Grapevine: Jewish penicillin a la Golda
One can only guess whether or not Golda Meir also served her ministers chicken soup.
Golda Meir, Ariel Sharon walk in Sinai in 1973 Photo: REUTERS/Handout
The papal Twitter feed launched this week had resonance for millions of
Catholics and other Christians around the world, but for Jews the most important
item on the Internet over the past week or two was a taste of
Regardless of political upheavals at home and abroad, what
caught the attention of so many people was the release by the Israel State
Archives of the recipe that Golda Meir used to make her chicken soup.
recipe will be familiar to almost anyone whose regular Friday night menu
includes chicken soup, but perhaps of greater interest than the recipe itself is
the fact that it was typed in English on a Foreign Ministry letterhead,
presumably by the legendary Lou Kedar, who was Golda’s faithful long term
secretary for some three decades.
One of the things that Golda was famous
for was her kitchen cabinet, which actually met in her kitchen rather than her
office. It’s known that she served her cabinet members cake that had just come
out of the oven.
One can only guess whether or not she also served her
ministers chicken soup.
For readers who might be interested in Golda’s
chicken soup, which was probably gleaned from something handed down by her
mother, here it is, verbatim as it appeared in its typewritten version. Note the
Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew words, and the slight lack of logic
towards the end of the recipe.
Golda Meir’s recipe for chicken soup
the chicken with parsley, celery, cut-up carrots, peeled onion, salt, pepper a
pinch of paprika until the chicken is tender.
If you like rice, you may
add it after straining the soup, bring to boil for another quarter of an
Mrs Meir generally serves chicken soup with kneidlach which she
prepares as follows: The matzos (unleavened bread) are soaked in cold water till
soft, then squeeze dry, crush with a fork and add fried onions and a little oil,
some parsley, salt, pepper and two beaten eggs.
Add enough matzo meal for
binding. Make into small balls, set aside for serving for one hour.
an hour before serving, drop the balls into the boiling soup and cook for about
half an hour.’
In typical Jewish fashion, there’s no mention of quantities,
though any good cook knows that the more carrots there are in the soup, the
better it tastes, and the addition of parsnip and turnip enhances it even
As for the kneidlach, it’s hard to tell until one actually follows
the recipe whether Golda’s kneidlach were feather light or cannon
Interestingly, given the generation in which she was raised, she
used oil instead of the then-popular rendered chicken fat, better known by its
Yiddish name of schmaltz. In addition, not every traditional cook would include
fried onions and parsley.
But there must have been more to these
kneidlach and chicken soup than meets the eye or the palate, otherwise why would
the document have remained classified until 34 years after Golda’s death?
WAS in the spotlight in Israel this week with a number of events: the arrival of
a delegation of Chinese billionaires; a reception hosted by Thai Ambassador Jukr
Boon Long in honor of the 85th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is
currently the world’s longest reigning monarch; a dinner hosted by Korean
Ambassador Ilsoo Kim to celebrate the strengthening of cultural ties in the
jubilee year of diplomatic ties between Korea and Israel; the presentation of
credentials by India’s new ambassador Jaideep Sarkar and in the evening of that
day, the celebration of the 79th birthday of the emperor of Japan hosted at the
Japanese residence by Ambassador Hideo Sato.
Kim was somewhat miffed by
the fact that President Shimon Peres had attended the reception for the Chinese
billionaires, as well as another Chinese reception some six weeks earlier as
part of the festivities marking 20 years of diplomatic ties between China and
Israel, and had also been the guest of honor at the Japanese reception, but had
not been at any of the events highlighting 50 years of diplomatic relations
between Korea and Israel.
He seemed to have forgotten that Peres visited
Korea two years ago, and that this was more significant than attending a
■ AT THE Thai reception at the Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv, Shmuel
Morgan of the Foreign Ministry’s Protocol Department, for the second time in the
space of a week, had to read an English translation of the minister’s speech
because Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, who represented the
government, is apparently not sufficiently fluent in English to be able to read
the text prepared by the Foreign Ministry. He had to do the same for another
Shas minister the previous week.
It is to be hoped that if Shas is part
of the new government coalition, that at least one of its ministers will have a
sufficient grasp of English, so as to spare Morgan the trouble of having to once
again read a translation.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday has
consistently been an occasion for a series of Thai ambassadors to promote their
country as a popular tourist destination and in this respect Boon Long was no
Let’s face it, Israelis do love Thailand and they love Thai
cuisine, which Boon Long’s guests got to sample. The buffet included many
tropical fruits not usually seen in Israel.
The Thais genuinely love
their king who has been closely involved with numerous projects to better the
quality of life of his people.
They’re also very proud of the fact that
of all living reigning monarchs, he is the oldest and has reigned the longest –
even longer than Britain’s Queen Victoria who was on the throne for 63 years and
Britain’s current Queen, Elizabeth II, has reigned for 60
years and 10 months.
Other long-reigning monarchs have included King Olav
V of Norway died at 87 in January 1991 after a 33-year reign. He became the
world’s oldest reigning monarch after the death in January 1989, of Japan’s
Emperor Hirohito, who died at 88 following a 63-year reign. But Bhumibol has
reigned since June 1946, which gives him a three-year edge over his closest
Boon Long is getting ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary
in March 2014 of Thailand’s diplomatic relations with Israel, by upgrading the
volume and variety of Thai cultural events throughout 2013.
