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Comfort food (#1047)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical

The stresses we are facing are leading many people to crave comfort foods. If you’d asked me a week or two ago what my comfort foods were, I might have mentioned chocolate or corned beef hash and eggs or potato latkes. But these past few days, I’ve found myself wanting some sweet lokshen kugel. It’s strange; I don’t think I’ve had my mother’s [1] kugel [2] since I’ve moved to Iowa [3]. But it’s a dish I miss. I’m pretty sure the craving was sparked, in part, by [A New York Times article on Ben Katchor’s new book, The Dairy Restaurant], but it’s hard to believe that an article could instill such a strong craving.

Is it appropriate to eat noodle kugel during Passover? I have no idea. At least one recipe I found online started with kosher for Passover egg noodles, which suggests it might be legal. But I don’t know all of the policies and practices. Of course, I do not generally observe the Passover restrictions, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. I just didn’t want it to feel too wrong.

Unfortunately, mom never passed her recipe (which may have been her mother’s recipe) on to me. So I had to go searching. Traditionally, my mother’s recipes either came from The New York Times Cookbook or a late-50’s edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I did find some gentile noodle puddings in those books, but they were savory rather than sweet. The other go-to book, Sara Kasden’s Love and Knishes also only had a savory lokshen kugel. So I turned to the Interweb.

That recipe I mentioned above was the second or third I found. The first asked me to separate the eggs and whip the whites. But it lacked raisins and cinnamon. And it had crushed corn flakes on top. Bleh. I ended up improvising a bit. I did whip the egg whites and fold them into the mixture, but I did not use corn flakes. And I certainly used raisins and cinnamon.

I did not record my improvised recipe. But that’s okay. It didn’t turn out like I remember mom’s kugel. It tasted about right. But the consistency was wrong. Mine was soft and loose. I recall mom’s (grandma Sarah’s) being much firmer, more like lasagna.

When my arteries have recovered from this attempt, maybe I’ll try again. But I do feel happy to have made it. It brings back memories of childhood and the kitchen on Billings Park.

Next up, kasha varnishkes, if I can find a place to get buckwheat groats. Or maybe I’ll just make potato latkes; they’re less healthy, but all the oil probably makes them a bit more comforting.

[1] Grandmother’s?

[2] Or any kugel.

[3] I was going to write, Since I went away to college, but Michelle recalls having it, so that would have been wrong.

Version 1.0 of 2020-04-12.