We Have a New Guest Chef – Dolly Aizenman

Lovely and vivacious Jeanne has graciously invited me to be a guest on her terrific blog. She even called me a Chef – how could I refuse?

The Secret of Happiness: Chicken Pastrami

The famous Maggid (Storyteller) of Mezeritch had an unusual visitor. An elegantly dressed man who had arrived in a splendid carriage, confided, “I am rich as Croesus, I have a wonderful wife and healthy, smart, beautiful children, yet I am profoundly unhappy, overcome with sadness. Please help me, Rabbi!”

A hundred years before Dr Freud invented psychotherapy and almost two hundred years before psychiatrists started prescribing Wellbutrin, the Maggid did the next best thing; he advised his distressed visitor to  go to Anipoli (Hannopil), find the happiest man in town, and wear his coat. By evening, driven by fast horses, the fancy carriage reached Anipoli. Anxiously, the driver stopped every passerby and enquired about the happiest man until he was directed to a dilapidated shack on the outskirts of the town, the home of Reb Zushe.  Approaching the door, the wealthy gentleman heard joyful singing. Upon entering, he saw Reb Zushe dancing and singing with abandon.

“This is certainly not only the happiest man in this little town, but also the happiest man I have ever seen! – he exclaimed – Can I borrow your coat for just a moment, dear sir?”

“But I don’t have a coat,” – apologized Reb Zushe and continued dancing.

Contrary to a poor, miserable rich man in this parable, the ancient Greek king Croesus, the protagonist of this delightful Baroque opera, who lived in sixth century BCE, did consider himself the happiest man on earth. According to historian Herodotus’ Histories, he once showed his incredible riches to philosopher Solon and asked the sage who the happiest man in the world was, looking, like many people, for validation of his own beliefs. Great was his disappointment when Solon calmly replied that three people are much happier than the king whose name has become proverbial as a symbol of immense wealth: a young man who died fighting for his country and two brothers who have demonstrated exceptional filial devotion to their mother. To Croesus’ outraged, “But why?!” Solon explained that wealth cannot be a measure of happiness because of fickleness of fortune, thus the happiness of any person could be judged only after his death. To prove the point, Croesus’ fortune plays a cruel game with him when his son dies in a tragic accident, his wife commits suicide, and finally, he is burned alive, having lost his country and his treasures to Persian king Cyrus.

I don’t know about you, Beautiful People, but my vote goes to Reb Zushe!

Both Reb Zushe with his brother, the famed Reb Elimelech, and King Croesus traveled extensively, yet the poor, but happy brothers traveled throughout Eastern European towns and villages on foot, sharing their wisdom wherever they went, while the gravely mistaken king, obviously, thundered across his land in an elaborate bronze chariot. Yet they could have, probably, carried the same kind of traveling food, pastirma, which in Greek meant “dried meat,” and in Yiddish morphed into pastroma.

Of course, since ancient Anatolia, where Croesus had reigned, has become part of Ottoman empire about a millennia after his fiery death, the same delectable dried or pressed meat, marinated in wine, became known as bastirma, and in 19th century New York, with the influx of Rumanian Jewish immigration, it has gained popularity under the anglicized name pastrami.  In this lively Yiddish song two man are nostalgically reminiscing about their sweet Rumania and its delicious pastroma. In Rumania and Bessarabia, however, pastramă was most frequently made of goose or turkey breast, rather than beef, since it was considerably cheaper. For dietary, rather than economical reasons, I have used skinless and deboned chicken breasts. This easy and delicious recipe was inspired by lovely Nadya who blogs in Russian at https://for-healths.com. I hope it makes you as happy as Reb Zushe and his brother, Beautiful People, albeit not as poor!

To continue with the recipe, please jump over to https://ajeanneinthekitchen.com/2021/03/10/we-have-a-new-guest-chef-dolly-aizeman.

A Jeanne in the Kitchen

It has been quite awhile since our last Guest Chef. No one has been sending anything in, and I miss that. I love seeing what’s cooking in your kitchens. But all that has changed, and now, we have a new Guest Chef, my friend, Dolly Aizenman.

You all might know Dolly from her blog, Kool Kosher Kitchen at https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/. Dolly always cooks with love. All her recipes look and sound amazing. Not only does she cook with love, but she also gives you a great history lesson with just about all of her recipes as well, which I love. Here is a little bit about this amazing lady in her own words.

