Tag Archives: Rosh Hashana

An Affair To Remember

Whenever she felt like expanding her cooking repertoire my mother, who was raised on Ottoman Sephardic food, naturally gravitated toward recipes that reflected her cultural sensibility. In cookbooks and the magazine pages of mid-century America, she found much inspiration in things French.

America’s love affair with French cuisine took off like a rocket in the early 1960’s under the influence of Julia Child, but the relationship was already well established. As recent immigrants to New York in the early 20th century, my grandfather and his brothers, all fluent in French, became salesmen for Nabisco,

My papu & his brothers wore straw boaters like these on their sales calls for Nabisco. (This isn't them; they weren't smokers!)

My dapper papu & his brothers wore straw boaters like these on their sales calls for Nabisco. This isn’t them, but the guy on the lower right looks a lot like like my papu!

which in those days catered to the city’s finer hotels and restaurants where the language, like the fancy food, was French. (Fun fact: Nabisco’s New York operation was housed in the complex that is now the Chelsea Market on Ninth Avenue & 15th Street). My grandparents, of course, had received a French education in Turkey, where they’d attended the schools of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. French culture was already a comfortable fit for them when they arrived here from Rhodes.

To the delight of her family and friends, my mother knew how to pick winners and she turned them out beautifully. Continue reading

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Shana Tova Umetuka

Wishing a good and sweet year to one and all – and a joyous one, too.

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The fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish.

If you’re still secretly wishing you dared cook fish for Rosh Hashana (you’re supposed to…), but don’t know how to even begin, today I’ve got some good news for you: it’s breathtakingly simple.

Americans have a fear of fish. My dad took me fishing one time when I was seven, in the Adirondacks. I caught two small bass, which was no mean feat for a seven-year-old because bass are feisty. It was so exciting! I beamed on the walk back to our summer cabin. Dad cleaned and scaled the fish, and cooked them for me in a pan, and they were heavenly! Did I ever go fishing again? No. Did I develop a passion for seafood? No. What’s up with Americans? Fish is so delicious, and so not a big part of our beef-and-chicken crazy culture. Granted, we’ve got great beef, and some fine chickens.  Continue reading

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L’shanah Tova!

Happy New Year to one and all!

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