When in Luxembourg, do as the Luxembourgers do and order a plate of — wait for it — “Judd mat Gaardebounen,” literally “Jew with Beans.” You’ll get smoked pork collar with broad beans, usually served with beer or wine and boiled potatoes fried in bacon. It’s hardly kosher. So how did the country’s most traditional dish get its deeply uncomfortable name?
Nobody’s sure about the origin of the word. There’s speculation that “judd” comes from the Spanish “judía” for bean. The linguist Jean-Claude Muller says that in Galicia, there is also a dish of pork and beans called judía pronounced “chudía.” Muller thinks Spanish troops brought the dish to Luxembourg during the 16th or 17th centuries.
Others think that the similarity between “judia” and “judd” is not just coincidence, and the dark color of the beans reminded some of the dark skin of the Spanish Jews.
Ask a Luxembourger and you’ll be told that it’s not offensive to share a name with a dish. Do Hamburgers care that there’s a delicious sandwich with their name? Do Berliners mind being called jelly doughnuts? Either way, unlike with the jewfish, there’s no campaign to rename “Judd mat Gaardebounen.”
June 2, 2017