Simona. This article is a few years old, but I recently stumbled on it, and I thought of you when I read it. Does this sound familiar, in terms of your food memories? Or is this an American transplant?
thank you so much for the article.
The article actually teaches me some facts about Jews in America. I am Romanian, born in Bucharest, and secular . My paternal grandparents spoke yiddish and I do too ( actually I speak german but it's similar), but from my mother's side I'm half russian, and my maternal grandparents who were killed in the holocaust , did not speak Yiddish .
Having been married to a hungarian husband ( and daughter in law to an Hungarian Mother in Law!!), I do know most of the dishes the article mentioned, though I don't cook them ( not even when my husband was alive). Still, some of my husband's elder membesr of the family did cook many of the dishes mentioned, which, when not soaked in oil, are pretty good.
What was more interesting for me was the Satmer Jews story. I know of course of that branch of ultra orthodox ( and I may say -ultra fanatic, ultra anti feminist, ultra anti freedom of thought , ultra anti zionist , actually ultra anti everything smelling of modernism..) . A small group of them are living in Jeusalem and they are big trouble as they don't recognize State Laws. Let's say, that here, in Israel, they do allow themselves to behave quite violently when something ( usually a liberal law ) bothers them. I'm not surprised they have problems with their neighbours. But I didn't know they had a "stetl' ( litlle town) for themselves. And I'm pleasantly surprised to read that some of them are working, because here, in Israel , they are not, and they live on welfare ( that they receive from a state and a government they don't recognize and don't respect the Laws) or donations.
But I'm sure their food is tasty and very nourishing, though very ultra non healthy...
By the way, I just read your post about indian vegetarian food and it looked very appetizing - though I mostly didn't understand a word.
Thank you for your insights. As a historian, I am always skeptical of stories that present communities as though they are petrified in time. We are all subject to change, even when we don't feel it acting on us. However, since this community appears fairly insular, I wanted to know whether their food sounded familiar to others who know about Hungarian Jewish cuisine. It sounded very tasty!
How was your trip to Chicago btw?
Let me know if you feel like trying any of the dishes on those Indian blogs. The nice thing about these recipes is that they are actually very forgiving. You don't need half the ingredients--the food still turns out great, without many of the spices. I am always happy to suggest substitutions or simplifications.
Joined: 11 Nov 2007 Posts: 236 Location: Madison, WI
Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:08 pm Post subject:
I completely forgot that the other side of my family (my husband's) actually DOES have interesting food traditions for New Year's. We did not do this this year, because my mom is declining mentally which has put a great strain on us all. However, many years we have made Colombian tamales for New Year's. They are special because they are much bigger than Mexican tamales and are steamed in banana leaves rather than corn husks. The banana leaves give them a nice flavor, and a slightly green appearance on the outside (only slightly). They also smell really really good while cooking-- especially here in the frozen north where we keep windows closed in January. The first year we made them, many years ago, my husband described a process where they cooked and ground corn and then strained it through a cloth to get a starchy liquid which would then thicken. I was too naive to know the difference between sweet corn and field corn, so I cooked a whole lot of frozen sweet corn and strained the liquid out, getting a soup that would not thicken no matter how much I boiled it, chilled it etc. Many people now use a masa harina similar to the Mexican one but whiter. I use my proprietary masa made out of ground hominy with a small amount of finely ground corn flour mixed in to thicken it a bit. It tastes incomparably better than masa harina in my opinion, and is no trouble if you grind the rinsed hominy in a food processor. As you can tell, I am not a masa harina fan. It seems to have an off taste to me.
P.S. I hope everyone had a good New Year, and best wishes for everyone's year. My husband and I had bad colds so we stayed home and rested, which felt good too.
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