Thursday, April 13, 2006


My mother is a fantastic cook! Objectively, empirically, there is no doubt: my mother just knows how to get it done in the kitchen! If you love your mother (and I hope you do), I'm sure you'll agree that nothing tastes as good as her cooking, but honestly, MY MOTHER'S COOKING IS BETTER THAN YOUR MOTHER'S COOKING. And I don't just love my mother's cooking because I love my mother. I love my mother's cooking because she MAKES CRAZY DELICIOUS FOOD WITHOUT RELYING ON RECIPES!

Last night she treated her family to sweet and sour brisket (it's like a pot roast, but a BAZILLION TIMES MORE YUMMY) with onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots. This is a time-consuming and ultimately gorgeous dish; the meat, with its accompanying veggies, becomes soft and tender and it's rich and hearty and so deliciously comforting and I wish I could accurately describe the taste, but that'd be like describing the smell of your favorite person...basically impossible. But you know how you love the smell of your favorite person? That's how much I love this dish. And unlike a scent, I get to put it in my mouth.

And that would have been enough, but my mother DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO STOP! So she also made HOMEMADE MATZOH BALL SOUP, which is MY FAVORITE FAVORITE SOUP! Matzoh balls are notoriously difficult to prepare correctly; often, they are either way too firm or way too eggy or tasteless or not round enough. My mother NAILED IT! Her matzoh balls were fluffy, tasty, and as soothing as custard. The broth for these awesome balls was homemade as well, composed of parsnip, leek, carrot, celery, turnip, dill, and I think some onion. Holy moly do I love this! It's like baby-food for adults; it just FEELS good to ingest.

And THAT would have been enough, but my mother IS KIND OF AN UNINTENTIONAL SHOW OFF, so she ALSO made a new dish: SLOW-COOKED LAMB CURRY. This was pretty much one of the most delicious foods I've ever eaten. My mother's been cooking lamb since before I was born; I was raised on so many lamb chops that I wouldn't be surprised if I baaaah in my sleep. But this was something new. Inspired by her favorite Indian restaurant, my mother decided to improvise a dish that was exceptionally flavorful, exceptionally falling-off-the-bone tender, and exceptionally exceptional. It would have made Iron Chef Indian weep with envy. If there were an Iron Chef Indian.

Basically, my mother should be the only one responsible for making food for my family, because like a detective or puzzle-solver, she just knows how to put things together. But, unfortunately, my mother allowed my brother to make Sangria. Out of Manishewitz wine. And Peach Schnappes. And Remy Martin Cognac. And Brandy. When my brother wasn't looking, I added a little Hawaiian Punch because I'd witnessed, during a cater-waitering stint, that Hawaiian Punch is the SECRET INGREDIENT to great Sangria. Then the Sangria was TOO SWEET. AND TOO ALCOHOLIC. NOT MY FAULT!!! I have to admit that the making of this Sangria between my brother and I almost resulted in some real familial estrangement. It got tense. I was left to do all the fruit-chopping while my brother ate pistachios with all the speed of the Tazmanian Devil. And he wouldn't stop BOSSING me! And he also wouldn't stop RAIDING my mother's liquor cabinet for more alcoholic ingredients. After this collaborative nightmare I wasn't even in the mood for Sangria, let alone Manishewitz-made Sangria. But everyone else drank it, and LOVED it! THEY LOVED IT!

The lesson here is that when that much alcohol's involved, it's easy to love ANYTHING. Which is why families drink during holidays.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's finally all making sense. Your food expertise is an inseparable part of your genes. Must be. Raised by a mother who really knows how to cook and nurture, and feed. We now understand your yearning for nothing but the delicious. When you've only had the the best, why compromise. Lucky girl, you.

2:09 PM  

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