Kugel: Where East Met West

At first, Jews had it good in the Roman-administered land which is now France. Having lost their own homeland, they have dispersed throughout immense Roman Empire, settling mostly along trade routes. Even though they were still not allowed to own land, nor practice law or hold any administrative positions (restrictions are nothing new to us!),…

My Grandmother’s Recipes: Part 8, Quinoa Pomegranate Salad.

This post takes us to the last two of the four holidays: Sukkot (Sukkos) and Simchat Torah (Simhas Torah). It also concludes my story with the celebration of Simhas Torah in Moscow Synagogue. *20. Leader of All Peoples – one of the multitude of epithets Stalin constructed to refer to himself. *21. The Big Brother…

My Grandmother’s Recipes: Part 4, Gefilte Fish.

Which teenage love story has become proverbial, portrayed on stage and on the movie screen, rendered into an opera and a ballet? Romeo and Juliet, you say? You’ve seen too much of Leonardo di Caprio, Beautiful People! Those kids have got nothing on my grandparents,  whose love story that lasted for 60 years starts in…

My Grandmother’s Recipes: Part 3, Appetizers.

We are up to holiday appetizers and Part 3 of my story, Beautiful People (click for Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7).   3. Hassidic Jews – from Hassidism, a religious movement originated in Southern Poland in 18th century 4. Reds – supporters of the Red (Bolshevik, later Communist)…

My Grandmother’s Recipes: Part 2, Leikach.

We continue to delve into my grandmother’s holiday menu, as well as my story, with Part 2. If you missed Part 1, please go here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here. Part 7 is here. 2. Tzaddik – a righteous person, outstanding for his faith…

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,…

Plum Prune Strudel

The only kind of strudel I’ve seen in the U.S. is the Viennese apple strudel. In fact, when Americans say “strudel,” they mean “apple strudel.” However, the word strudel means whirlpool in German, and describes any rolled flaky pastry with any filling, meet, cheese, fruit, or vegetables. There is actually a sauerkraut strudel! The first one,…

Mehren Tzimmes – Honey Carrots

Like almost everything that has to do with Jewish traditions, there are two interpretations of the Carrot Tzimmes, baked or stewed sliced carrots with honey, dried fruit or raisins, and whatever spices your prefer. The Yiddish word for carrot is mehren, which is very close to the Yiddish word for more – mehr.  The argument…

White Leikach

As a contrast to a dark Onik Leikach, it is traditional to serve a very light White Leikach. Also in contrast to the honey cakes made  specifically for Rosh Hashana, white cakes are made at any time during the year, for most holidays, and, interestingly enough, for a consolation meal after a funeral. I think…

Essig Fleish and the Meaning of Life

Of all Rosh Hashana foods, this is the most significant, at least in my family tradition. It is only made once a year, and it requires plenty of time and patience. The name, derived from German, actually means “vinegared meat”, but there is no vinegar involved. It is rather sweet, especially in my grandmother’s interpretation,…

Let’s Play Ball!

Chicken soup without kneidlach (matzoh balls) is like Batman without Robin, Superman without a cape, Harry Potter without Ron and Hermaine – I think I’ll stop right here and go on with the recipe. I’ve heard from so many people that they have never managed to make fluffy matzoh balls, and  – eureka! – I…