Archives for posts with tag: Jewish Food

For those of us with a habit that pre-dates internet bookmarking: tearing an article from a magazine and stashing it either somewhere random or somewhere sensible — in this case, for me, the latter — my copy of Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food.

So I was easily able to find “The Ones that Got Away: A Field Guide to Rare and Extinct Varieties of Jewish Fish” when, a few weeks ago, I read a poem that recalled the writer’s immigrant Jewish grandfather and  “the fish that we called “yum yum fish”/ (What WAS it?) /A mystery lost to time.”

There’s a sad nostalgia for me, thinking of the times in my life, mostly as a child around the deaths of my mother’s thousand relatives, when the food centrepiece would be a platter piled with fish, colours of salmon-orange-pink, skin-silver-bronze, white and bone-grey with bagels, slabs of cream cheese, wedges of wet tomatoes and thinly sliced onions.  These were fatty, smokey, pickle-y delicious flavours, salty, strong, and specific to a time that to me feels past.  I can’t imagine my own children enjoying this food, and I can’t imagine a social occasion at which I’d find myself now in which it would be offered– that lot of folk has died.

Remembering the generations of people who ate this way, and the knowledge and experience they held, across cultures, is one of the ways that the Slow Food Ark of Taste enters the discourse about lost and struggling traditions, in an effort to celebrate legacies of culinary diversity, and renew them.  I’m also really pleased to see Slow Food entering the important discourse about food and climate change.

Roger Mummert wrote something truly fascinating with “The Ones that Got Away,” way back in 1993; he tied together much that is fun and foodie yet also so much about loss (of people, of foodways, of fish), beneath a humorous interview with the proprietor of a famous New York City fish delicatessen. Together they paint a beguiling and informative picture of old world food traditions within contemporary global markets and ecological overfishing. Read the rest of this entry »

potato surprise   thomas' trucks

I have a Celebrity Crush.  Well… maybe she’s not really a celebrity, but Sophie Herxheimer is a London artist who works with people, stories and food.  She’s an incredibly creative artist and poet, and I get that tingle of excitement and possibility when I see or read her work.  It seems like her talents, interests, politics, and spirit are united and energised in a way I aspire mine to be.  She works with topics beyond food— but I wanted to share with Kitchen Counter Culture readers some of the work that might interest us the most.

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The Nettle Sorrel Soup was so delicious, I considered it a gateway to Schav, a purer use of sorrel that by never having sampled had become a little mythic. You eat it cold.  And yes, that’s the true colour in the photo above, what we might have thought of as pea-green, a little dreary, a little khaki. I resisted the photoshop urge because I want to speak the truth about Schav.  I placed the spoon in this position so you too could imagine picking it up and experiencing a spoon-full.

It’s what the real old-timers ate, the ones who gesticulated with their hands and ate intense, heavy food like … Liver and Egg Salad, or Chopped Liver in moulded, perhaps grotesque shapes, maybe with strawberries, maybe with pineapple.  Or at least such recipes appear in my all time favourite Jewish cookbook Love and Knishes, along with loads of dishes with schmaltz and lima beans and kasha– these kind of ingredients.  So the book was a natural first place to look for an “authentic” recipe for Schav.

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Love and Knishes is a charming book. Read the rest of this entry »

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Those cute Passover confections are not my creations. They were born in the kitchen of a friend whose creativity and active spiritual questioning manifest in her culinary arts.  I’m often trying to lure her into “guest blogging” here on KitchenCounterCulture, but this time I asked if I could do a post-from-afar in lieu of anything Pesach-related of my own… So here we have Macaroons for Passover in her unique but inspirational style of “Intuitive Cooking,” from which I have much to learn.  …And want to share with readers as well.  Thank you Jess! Read the rest of this entry »

Never mind, it's beginning to feel like spring!

Yes, they’re daffodils, and no, they’re not edible, but I’m trying to cheer myself up and not bring all of you down.  Cough, cough, hack, hack, up in the middle of the night, cough, cough, hack, hack.  Are some of you out there the same? Pity us.

I’ve been really craving good old fashioned Chicken Soup, in which you simmer the chicken with carrots, onions, leeks, celery, parsley, peppercorns, parsnip and dill if you are lucky.  Noodles would be great– I like the way Japanese Udon noodles get all gloopy the way I remember from cans of Chicken Noodle soup when I ate such things. Cough, cough, cough. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Split Pea Stew becomes a Split Pea Soup With Ethiopian Spices… Read the rest of this entry »

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Honouring the death of a difficult woman by remembering the soup she often made.

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From Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food, I made Torta di Erbe, translated as “Green Tart,” which somehow tickled my funny-bone. It’s a Roman tart, she says, and also known as “Pizza Ebraica” (Jewish pizza).

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Local, Seasonal DIY Potato Starch, Because Why Not?

Ah, what is that disgusting grey sludge in the cute vintage sugar bowl, you may ask?

I celebrate Hanukkah with my children every year, hoping to keep them somehow connected to traditions that are about history and community, So every year I make latkes, fried potato cakes of shredded potatoes, generally, with onion and egg and S and P and a binder like matzo meal if possible, flour if not. (You could make them fancier of course.) Simple but a bit labour intensive, and yummy with sour cream, sauerkraut, and home-made applesauce.

(To my “blog followers”: this use of apples is another kind of apple-as-savoury on that list I am generating 🙂 )

You can never make enough latkes– people and yourself will always eat more.

There’s something every year I look forward to when I grate the potatoes: letting the shreds sit in a colander, to release the excess fluid, then letting that fluid sit so the starch settles into powdery starchiness. For years I wondered what it was, then I realised in its obviousness: Potato Starch. The liquid on top oxidizes and gets darker, and this year was especially black because the potatoes were so fresh, I didn’t peel them first. You pour it off. The fluid wants to escape to the top, and you keep pouring. Eventually you have powder dry enough to store.

I like this starch. From my latke making it forms  maybe two inches in a jam jar and will be used as a sauce thickener in gravies and Chinese stir-fry sauces, in place of cornstarch (or corn flour, as it’s called in the UK).  A by-product, therefore a little bit of a don’t-have-to-buy product, which is a good theme for Black Friday/Saturday.  And, a minor self-sufficiency, home-steading skill!

If I ever had lots of green potatoes (inedible) I might try this starch making as a salvage- operation.  I wonder if any of the alkaloid toxins would remain?

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