Through the generations, virtually every Jewish holiday has been distinguished by special foods related to its specific stories and meaning. There are differences between the dishes enjoyed by Jewish families of Ashkenazi (European) and Sephardic (Middle Eastern, North African, or Spanish) descent. But today, Israelis can feast on the best of all worlds, partaking in meat-stuffed "cigars" on Sabbaths, cheese blintzes on Shavuot (Pentecost) and potato latkes on Hanukkah!
Since Israel was reborn in 1948, new culinary traditions have emerged. A good example of this is the customary Independence Day picnic in the countryside, typically complete with shishlik, kebob -- or American-style steak. These main courses are often accompanied by tehina and hummus, Middle Eastern favorites.