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.

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