not in Israel.
Well, this may be the case, but we Israelis have improved it. Our shkedei marak (“soup almonds,” in Hebrew) are smaller, baked and not fried, and so shiny yellow that you may want to put on sunglasses before you eat them. Up until not too long ago, this was due to frightening contents of something that gave Israeli shkedei marak a lovely look of nuclear waste. Now it is all natural (but still more than 25 percent fat)—7,000 tiny, crunchy squares of yellow happiness in every package.
Gil Hovav is an Israeli food personality and the author of Candies From Heaven.