(photo credit: SARIT GOFEN)
Chen Shamgar, 50, grew into cooking by stages. She developed a discriminating palate at home in Hadera, where her grandmother, an excellent home cook, set forth the best of classic Ashkenazi cooking, Polish style. But Shamgar’s mother was less traditional and more adventurous in the kitchen.“Mom would buy and study every cookbook she could find. She cooked dishes no one else was dreaming of when I was growing up. Chinese food, dishes with shrimp. Some ingredients Mom wanted weren’t available – olive oil, for example. Only Arabs made olive oil back then; you couldn’t find it in the grocery stores. She made do with soy oil. And wine – today there’s such good Israeli wine, but when I was a child, the only wine available was sweet kiddush wine and a sweetish hock produced by Carmel.