Mom’s Cuisine: The Highs and The Lows

May 6th, 2020 § 0 comments

HG’s late Mom, Ida Kopkind Freeman, fed growing HG cuisine ranging from the celestial to the abysmal. Celestial soups: In hot weather, there was icy beet borscht and “schav” (sorrel soup). Both served with a boiled potato, sour cream and chopped onions and radishes. In cold weather: Chicken soup with noodles or “kasha” (buckwheat groats) or fluffy matzo balls. Sometimes all three. “Kapusta” (robust Russian meat and cabbage soup). Mushroom and barley (little HG’s fave). Celestial appetizers: Chopped liver (heavy on lush chicken fat). Gefilte fish (with fiery fresh horseradish grated by HG). “Kreplach” (Jewish dumplings fried in chicken fat). Celestial main dishes: Brisket (“gehdempteh brust” in Yiddish). Sweet and sour stuffed cabbage. Celestial “dairy dishes”: Blintzes; broad egg noodles with pot cheese, kosher salt and cracked black peppercorns; potato “latkes” with sour cream (never apple sauce); matzo brei. Also, bananas or seasonal fruit with sour cream. Celestial baked treats: Noodle and potato kugels; rugelach; “Lekach” (honey cake). Abysmal: All vegetables and salads (a honey and ginger dish of shaved carrots cooked with garlic and chicken fat was known as “tzimmes” was the exception. It was served warm and was delicious.) Absymal: Kosher steak (gristly, tough and broiled beyond well done). Tasteless boiled chicken. Hamburgers fried in Crisco. Mueller’s spaghetti cooked into a sodden mess and covered in canned tomatoes. “American” fried chicken: boiled chicken covered with corn flakes and cooked, once more, in Crisco (this dish made abysmal move into horror). Abysmal desserts: Stewed prunes or canned pears. In retrospect, food winners outnumbered losers and HG thrived. Hey, there was the best after school snack ever. A slice of Pechter’s (or Stuhmer’s) pumpernickel smeared with chicken fat and sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper (sometimes a slice of raw onion was added). (Patient HG fans: Yes, many posts about HG’s Mom. A pre-Mother’s Day tribute).

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