EMBASSIES are placing greater emphasis on bringing exponents of their countries’
cultures to Israel. In an era in which everyone wore distinctive national
costumes, there was perhaps less need for cultural identity, but of all the
foreign communities living in Israel, only the Indians continue to dress in
their traditional garments nearly all the time.
Some of the Indian men
wear Western suits, but when Sarkar presented his credentials, he wore a dark
Nehru suit as did all the men in his delegation, whereas all the women wore
saris. Sarkar, as well as another Indian guest, were still wearing their Nehru
suits later at the Japanese reception.
■ FORMER PRIME minister Ehud
Olmert is not exactly in the category of a warm-up act, but that’s what he
inadvertently became at the Japanese reception. Olmert and his wife, Aliza, have
graced the Japanese residence on previous occasions, but this time, because of
his controversial comments in US earlier in the week about the government and
E1, he was instantly surrounded by both admirers and critics, and was the hub of
attention until Peres arrived.
The formal part of the evening began as
usual with the playing of the anthems of both countries. Unlike some of his
colleagues, Sato does not rely on canned music, but had a string
The very gentle, but moving Japanese anthem was softly and
sweetly sung by Japanese guests and embassy staff who were positioned in all
directions. Sato also sang his country’s anthem and then sang
Although he delivered his address in English, Sato quoted from
a cable sent by David Ben-Gurion 60 years ago to then-Japanese prime minister
Yoshida Shigeru, which he read in Hebrew.
He noted that Japan had been
the first country in Asia to recognize the fledgling State of Israel, and had
also been the first to enter into diplomatic relations with Israel.
thanked Israel for its support and solidarity when Japan in March last year
experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
since moved at a rapid pace he said, but Japan is not just reconstructing, it is
building a new Japan.
With specific reference to relations with Israel,
Sato was pleased that the level of Japanese studies in Israel is now on a par
with studies of the US and Europe.
Bilateral trade has exceeded $3
billion, but Sato declared that the economic potential between the two countries
had not been sufficiently exploited. Future plans in this context, include a
Free Trade Agreement.
The future of Israel lies in regional cooperation,
he said, and for this to happen, the Arab/Israel conflict must be resolved.
Japan’s contribution towards this aim has been the establishment of the Jericho
Agro-Industrial Park which will help the Palestinians towards economic
The first phase of the park is nearing completion and
nearly 40 business entities have expressed their willingness to be part of the
project said Sato, who expects these businesses to begin operating early next
Peres praised Japan for its contribution towards Middle East peace,
especially the development of the peace corridor in Jericho, which he said was
one of the most successful endeavors in the Middle East.
On a more
personal level he observed that in Japanese tradition, people are reborn after
reaching the age of 60.
“I love this tradition because it makes me feel
like a young man of 30,” said the 89- year-old president who conveyed his good
wishes to Emperor Akihito who is 10 years younger In general, Peres leaves
functions almost immediately after the formalities or even in the middle of the
formalities, but this time, he stayed for quite a while afterwards, mobbed by
the crowd, with people queuing up to be photographed with him, even when they
didn’t exchange a single word with him.
■ AN OLD adage frequently quoted
by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon over the past day or two is “if you
can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”
Ayalon has been using it
as a face-saver in interviews about how he felt when advised by his boss Avigdor
Liberman that he was not on the party list for the Knesset
Speculation over the reason that Ayalon was dropped has
centered on two issues – the first being the Turkish debacle in which Ayalon
publicly humiliated the Turkish ambassador, and the consequences of that action;
and the second being that Ayalon allegedly boasted that in the event that
Liberman would have to step down if charged with corruption, that he, Ayalon,
would be acting foreign minister.
But there may well be a third reason
that can be attributed to the evils of modern technology. In the social media
world of Facebook, Twitter, et al, Ayalon was among those public figures who,
like Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel of old, was all over the place, giving
rise to a steady stream of self aggrandizement inspired by the original text:
“They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek him
Nobody had to seek Ayalon. He was here, there and
everywhere, seemingly upstaging Liberman.
Members of the Foreign Ministry
were somewhat shocked when Liberman announced the list on Tuesday night, and
several said that they were too embarrassed to face the deputy minister. They
were initially spared that experience, because Ayalon left for the Czech
Republic and Germany with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and thus there was
no chance of anyone bumping into him in the corridors of the Foreign Ministry on
Even though he is putting on a brave front, dismissal is not
what he expected for his 57th birthday on December 17. Still, Ayalon, who is of
Algerian descent on his father’s side, may not find himself jobless. Inter alia,
he has been very active in efforts for Jews from Arab lands in their quest to
receive compensation for property that was confiscated from them in the lands
from which they fled or from which they were expelled. It’s quite possible that
he may find himself professionally employed to continue doing this.
REGULAR SHOPPERS at the Supersol (Shufersal) chain know that every December when
their bill is toted up at the check-out counter, they are asked to purchase a
heartshaped pin. The proceeds go to Variety, the organization that is dedicated
to adding quality to the lives of children with special needs.
from pin sales this year will be channeled towards children in the south of the
country who have had a really tough and traumatic time in recent
“We decided to focus this year’s golden heart campaign on
children in the conflict zone, in the hope of adding a little sweetness to their
lives,” said Variety Chairman Ori Slonim.
Supersol CEO Yitzhak Abercohen
noted that this is the 20th consecutive year in which the company is joining
forces with Variety to bring some joy to children with special needs. The
campaign which will be launched on December 9 will continue until December