Friday, March 11, 2011

Noodles on the Brain

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about kasha varnishkes.  I've also been considering whether I should add the fruit cocktail from one of my noodle kugel recipes to the dairy ingredients from the other noodle kugel recipe.  And I've been checking out cabbage with an eye towards kraut sveckle, a Hungarian masterpiece I learned from my mother in law, one of the world's greatest cooks.  I have to admit she is a better cook than even my mother was, and a lot nicer too.   My mother in law is so nice, she actually liked my mother.

Grammy (my mother), my son Cory at age 4, and Grandma

I am craving those kasha varnishkes, but I think my friend Terry might enjoy a noodle pudding at our next office potluck, and kraut sveckle would make an awesome and original side dish to accompany corned beef on St. Patrick's Day.  There's the answer, I'll just make everything.

Then there's the chopped herring ... I haven't made chopped herring in years.  When I was living in the dorm at SUNY Stony Brook, I used to love to go to Waldbaum's, buy a quarter pound of chopped herring (I was on a budget) and a package of Lender's frozen pumpernickel bagels, then go back to the room, toast the bagel and schmeer on some chopped herring.  Best dinner, ever.

The truth is, one cannot easily stage a Brooklyn Jewish eating orgy in Central Florida.  It is a lot better than it was when we first moved here almost 20 years ago, but the deli counter in Publix does not carry smoked whitefish, baked salmon, chubs, lox that is sliced in front of you, chopped herring, or fat fillets of schmaltz herring that are sliced up by the counterman, and only then added to that wonderful cream sauce with onions.  Oy!  I'm getting heartburn just thinking of it.  

My Publix makes a pretty good challah, and we can get a really fine bagel at Delish New York Bakery, a recent addition to the Dr. Phillips neighborhood (check out the link-bagels boiled in New York!), but nothing will ever compare to Sunday mornings when my Pop would head out to Brooklyn to pick up a baker's dozen of the hottest, freshest, most intoxicating bagels, along with a half dozen fresh bialys. He would rush them back home for the best breakfast ever, but not before he scarfed down at least one of those hot bagels in the car.  Untoasted, unbuttered, no cream cheese or lox - bagel au naturel - the minimalist bagel - sheer bagel purity.  Then he would come home and eat at least one more bagel, piled high with lox, sliced tomato and onion and a lot of cream cheese, or laden with strips of crisp bacon covered in American cheese and placed in the toaster oven for a good melt.

I wandered off course ... back to noodles.

I'm gonna need a lot of onions.

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