Thursday, December 14, 2006

 

CHACUN A SON GOUT

...or "al ta'am v'rayach ain leheetvakayach" - which simply means to each his own - or tastes differ.

Today I called my friend, Myra, and when she answered the phone she said "a million dollars" - which means that she was just going to call me. Why? She opened her refrigerator door and saw two fish heads smiling at her and she knew she had to bring them to me.

She made gefilte fish for the Hanukkah party she is throwing on Saturday - yes, I'm invited - and she used the heads and bones to make the "rotev" - what the Ashkenazim call "yoich" or broth. She ate all the fish from the bones - cook's "tchupar" (treat) - and she saved the heads for me! What a treat indeed. [My mother, my grandmother and I used to fight over the heads so my mom always had to be sure to make gefilte fish using at least three heads.] And that is what I had for dinner this evening - two absolutely delicious fish heads.

As Ilanit says - funny people eat funny food. I wonder whether she means funny "ha ha" or funny "peculiar".

I think I've always had strange tastes in food (pun). Maybe it's because I grew up in a very European household where there wasn't lots of money - we never starved, mind you, and there was plenty of money for music lessons and drama lessons and dancing lessons and going out to dinner on Sunday evening - and so we ate foods at home that were delicious but not very expensive. We never had standing rib roasts or rack of lamb. No - we had things like fried brains, and chicken fricasee made with the necks and gizzaards and hearts and feet. Not drumsticks - feet - those things the chicken walks on.

And what else? Lungen stew - a goulash made with a "shlung" - the heart and lungs and "miltz"(spleen) of the cow - and we ate skirt steak - very cheap then and today very "in" - and still my favorite steak - and tongue - and sweetbreads - and stuffed cabbage (made the meat go further). And my Dad - the feinschmecker - taught me to eat raw oysters and frogs legs.

And shredded black radish mixed with "shmaltz" (rendered chicken fat) and coarse salt and spread on Jewish corn bread (sort of a heavy rye bread) - and to this day I like anything made with ground beef.

And good thick hearty soups. And pot roast and kasha varnishkas. And I'm getting hungry - and nostalgic - just talking about the foods of my childhood.

As I said - "al ta'am v'rayach......"

Stay Safe.

Rena

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