Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yiddish & Matzah

My husband wishes he was Jewish. The fact of the matter is that he very well could be. Blood tests are expensive though. But, because of his affinity for the people, for the culture, I try my best to accommodate. An easy favorite so far has been matzah ball soup, the Jewish chicken and dumpling.

The soup is simple, chicken broth and herbed dumplings. There are of course variations, some with chicken, and some without. Some have carrots and celery, but you don’t have to. Either way it’s delicious. The dumplings are made with a flour meal, parsley, some salt and whisked with eggs and oil. Personally I think it’s just as easy to use the Manischewitz mix. However you decide to make it, the mix sets for about 15 minutes, you boil small balls of the dough and then they expand, doubling in size usually. The once doughy balls become light and fluffy taking on the chicken, herbal flavor. It’s simple and filling. It only takes about 35 minutes with prep to make, and really, it simmers for 20 of those minutes.

I made it for one of my best friends and her sister. We were just enjoying some time together after a week of vacation. We talked about catching up things, work being among the likes of conversation, shopping finds, the Bible, and then the inevitable conversation, all things Jewish.

Now, my friend and I not being very educated in all of Judaism decided to talk about our fascination with the sound and attitude of Yiddish. My heart desires to be able to speak in this way. I feel like I’d rule the kitchen if I did. “Don’t stick your hand in the matzah. That’s fakakta! It’s not kosher anymore!” The Bostonian-like inflection has so much bite to it but wisdom as well. I can see why my husband loves it.

And it’s actually a language, which makes it cooler. It pulls words from the European countries where Jews lived, mixes it with Hebrew and incorporates them in to every day use. Most of it is German derived but there’s also Polish and Slavic among others.

As we slurped our soup we enjoyed laughs trying to understand Yiddish words. For example, the word used above ‘fakakta’ means messed up.

Batamt means tasty. Example: “That matzah ball soup was batamt!”

A beryiah is a homemaker and is also a word that could come in handy incorporated in to a great pick up line one day.

The list goes on and on, but even though I learned some useful words what I enjoyed most was laughing with people I love and sharing a meal. We obviously grew in knowledge from it and our relationship was fed as well. I may have not ruled the kitchen with my Yiddish tongue but my stomach thought I was a total beryiah.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Food is important. We all get hungry. Everyone knows they need to be nourished. Sustenance keeps us alive and keeps us going.

But, there are some, like myself, who admittedly enjoy their fair amount of baked goods, sugared drinks and savory meals. Why? Because food is not just good, but it is simply joyful. It is satisfying.

Let’s count the reasons why food is so awesome. One, flavors vary so much. Each herb has its own scent and taste. Each fruit has its own acidity, bitterness or sweetness. Two, when complementary flavors are married a most mouth watering dish is created. And three, amongst all of the ins and outs of these scents and tastes there is a conversation that happens. People gather, at a table, at a bar or even a couch and they talk, feast and enjoy.

What satisfies my heart even more than the food though is Isaiah 55. God tells His people to come and eat and drink. Not only does he say to nourish your self freely but to nourish yourself well, with good food. If you’re thirsty and hungry you can come to him. God shows us with food how he is the ultimate provider and satisfier of everything we need.

God created food and he made it interesting. Why wouldn’t we want to explore it to its furthest?

That’s why this blog exists. I enjoy the exploration, the tastes and the conversation. To follow are the recipes tested and the learning other people and I so get to enjoy.