Let’s talk turkey.
Mikey and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time this year, a slightly terrifying prospect that ended up going surprisingly smoothly. I only broke one brand-new glass in the process! And dropped a full container of yogurt at one point, which spurted all the way across the room. Oh, and I also dropped a sheet-pan-sized cracker while attempting to flip it over halfway through its baking time, shattering a good quarter of it and getting various kinds of seeds all over the counter. But other than that: smooooooth sailing. Continue reading
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 just looked up the punchline — and if you’re in the mood for a TL;DR version, this one’s a lot shorter. But as I remember it, the gag goes a little something like this: Continue reading
What business did my grandmother — a Pittsburgh-born Jew who spent most of her adult life in sunny Los Angeles — have making moussaka, a Balkan/Mediterranean comfort classic that’s predicated on mixing milk and meat and is absolutely the last thing you’d want to eat before heading out for a day at the beach?
Do you know why Neil Armstrong went to the moon?
Oh, I’m sure his desire to make history played a role, as did a thirst for adventure and a deep sense of patriotism. According to my Grandpa Morry, though, there was another reason: Neil had heard there was a deli up there that served the perfect pastrami. Continue reading
I won’t sugar-coat this: Stuffed cabbage is just about the unsexiest thing in the history of unsexy things. It’s not colorful. It’s not texturally interesting. And it’s made of cabbage (duh), a vegetable whose very name connotes drab listlessness and smelly farts. (I’m not going to say that the word itself always makes me think of Austin Powers… but I’m also not not going to say that.)
But if you think about it, you might just realize that stuffed cabbage has all the makings of a trendy farm-to-table mainstay. It’s a classic comfort food; it’s appealingly old-school and fairly labor-intensive; it features a cruciferous vegetable, albeit one much less fashionable than brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, or the almighty kale.
Also, I think it might technically be Paleo — although I refuse to confirm that by actually looking up what things count as Paleo. Continue reading
I have decided that for the rest of the blog post, we are going to talk like this. Continue reading
I learned the word “aesthete” from Rent. I learned the word “crepuscular” from E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan (which, by the way, is a much weirder book than I remember it being). And I learned the word “bouillabaisse” from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, at the very same time as Ron Weasley: Continue reading
So as I’ve written before, the first thing I ever really cooked for myself — beyond scrambled eggs — was Nonnie’s ratatouille.
But the first fancy thing I ever cooked — something that required preparing separate ingredients in different ways, making a sauce, carefully assembling a final dish that was not only tasty but also pretty — was Gourmet magazine’s intricate inside-out eggplant parmigiana, an artistically deconstructed take on the fat kid classic. (You know, the kind of thing a Top Chef contestant would call “my play on eggplant parmesan.”) Continue reading
I spent the last week of 2015 in Mexico City, blissfully gorging myself on meat, cheese, and gloriously simple carbohydrates. I ate red mole and black mole and guacamole, corn fungus (surprisingly delicious) and goat-milk caramel (ditto) and grasshoppers (not… great), barbacoa and chilaquiles and weird Mexican convenience store snacks, sandwich cookies and pastries and a pink drink called a Lulu that I absolutely would have been embarrassed to order at home, but whatever, we were on vacation, and if you can’t have pink drinks on vacation, when can you have them?
Naturally, I returned to New York with a heavy sigh and a mild case of scurvy. I was more than ready for January, when we atone for the excesses of the holidays with whole grains and hot water with lemon and diets disguised as “cleanses.”
Unfortunately for January, there’s a real deficit of “healthy” recipes in Nonnie’s cookbook. Continue reading
Nonnie’s brisket may be the original fusion food: an implicitly kosher, theoretically cheap, classically old-school Jewish piece of meat that’s bathed in a deeply maroon, ethnically agnostic slurry of quintessential American convenience foods.
Of course, she was far from the only grandmother to mix ketchup with powdered soup and call it a marinade. Her recipe is a variation on the very same method you’ll find in all corners of the American Semitic universe, literally from sea (the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles’ online Hanukkah guide) to shining sea (this Massachusetts synagogue’s brisket bake-off). Continue reading