I used to think that what distinguished Jews from other people could be boiled down to the balance of food and alcohol at a festive occasion. A Jewish affair would have lots of food but little to drink — and no one complained about it. I now know that there are exceptions to this rule, and that the rule itself may be changing. Jewish kids, even if they spend Friday night at Hillel, are not unfamiliar with the Saturday night keg party. And Jewish drunks, which my grandfather said didn’t exist (ditto Jewish prostitutes), are now a recorded species.

Despite such assimilating trends, there still remains some support for my generalization that Jews are more into food than drink. Take an informal survey at the next bar mitzvah you attend and I guarantee that the Viennese table — the name for what is essentially a dessert bar — will be more… More…