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Sephardic Cooking Traditions – Beyhan Çagri Trock

Sephardic Foodways
Bethesda, Maryland

Sephardic Cooking Traditions - Beyhan Cagri TrockThe Washington, D.C., area is home to a small but vibrant Sephardic community of about 12,000 people. Like other Sephardic Jews, they are descended from Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, and their culture incorporates Spanish, North African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern customs. The D.C. area’s first Sephardic Jews arrived from Turkey and Greece in 1914. A larger wave immigrated in the years immediately following World War II. Among these was National Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda, who brought with her generations' worth of Sephardi songs as well as the cultural traditions of the Balkan region. She not only maintains a unique linguistic and musical heritage, she builds on it by composing and arranging new Sephardic songs. Sephardic tradition is more than music, however. The Sephardi maintain a longstanding tradition of distinctive foodways. Much like Sephardic music, Sephardic food takes on many variations, bringing together ingredients from across the globe. Traditional Sephardic food customs thrive in the homes of Washingtonians such as Beyhan Cağri Trock. Trock’s Jewish mother (Beti) and Muslim father (Zeki) immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s, bringing with them an incredibly rich culture, history, and cuisine. Her critically acclaimed book, The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl, includes recipes from her mother and her aunt Ida Dana, who immigrated from Turkey in the 1960s.