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 thoughts on “WHY I COOK FOR PESACH

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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! 😀

  4. 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!

    • 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s