[This week’s post is brought to you by Leslie Mann in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.]
What do you do when you’ve got a week off between jobs, a battered old cookbook that holds three separate recipes for French toast, a schedule that’s completely sapped your ability to sleep in, and a type-A personality that makes you slightly nuts because, again, you’ve got a week off between jobs?
When I was a freshman in high school, my advisor told a joke he probably shouldn’t have to a select group of students. The joke, he claimed, was a foolproof way to determine whether or not a person is Jewish. If it makes you laugh, you are; if you don’t get it, you’re not.
I would not be the food snob I am today without the influence of these two great ladies: my mother and Nonnie, pictured here looking impossibly glamorous at my Uncle Bobby’s groovy ’70s bar mitzvah. (He had a three-tiered cake shaped like a Jewish star. It was breathtaking.)
Nonnie taught my mom — who, in turn, taught me — always to prize homemade over store-bought, fresh over processed. Not that either of their food was fussy; both have/had a knack for finding the elegance in simplicity, the kind of dishes that Tom Colicchio always praises most highly on Top Chef. (“It’s just simple ingredients, cooked well.” Shit, if that’s all it takes, why aren’t I the Top Chef?) Continue reading
This, my friends, is how you end Passover with a bang.
I didn’t grow up on monkey bread. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it until the first time I read Nonnie’s cookbook cover to cover. According to my mom, it was one of Nonnie’s specialties, a party trick she’d break out for special occasions — and one of the recipes Mom only made herself once or twice, since it allegedly never turned out to be as good as her own mother’s.
So: What the hell is monkey bread? The answer depends on who you ask. Continue reading