Preserving Jews and All Sorts of Fish: Escabeche

An innovative and highly profitable method of borrowing money was practiced by King Edward I of England: you borrow from the Jews, as there is no one else to borrow from (usury was forbidden by the church), then, since legally all Jews are the King’s property, all debts payable to them instantly become payable to…

Vinaigrette – a Russian Winter Salad

He is called Father Frost or General Frost. He lives in Russia, and he could be very cruel, especially to those who do not show proper respect to him. He has defeated many invaders, from the khans, to Napoleon, to Nazi Germany. He likes to decorate fields and forests, covering them in pristine snow and…

Summer Latkes in December

I am not done with latkes yet, Beautiful People! In 1989, the Supreme Court ruling upheld displaying Chanukkah menorahs in public places as a symbol of “universal religious freedom.” Last night, on the last night of Chanukkah, our Rabbi invited the entire community to light the menorah outside, at Miami Beach Marina, with festive music,…

Ukrainian Borsht for Sultana

Nobody seems to know where the word borscht came from. The best guess is that it is a combination of schti (Russian cabbage soup) and buryak (beetroot in Ukrainian).  It is first mentioned in the legend about the two-month siege of the Ukrainian fortress Rohatyn by the Crimean offshoot of the Turkish army in the beginning of the sixteenth century….

Coconut Latkes Full of Light

On the second night of Chanukkah, two lights are on, spreading their warmth and glow throughout the house.  We use the old-fashioned olive oil and wicks, rather than candles, as it has been done since that original cruse of oil in the Temple that lasted for eight days (for explanation of Chanukkah miracle of oil, please see But Hannah…

Pollo Fritto Artistico

I have a long-standing love affair with Florence, Italy. It is my second favorite city in the world, after Yerushalayim, or course, and on par with my native Odessa. Listen to its name – Firenze! – and imagine walking, breathing, eating and drinking art.  You are literally walking on art because the streets are paved…

Gambling for Education and Retchene Latkes

To continue with the story of Chanukkah and latkes, Judea was eventually captured by the Romans. Some of the Roman rulers could care less about various religions of the occupied territories, or provinces, as long as the taxes were collected regularly and accurately. Some others, however, persecuted Jews relentlessly; Emperor Hadrian even earned the nickname “Destroyer of the…

But Hannah Did Not Have Potatoes! Latkes with a Tropical Twist.

Chanukkah is coming, and kids are looking forward to stuffing their faces with latkes – potato pancakes. When I was growing up, we had all kinds of latkes on Chanukkah, and sometimes my grandmother skipped the deruny (potato latkes) altogether because of the variety of other, more interesting ones: carrots with apples, zucchini with raisins, and my father’s favorite rechene (buckwheat) latkes. When a guest inquired about…

Cranberry Pizza for Thanksgiving

Happy National Cranberry Day, Beautiful People (https://foodimentary.com/november-holidays)!   Dear Beautiful People, I am cheating! I don’t have a step-by-step set of photographs of this crazy creation because I’ll assemble it tomorrow, right before serving. All I have is my cranberry sauce, ready for tomorrow. However, I promised a recipe for Cranberry Pizza, so here it…

Something Wild About That Turkey

Of all the silly infantile jokes, this one takes the cake (or a pumpkin pie, in this case): What did the turkey say when he saw a computer? “Google, google, google!” I guess that was a wild turkey who had never been introduced to a Publix freezer. But then, if we believe the story about…

Strong and Sweet: Poached Pears

“For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” Do I really have to cite a source for this one? I’d rather have you enjoy the beginning of “star-cross’d lovers” tragic story, as brilliantly expressed in music by Prokofiev. Although it has nothing to do with pears, Shakespear’s play…

Stuffed Peppers – Where Is the Beef?

You think veganism is a recent trend? Think again! You think feminism was invented in the twentieth century? Missed it by about 2400 years! Meet Orpheus, mythical Ancient Greek poet and musician, a hero of one of the best-known love stories of all times (if you are wondering about the black hole behind his lire,…