My college roommate Avi (quite possibly my favorite Jew on the planet) and I are very fond of quoting this line from the classic Bette Midler/Barbara Hershey film Beaches: "I'm your only ethnic friend!" Ethnic friends are the best friends—for their high tolerance of idiosyncrasy and loud volume, yes, but mostly for introducing your palate to new flavors and cuisine. A toast to my beloved Jews for exposing me to the world of savory kugels, poppy-seed hamantaschen, potato knishes, cream cheese on matzoh, and, of course, challah.

Challah is a dense, yet fluffy, sweet, eggy, and yeasty bread that lends itself to ripping apart instead of slicing. (I've been told that in some families, tradition mandates that the challah not only be torn apart, but pieces be thrown across the table at diners, which I love.) Non-Jews take note: Challah makes terrific French toast, tastes great with tuna fish, and also with mustard, a piece of ham, and a fried egg. Challah needs plenty of time to rise but is widely available, so pick up a loaf at any of the local bakeries on the right.