In between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur there is still time for Mah Jongg…and yesterday was my turn to host the OMs at our Wednesday game. We started out with a summery lunch – even though it is now October – since the weather has been warm and sticky. First we had Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp followed by Pic’s Fresh Crab Salad with Lime Juice and three yummy cheeses – D’Affinois, Piave, and Humboldt Fog (as always, recipes will follow tomorrow – all are easy and delicious and from recipes by Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa).
Several people have requested the recipes for the holiday cookies. Although not the prettiest cookies I have ever seen, I think these would be perfect not only for Rosh Hashanah but also for breaking the fast on Yom Kippur as they are not terribly sweet. And they also would be good for any Mah Jongg table!
According to The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews by Edda Servi Machlin, “There was a time when the law that prevailed was the ‘law of the stick.’ When landlords could not collect from poor tenants, they would evict them with the persuasive aid of a stick. The same treatment was applied to the Jews when they were no longer wanted in a community.”
“The Jewish fascination with depressing desserts in general, can be interpreted either as an attempt to dust a little sugar over bad memories–or to immortalize the centuries of oppression and scorn as if to say, ‘Even in the good times, we must remember the bad.’ Consuming a dessert that represents a negative experience inherently implies that the Jewish people have not only survived through the era of hardships, but thrived enough to have a little dessert. In other words, sfratti–like hamantaschen or haroset–are a tasty embodiment of the celebratory phrase: ‘They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!'”
Recipes follow… Continue reading