Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Tzimmes a Jewish culinary term thus described by Claudia Roden (1996) as:

a general term for a sweet vegetable or meat dish. Just as Oriental Sephardi Jews inherited a taste for meat with fruit from tenth century Baghdad, Ashkenazi Jews acquired similar tastes in medieval Germany.

Roden remarks that in Yiddish lore sliced carrots are associated with gold coins, and carrot tzimmes (glazed with honey) is a dish which is eaten as a symbol of prosperity at Rosh Hashana (the New Year). However, meat-and-prune tzimmes is probably the most popular. Roden states that S. African Jews of Lithuanian origin seem particularly fond of it, and that it is often eaten at a harvest festival. Because of the festive image of these dishes, the word tzimmes has acquired the colloquial meaning of ‘a big fuss’.