July 23rd, 2013 § 1 comment

HG has been rereading some works by I.B. Singer (In My Father’s Court, The Magician of Lublin, Satan in Goray) and I.J. Singer (Yoshe Kalb.) This is a plunge into the vanished world of the Jewish Chassidim of Poland, a strange environment of fervent religiosity, Talmudic scholarship, superstition, mysticism. A world wiped out by the German murderers. Beyond the spiritual, the Singer books provide plenty of descriptions of traditional Eastern-European Jewish food-ways from everyday eating to wedding dinners to the opulent feasts of the more prosperous rabbinical courts. HG was struck by the omnipresence in these descriptions of kasha (buckwheat groats). Kasha with milk for breakfast. Kasha in chicken soup. Kreplach (a sort of Jewish ravioli) stuffed with kasha. Knishes stuffed with kasha. Bowls of kasha with onions. Indeed, kasha seemed the staff of life for many Polish and other Eastern European Jews. HG, the son of Jewish/Belorussian immigrants, ate lots of kasha at the family table. Loved its robust nutty flavor. Still love it. HG enjoys it in a bowl of steaming beef or chicken broth. Enjoys it as an accompaniment to brisket and gravy. Enjoys it mixed with farfalle (butterfly shaped) pasta in a dish called kasha varnishkes. HG has a fervent attachment to this dish when it is topped with fried onions and mushrooms. Accompanied by a bowl of sour cream or Greek yogurt, of course. When winter chill arrives, HG watches NFL playoffs on TV. Before HG is a bowl of onion-mushroom-kasha varnishkes, Sour cream. A bottle of dark beer. A glass of ice cold vodka. Happy times.


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