Posts Tagged: Food for Thought Results 187
I had a beautiful Hungarian grandmother, born Erzsébet Weisz and redubbed Elizabeth Weiss when she and her parents and brother and sister moved to New York from Miskolcz in the 1920s. I called her Nana and she called me darling. (It sounded like dahhrrlink, as if spoken by a brainiac Zsa Zsa Gabor.) Nana said her Ws like Vs and her Vs like Ws, so as she told it, proudly, I vent to Wassar. She had gone to another of the seven sisters, Barnard, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1926, a brand new immigrant who had enrolled only two years earlier, no less. She went on to get a Master’s at Columbia; then taught at Hunter College and later — after being denied tenure for marrying my grandfather — at Horace Mann. She spoke five languages, had perfect skin, and made splendid baby lamb chops and a mean chicken-in-the-pot.
Like matzo balls, bagels used to be plain — or sesame if you were lucky. There were no pumpkin, jalapeño or asiago-cheese bagels on which to shmear your cream cheese.
“My father would always say that there are two kinds of people: those who eat to live and those who live to eat,” my grandpa, who I call Zayde, said to me over the phone.
“For me, noodle kugel has special significance because it is the one thing that I get credit for,” said my maternal grandpa, who I call Zayde.
When it comes to latkes, we are a sour cream family. In fact, my mother thinks sour cream goes with everything. Not that there’s anything wrong with applesauce. But sour cream, or smetana in Russian, is in our DNA as one of the key ingredients in Russian cuisine.