Dolly submitted a recipe, and its history lesson, for chicken pastrami, which apparently, according to both history and legend, is the secret of happiness. I am not going to give you Dolly’s history behind chicken pastrami because…

View original post 418 more words

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Great guest posting, Dolly! Again i got hungry, looking at this wonderful dish. 😉 Next time before visiting your blog i will put some carrots on my desk. :-)) Michael

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL Sounds like a great idea, Michael. Thank you for a lovely compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. purpleslob says:

    Yummy!!
    Love the stories as always! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear purple person!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. purpleslob says:

        My pleasure, favorite cat person! ❤ Did I tell you DD1 has 2 cats?? I can NOT believe I agreed to live here! lol But, beggars can't be choosers. And they don't bug me much at all. Usually they run from me! haha

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No, you never told me! Cats don’t bug anybody, darling, they are usually pretty good on social distancing. As long as you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. They run from you because they are not used to you. Give them time.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. purpleslob says:

        I don’t want them to be buddies! LOL I’m fine that they run. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You don’t want to be buddies with cats? What about me?! LOL
        Don’t worry, they’ll feel it and stay away from you.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. purpleslob says:

        You my dear, are in a whole unique class of cats, separate unto yourself! Your kind is the ONLY kind of cat that I like! ADORE, even!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Love you right back, my favorite purple person! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Quitter says:

    Oh you saved my life! Where I live in the UK, I cannot get pastrami. I know. It’s terrible. I suffer a lot. I never thought it was something I could make myself. I need never suffer again! Now I’m the happiest person in the world ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so pleased – you made my day, darling! Good luck making it, and please let me know how it came out.

      Like

  4. Congratulations – your usual delightful mix, Dolly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the story behind this one and I love your guest profile and recipe on Jeanne’s blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend.

      Like

  6. GP says:

    You and your expertise deserve to be noticed, Dolly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a kind comment, GP. As long as my family is happy, I am happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fabulous post! 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Gail!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. -Eugenia says:

    You never disappoint, Dolly! Beautiful story and yummy recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Eugenia!

      Like

  9. Lulu: “Mmmm, chicken pastrami …”
    Charlee: “Do you even know what pastrami is?”
    Lulu: “No. But I know what chicken is.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beba: “Charlee, between us girls, do YOU know what pastrami is? We know what it looks like, but Mama never lets us have it!”

      Like

  10. Chicken pastrami sounds much better than the store bought stuff — infinitely better, in fact. Love the history lessons and the point about happiness.

    Like

    1. It is definitely better and much healthier – I can guarantee that. Thank you so much, dear Mimi!

      Like

  11. ShiraDest says:

    Definitely Reb Zushe, and excellent food journey, Dolly!

    Stay safe,
    -Shira

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Shira. There are many wonderful stories about Reb Zushe and his brother Reb Elimelech, the author of “Noam Elimelech.” This is from our experience: we are very close to both Biale Rebbes, the one in New York and his brother in Israel. When my father-in-law Aleve v’Shalom was diagnosed with big C, the Rebbe gave my husband a miniature copy of “Noam Elimelech” to pout under his father’s pillow. After a series of chemo, his father made a remarkable recovery but, when he was beding transfered to another hospital, the little sefer was lost. He passed away while in transit, and not from C, but from a heart attack.
      Shabbat Shalom!
      Much love,
      D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShiraDest says:

        Oh, wow, I’m so sorry to hear about the heart attack!
        Zichrono l’Brachah,
        Much love,
        Shabbat Shalom,
        s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thank you for your kindness, dear Shira.
        Love,
        D

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ShiraDest says:

        Love to you, too, D,
        -s.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Dolly – a general compliment for you. I never thought I would be reading a blog about food recipes, and here I am and plan to stay.

    Shabbat shalom,
    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I truly appreciate the compliment, David; I am pleased. I never thought I would be writing a food blog, but H-shem has His own plans.
      Shabbat Shalom,
      D

      Like

  13. CarolCooks2 says:

    I love beef pastrami and am intrigued with your chicken one so am popping over to read the recipe 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Carol; I hope you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. CarolCooks2 says:

    I’m sure I will…will let you know 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck, darling!

      Like

  15. Superb!💫⚡️⭐️☀️🍮🍮🎶

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Like

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