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.