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Have you ever heard of Schmaltz? Schmalz, Smalec or Shmalz? Schmaltz is a clever way Central European Jews or Ashkenazi Jews coped without olive oil in the cold and remote regions of Poland and Ukraine. Schmaltz is rendered and clarified chicken or goose fat. It is commonly used as an oil for frying similar to lard or used for dunking dark and hearty pieces of bread. The savory treat is common in Central European cuisine still. More than just a foodstuff, there is also an old association between clarified goose fat and good luck.

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1. Why Schmaltz?

Jewish culture dictates that individuals practicing the faith must follow the prohibitions of the Kashrut which is strict or a kosher diet. The Jews are forbidden from mixing meat with dairy products by the Kashrut. Central Europeans Jews didn't have easy access to olive oil which was traditionally part of their diet in the Middle East. They had to get creative and find another way to fry meats and vegetables.

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