Pesach is approaching and my Jewish friends are issuing invitations to join them for holiday dinners, and I am reminded of the strong influence of Jewish food throughout my life. I grew up in a community with a large Jewish element and most of my hairdresser mom’s clientele were Jews. At the holidays she’d bring home delicious gifts of teiglach, kichel and matjes herring.


My time spent in Germany, and the tuition I gained in the kitchen of a German Jewish woman, reinforced my love of this cuisine.

As fate would have it, I now live in a house which was built by a family of orthodox Jews and it has all the evidence of the pious life they lived; there is still a mezuzah holder on what was then the back door, and a small wooden box is still affixed to the wall, where matches were kept for the next-door shabbos goy. [See footnotes.]  Separate from the main kitchen is a small, cool and dark room where dairy products were stored, I now use this room to store bulk dry goods, cleaning products and pet food.


And so I turn to my cookbooks, I have a craving for brisket and I think Susie Fishbein will have the perfect recipe for me. But first, because writing this has made me terribly hungry, some breakfast … because, as any bubbe worth her salt will tell you, it’s no good cooking on an empty stomach.

Nothing a bit of chopped liver can’t fix.

“There is nothing inherently insulting about the word ‘goy.’ In fact, the Torah occasionally refers to the Jewish people using the term ‘goy.’ Most notably, in Exodus 19:6, G-d says that the Children of Israel will be ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,’ that is, a goy kadosh. Because Jews have had so many bad experiences with anti-Semitic non-Jews over the centuries, the term ‘goy’ has taken on some negative connotations, but in general the term is no more insulting than the word ‘gentile.’ Jewish Attitudes Toward Non-Jews, Jewfaq.org. Retrieved January 30, 2007.

The term shabbos goy refers to a non-Jew who performs duties that Jewish law forbids a Jew from performing on the Sabbath, such as lighting a fire to warm a house.


50 Comments Add yours

  1. deepercolors says:

    You should have your own cooking TV show, girl. Move over Rachel Ray! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wouldn’t that be a dream come true, Caro! 😀

  2. I don’t know much about the Jewsih religion accept for the fact that the dairy and meat should never share space? They are God’s chosen nation, that is very clear.
    What is pesach all about? They don’t believe Jesus was the Son of God….so why is there a build up coming up to Easter. Today I want to learn.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Pesach has nothing to do with Easter, bokkie, It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.

      1. Thanks for that. At least i learn’t something new today……yah!!

      2. theonlycin says:

        It’s a pleasure, Sweetie 🙂

      3. This is so interesting. The Jewish religion & all its traditions are something I know little to nothing about, or their food. Interesting stuff Cindy, thanks for sharing 🙂

      4. theonlycin says:

        Thank you for reading, Chef 🙂

  3. Supa says:

    So how are you cooking the brisket I wonder?

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m going to do it in a sweet and sour sauce. Will post about it, maybe tomorrow.

  4. leigh says:

    It’s fascinating, and such a privilege to read 🙂

      1. leigh says:

        Ha ha!

  5. Ah, the magic of pesach. Will you celebrate it with anyone?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Probably pay a few visits to friends, Kate, help them light candles and stuff 🙂

  6. Years ago my parents bought a house that a Jewish architect had built for himself. Moving from a tiny Karoo dorpie and an old house, we thought we were the bee’s knees in this new mansion. I remember us kids counted 17 plug points in the kitchen alone.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sounds marvellous, 17 plug points!

      1. sounds like a dream, and the rest of the house? My home is not 20 years old and is short of plug points in some areas

      2. theonlycin says:

        I have a serious shortage of plug points in my house.

  7. Always learning something new on your blog.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      That is nice to know, Mandy 🙂

  8. lovely one, my other mother was Jewish so some is familiar

    1. theonlycin says:

      I think part of my soul is Jewish 🙂

  9. adeeyoyo says:

    Very interesting, Cindy. I LOVE matzos, and can’t understand why it is so expensive. Some enterprising biscuit manufacturer should market them, changing the name (slightly) and they would fly off the shelves! 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Try Carr’s Water Biscuits, adee 🙂

  10. Tilly Bud says:

    I envy you your larder.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is a lovely thing to have, Tilly 🙂

  11. linda says:

    Have you ever read the book Miriams Kitchen? I don’t know the author and I have let someone borrow it so I haven’t read it yet.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks so much, Linda, I have a voucher I have been meaning to use and will buy this book immediately.

  12. Loving the Bible as I do, I love and respect the Jewish nation. The matzo crackers and liver pâté look delicious. Blessings to you, Cindy…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Carol, have a peaceful Sunday.

  13. SuziCate says:

    Very interesting post…thank you. I love that you have a cool dark room to store goods…I don’t even have a pantry, just cabinets with shelves. Fo some odd reason my kitchen has a walk in coat closet that the hubby has said he was going to put in sheves and make a pantry…it’s been twenty years and I’m still waiting! Maybe I should grab the power tools. that always gets him moving quickly!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, SuziCate, get him on the project immediately. Reminds me that I have a space under the stairs that I have been meaning to convert to a wine cellar. Thanks!

  14. slpmartin says:

    Your array of culinary skills and interest always amazes me. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, Charlie, bonne nuit 🙂

  15. souldipper says:

    Funny you should say that (said with a Jewish accent)…I keep seeing this huge screen announcing your cooking show. Jamie Oliver is your guest and the set is raucous with laughter and brimming with great food. Keep visualizing, Cin! The catering worked!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I will, Amy, because even having the dream is fun 😀

  16. your natural ability to connect us with each other is ever evident

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, Doc, that’s a lovely comment 🙂 xxx

  17. Yvette says:

    You’ve done it again,friend. Another intrigued follower! x

    1. theonlycin says:

      Grazie, Yvette 🙂

  18. nrhatch says:

    My favorite Jewish foods ~ potato pancakes and potato knish. YUMMY!

    I have a recipe for a vegetarian lentil pate which is a delicious alternative to chopped liver. 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      I also love knishes 😀

  19. Tandy says:

    In my recipe book is the most amazing recipe for Tzimmas! Hope you are having a super weekend xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Luckily I had baby carrots in the fridge ;p Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  20. Jamie Dedes says:

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I should not have come here before eating breakfast or even having coffee. Now I will stuff stuff stuff. Oh, delight! … and then I’l walk, walk, walk …

    Meanwhile, in the spirit of sharing and thanks for all the memories and ideas here, our recipe for NY Chopped Liver –

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Jamie, going to make that recipe soon 🙂

  21. Tokeloshe says:

    Very interesting.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad you found it interesting, Tok.

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