Short Order: Mix two generations in one kitchen

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March 30, 2006 19:11
3 minute read.

When Elly and Al Ehrlich's son, Ed, died of a terminal illness on September 11 last year, he left a wife and four children - Danit, 19, Micha, 16, Lior, 12 and Yael, nine. "Lior is the quiet one," Elly says. "She was withdrawn. We felt that whatever was on her mind was not coming out. "My daughter-in-law, Judy, thought it would be good for the two of us to spend some time together. Lior likes to cook, and so do I, so one Thursday I asked whether she would like to help me prepare something for Shabbat dinner - which they always have with us - and she said yes. It became a regular thing. "My husband disappears, and Lior and I have the kitchen to ourselves. But Al drives her home, and they have heart-to-heart conversations." The Ehrlichs spend six months in Jerusalem and the rest of the year in New Jersey, so this bonding is important. Has the family noticed a difference in their quietest member? "She's more outgoing, more interested in family things. On Family Day it was her idea that we all go out to a restaurant. And for Ed's birthday, on February 19, she said: 'We have to have a party to remember Daddy.' She suggested things he would have liked, such as star-gazing though a friend's telescope, and we watched Shrek, which was one of Ed's favorite movies. "I think our cooking together has been very good for Lior - and for me, too. I didn't really know my granddaughter before. Lior: "We talk the week before and decide what we're going to make. It's fun." Here's a recipe Elly and Lior enjoy making together, from Susie Fishbein's Kosher By Design. UNSTUFFED CABBAGE Meatballs: 700 gr. ground beef 1 large egg 2 Tbsp. water 1⁄2 cup raw rice 1 medium onion, finely chopped salt, pepper and chopped garlic to taste Mix everything together, and set aside. Cabbage: 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 small head green cabbage, shredded 1 Tbsp. salt 1 cup tomato juice 2 cups canned, crushed tomatoes 1⁄4 cup brown sugar 3⁄4 cup (or less) white sugar a little over 1⁄4 cup lemon juice 1⁄4 cup raisins Heat the oil over medium heat and add the cabbage and the salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the other cabbage-list ingredients. Gently form small meatballs and add to the cabbage mixture. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. THANKS TO Chaim Collins for pointing out that I mentioned only four grains avoided by those who are gluten-intolerant. "Well-meaning friends have offered me cakes or cookies using flour made from spelt (kusemet), saying 'It's wheat-free.' However, it is not gluten-free. Spelt is commonly overlooked, probably because it isn't used too much. Many people are surprised to learn that celiacs can't have it - and that includes people in health food stores that sell it." USING UP flour before Pessah? Zelda Harris says she doesn't measure accurately and "always adds things. That's why I love this cake. I use a little less water and more cocoa, but the mixture's like mousse - it pours into the pan." The recipe is from Bertha Gross of Nofei Hasharon, Netanya. BERTHA'S CAKE 1 cup canola oil 2 cups sugar 3 eggs 1 1⁄2 cups of water 3 cups plain flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1⁄2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda 1⁄3 cup cocoa Beat the sugar with the eggs, then add the oil. Mix in everything else and bake at 180 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until done. I'M BEING more organized about Pessah this year. The day after Purim I started cleaning one kitchen shelf or drawer a day, even if it was the last thing I wanted to do (which it usually was). One bonus is the space I've created by tossing items I hadn't used in years; another is the things I've rediscovered - like a set of 12 bone-handled, delicately patterned chrome fish knives and forks "made in Sheffield (UK)." I can visualize the box stored in our dining room when I was a child, and I don't believe its contents were ever actually used. Last Friday night they were. "The knife and fork you are eating your salmon with," I told my daughter with a sense of occasion, "are not only older than you - they're almost as old as me." This information was absorbed with the reverence due to antiques. judymo@post.com


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