Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to keep it Kosher

I currently work as a cook. Being that I live in the South Eastern United States Jewish cuisine isn't exactly well known to the people I work with. When my boss found out I was Jewish he asked me to make him some authentic dishes. While I know this is a blog about Sephardic Genealogy I had to do the typical US Jewish dishes which are mostly Ashkenazi based.

So what to make first? Latkes, my childhood favorite. A little applesauce...a little sour cream...they loved it. Of course I shaved the potatoes by hand, onions by hand, little salt, little pepper, some paprika, egg, and put the vegetable oil on the flat-top (I put the butter they usually use away to avoid any slip-ups from making it un-authentic).

A few days later, after instructing my boss to get some Matzo meal to make another well-known dish, my boss has boxed latke mix waiting for me...excuse me...it was actually potato pancake mix. He also has Matzo Ball mix (not Matzo meal), Gefilte fish and a box of onion egg matzo. He asks me to go at it, so reluctantly I start to make him cafeteria style Jewish cuisine. As he passes me dropping the Matzo balls into the boiling soup he starts checking everything out a bit. I begin to explain I could make better matzo balls with the matzo he had in the back, I just had to grind it up.

We go grab the matzo and a bowl and he puts it in the bowl and starts to crush it up. Homemade matzo meal, finally another authentic made way. He tells me to go grab some milk. Without thinking I go and grab it. When I come back he takes it and I ask reluctantly "milk? are you sure?". He says "I'll make a cook out of you yet" and before I can explain he pours in the milk. No longer kosher...no longer authentic. Soon my Dad came to talk to my Boss about the Jewish cuisine and he explained kosher to him.

One thing I tried to explain to him is that most of the Jewish cuisine in the states are Ashkenazi based and Ladino style cuisine was a completely different ballpark. Having only a little knowledge of Ladino food myself I'm hoping I can find some more information so I can learn more about it. I'd like to get a Ladino dish on the menu, so if anyone who knows of a great Ladino classic please tell me about it!

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