Traditional Jewish food or weapons of mass destruction? hahahah

I did not write the actual food details , in fact I have no idea who wrote them, definitely someone with a wonderful Jewish sense of humour. Theses descriptions are from an email that was forwarded to me but it just has such fabulous descriptions of traditional Jewish foods in it that I felt I had to pass it on to the rest of  you!  The introduction is mine I have added one or two of  my own insights  as well and changed it a little, fattened it out a little. Hopefully not to the detriment of the original article.  I hope this will give you a tiny insight into the wonderfully cholesterol laden food that generations of Jewish ancestors have been eating. It is no small wonder that Jews having been suffering from diabetes and heart disease for years, bless our great-great-grandparents! The foods mentioned are the more traditional Ashkenazi style foods that come from the Jews of Eastern Europe. Those of the Middle East, the Sephardi, have a very different more Mediterranean style of eating that includes healthier type foods like grains, pulses, humus, tahina, dates etc. These differences in diet stem mainly from the incredible differences in the climates and the food that was available at the time. Contrary to the incredibly strange but very popular belief that all Jews are rich you may notice that the foods mentioned below were made from cheap ingredients and were very often derived from meals that had been stretched to last two to three days into the week. This was the food of peasants, people of great pride and strength, people with a will to overcome everything that was thrown at them from poverty to pogroms to the the holocaust and survival afterwards in a war destroyed Europe.  There are still cookery books published today written by survivors of extermination camps, women who survived the horror by telling food tales and writing their recipes down on any scraps of paper they could find so that future generations would also know the joys of Jewish cooking. Books such as The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook and Recipes Remembered

My late father (first generation South African) would tell a story of how his mother-in-law, a Lithuanian, would make a Friday night, sabbath meal last till Monday by filling everyone up with all the cheaper more filling starters first so that by the time the main course came to the table no one had any space to actually eat it. The run up to the main course being chicken soup with kneidlach (like dumplings) or kreplach (like mini pies for soup), chopped liver, kitka (plaited slightly sweet bread) chopped herring, danish herring and salt herring. The chicken would be cooked in the soup to make the stock with the addition of turnips, parsley, carrots and potatoes and of course a handful of salt. Before the chicken was boiled to death it was whipped out and popped into the roasting pan with more carrots, onions and potatoes for the main course. The fat that came off the top of the soup and the bottom on the roasting pan was added the the fat that was cut from the raw chicken and cooked to be used as lard, as a bread spread or binding for kneidlach and other foods like frying latkes for instance. The crispy skin that was left over after this rendering of fat was considered to be a delicious tasty treat almost like a modern day packet of potato crisps! Give that to your kids now mums or run away screaming oy vey!

Jewish life centers around food, all festivals are celebrated with food, we fast and then we feast. Our traditional foods are delicious but today definitely should come with government health warnings about sugar and fat and cholesterol and all those other delightful silent killers, like all good food though if you are able then enjoy in moderation.

Happy reading!

                            
                                                                 

                                                                           ” Latkes”

A pancake-like structure similar to a potato rosti, not to be confused with anything a first-class health restaurant (apart from Indulgence Cafe of course) would put out. In a latke the oil remains inside the pancake.

It is made with potatoes, onions, eggs and matzo meal. Latkes should be eaten hot with apple sauce or scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or even just a dash of cinnamon sugar but they COULD also be used to style your hair, shine your shoes or lubricate your automobile.

There is a rumor that in the time of the Maccabees, they lit a latke by mistake and it burned for eight days ….do you know the story of Chanuka, if you don’t I may save that tale for next time or just brush up on your bible reading.

What is certain is that you will have heartburn for the same amount of time (not always) They taste GREAT but could well stop your heart if the grease gets cold.

                                                                                    “Matzoh”

Israel’s punishment for escaping slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses. It consists of a simple mix of flour and water – no eggs or flavor at all, akin to eating cardboard which may actually taste better. If you ate the box in error you might not notice the difference. Well made matzos  could well taste like recycled cardboard from the Tel Aviv city dump.

Matzoh’s redeeming value is that it does fill you up and stays with you for a long time–sometimes far too long–and you are advised to eat lots of prunes with it. If the prunes do not work, try castor oil, or even gun powder as a last resort before a surgeon has to mine it out.

                                                                          ” Kasha Varnishkes”

One of the little-known “delicacies” that is even more difficult to pronounce than it is to cook.

It has nothing to do with varnish, but is basically a mixture of buckwheat and bowtie noodles, not let me stress, macaroni

Why bowties you ask? Many sages in the Old Testament discussed this and agreed that an ancient Jewish mother must have decided, ‘Son, you can’t come to the table without a tie or, G-d forbid, place your elbow on the table.” If Mamma said ‘bowties,’ you better believe that’s what the family used, even if they had to invent them on the spot.

