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The path to Hebrew language fluency goes through the kitchen

Image by Tori Avey

The path to Hebrew language fluency is long and twisted, with countless stops along the way related to topics such as politics, foreign policy, Judaism, and economics. These and other core topics of Hebrew language study are no doubt an integral part of obtaining fluency; however, it’s hard to imagine any topic that can simultaneously integrate audio, visual, and reading comprehension aspects together as well as food. Moreover, what better way to connect with a country’s culture than by experiencing its cuisine. After more than a decade of pursuing fluency in the Hebrew language through university, independent study, and professional pursuits, it’s become clear that the path to Hebrew language fluency passes through the kitchen.

The key to getting the most bang for your buck when studying food in Hebrew is to find a recipe and related instructional cooking video on YouTube, from which you can extract the key vocabulary words. Chances are that the recipe will contain nearly identical vocabulary to the cooking video because let’s face it, how many ways can you possibly filet a fish? One of the great benefits of watching a Hebrew-language cooking video is that it combines video and audio cues as you hear and watch the speaker describe and carry out their actions. This method provides the “glue” to make the critical vocabulary stick in your mind. Moreover, Israeli cooking shows are prolific on YouTube. If you can think of a dish that you’re interested in exploring in Hebrew, there is a high likelihood that you can easily find an online recipe as well as an associated instructional video.

Every month at Foreigncy we try to produce a food-related Hebrew lesson that incorporates these methods. You can find these lessons by going to our Hebrew lesson page and using our filter tool to select “Food”. Some of our stand-out lessons can be found below:

How to make Yemenite beef soup

Perfect tabbouleh 

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