                                                                                  “Blintzes”

Not to be confused with the German war machine’s ‘blintzkreig.’ Can you imagine the Jerusalem Post in ’39 with huge headlines announcing: ‘Germans drop tons of cheese and blueberry blintzes on Poland. Shortage of sour cream expected’?  Basically, this is the Jewish answer to Crepe Suzettes. They are actually offered on the menu at the local International House of Pancakes, but no one there knows what the hell they are. In ignorant bliss, they often serve them frozen from the blintz factory. No modern woman will take time to make them if she can find a grocery store selling frozen ones (assuming she can find someone in that store who knows where they are kept). However we at Lollipops Catering will make you delicious cheese blintzes anytime you like and they will NEVER be frozen!

                                                                                 “Kishke”

You know from Scottish Haggis? Well, this it ain’t. Remember what I say if you should go to the Scottish Highlands .

You do not want to eat Haggis, no matter how much Scotch you’ve downed (that is a personal choice I’m sure, just not a Jewish one). In the old days they would take an intestine and stuff it to make kishke. Today we use parchment paper or plastic, made in China. And what do you stuff it with? Carrots, celery, onions, flour and spices. The skill is not to cook it alone, but to add it to the cholent (see below) and let it simmer for 24 hours until there is no chance whatsoever that there is any nutritional value left. My mum used to roast it with the chicken, dad loved kishke and being his daughter I still love it, but then I am partial to stodge in a big way! Just remember to add gravyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
“Kreplach”

They sound a  whole lot worse than they taste. There is a rabbinical debate on their origins. One Rabbi claims they began when a Chinese fortune cookie fell into the chicken soup, which makes me wonder was this a Chinese man eating at a Jewish friend or a wondering Jew cooking chicken soup in China?

Another claims they started in an Italian restaurant, where the owner yelled at the chef, ‘Disa pasta tastes like-a krep!’ Either way it can be soft, hard, or soggy, and the amount of meat inside depends on whether it is your mother or your mother-in-law who cooked it. Tastes best if made in a Manhatten deli where they serve the soup by the barrel-load.  My dad loved kreplach in his soup. Essentially they are a little meat pie with crimped edges that you pop into a bowl of soup

                                                                                   “Cholent”

This combination of noxious gases had been the secret weapon of Jews for centuries. The unique combination of beans, barley, potatoes and bones or meat is meant to stick to your ribs and anything else it comes into contact with reputed to the the precursor to Superglue and Prestik.

At a fancy Kosher Mexican restaurant  a comment was overheard from a youngster who had had his first taste of Mexican refried beans: “What, he said, they serve leftover cholent here too?”

A Jewish American Princess once came up with something original for her guests, her first and probably last cooking attempt at the tender age of 25. She made cholent burgers for Sunday night supper. The guests never came back. The dogs ate the burgers but later threw up and had to be taken by ambulance to the pet emergency room.

                                                                               “Gefilte Fish”

A few years ago, an Israeli politician had problems with the filter in his fish pond and a few of his fish got rather stuck and mangled. His 5 year old son looked the poor beaten up fish and asked his father “Is that why we call it ‘ge-filtered fish?”

Originally it was a carp stuffed with a minced fish and vegetable mixture. Today it usually is comprised of small fish balls eaten with horseradish, pronounced ‘chrain’ to rhyme with ‘insane,’ which you have to be to inflict it on your innards and is judged on its relative strength in bringing tears to your eyes at 100 paces.  Gefilter fish and chrain is absolutely delish if made by the right person, like me! You actually simmer the fish balls in a pot of fish bones. When you put them in the dish the the dreaded piece of carrot on top the liquid settles into a jelly. You are either going to love them or hate them, there is no grey area here. What is delicious is that this can be baked as a loaf, like bread, in the oven and that is truly delicious! The very name of this dish frightens fully grown and sophisticated gentiles…

 

                                                                                  “Bagels”

Like most foods there are legends surrounding the bagel, although I don’t know any other than it was first discovered when unsugared donuts accidentally petrified and by this I don’t mean we scared them to death!

There have been persistent rumors that the inventors of the bagel were the Norwegians who couldn’t get anyone to buy smoked lox (smoked salmon) and the dairies who were trying valiantly to get their rich thick cream cheese into stores.

Think about it: Can you picture yourself eating smoked salmon or trout on white bread? Rye ? A cracker? Naaa! The Israeli Defense Forces research lab looked for something hard and almost indigestible which could take the spread of cream cheese and which doesn’t take up too much room in desert-maneuvers ration kits.

And why the hole? Some philosophers believe the hole is the essence and the dough is only there to indicate where the hole is placed, get you head around that if you can! Of course if you are a regular at Indulgence Cafe you will know that we serve bagels with all our meals, our incredible burgers, our amazing salads and toasted to go with our seriously rocking breakfasts!

The writer of this article has left out so many other fabulous dishes like salted herring, chopped herring, Danish herring, kneidlach, tzimmes, Lockshen pudding and sublime baked cheesecake and a host of other which I would be happy to write about for you if you really, really enjoyed reading this and want to know a whole bunch more!

b’tei avon (or good appetite)

Mandi

 

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