Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Shtshocolate Lady’shtsh shtshabes mashtshay (shtshav!) shtshurvival guide

If you are reading this, I suspect that like me, you may have spent much of the last week immersed in Di geviksn velt in yidish (Plant Names in Yiddish) by Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter(Schaechter 2005). Perhaps, like me, you are also trying to find ways to use all thirteen synonyms for “potato” in sentences without drawing undue attention. The real windfall for culinary logomanes, however, turns out to be the family of synonyms for “sorrel” or Rumex Acetosa and R. Acetosella (Garden Sorrel and sheep sorrel. None of these sorrel species are any relation to Hibiscus, which in the Caribbean is made into a drink called sorrel because of its tart flavor). The introduction to the English section (page xviii) lists 16:

Shtshav, shtshavéy, kvasetes, shtshuf, khtshuf, shtshàvye, shtshavél, hozn shtshavél, shtshavl, tsvey, tshakhets, shtsha, tshakhets, shtshave, shtshaver and the archaic ámper.

In Yiddish and in English, Shtshav or “schav” is the word both for the vegetable and cold sour soup in which it is the main ingredient.

It’s not so easy being green

Shtshav would seem to have much in common with its better-known cousin, borshtsh: Coolness, sourness, soupiness, that awesome consonant cluster, and yet, fewer people make shtshav, or have even heard of it. I love the green stuff, but I don’t prepare it nearly as often as borshtsh. Beets are available almost all year and sorrel just for a few weeks. Sorrel also has a much shorter shelf-life. You have to decide to use it within a day or so of getting it home.


3 or 4 bunches sorrel, about one pound

4 eggs

3 cucmbers
3 green summer onions, or regular onions

salt and lemon juice to taste

Wash the sorrel carefully and remove the stems. Chop the leaves and cook them for 40 minutes in just over 2 quarts salted water. Many recipes will direct you to add sugar and lemon juice at this point, but really, the sorrel can stand on its own. Either puree the cooked sorrel in its broth, or just leave it as is.

Beat the eggs and gradually beat them into the hot soup.

Dice the onions and cucumbers and place them in a chilled bowl or tureen. Pour in the shtshav and allow to chill. Taste to correct seasoning. Serve with sour cream or poppy seed milk.

Poppy seed milk

Cook one cup of poppy seeds in two cups of water. Allow to simmer for ten minutes. Blend the water and poppy seeds until milky, and strain.

You can order Plant Names in Yiddish from The Workman's Circle bookshop or the Center for Jewish History bookshop

Blah Blah Blah

"The Chocolate Lady’s Shabes Masay Survival Guide" is protected by
copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. You may share it with folks if you like, but only in its entirety including this notice. Any other form of republication, unless with prior written permission of the author, is strictly prohibited. Copyright © 2005 by Eve Jochnowitz.

Questions? Comments? ASK THE CHOCOLATE LADY!

Schaechter, Mordkhe. 2005. Di geviksn velt in yidish (Plant names in Yiddish). New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your frame of reference.
Shaloma-lehechianu, and the way that you re able to connect rue language with deeper intellect: creating with work.
Thanks for being part of the blogspot rituals I intend to create for purpose of writing.
leave comment:

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please try to use the same comments thoughout your meaning of hebrew light and reflection of a natural realm that you would want to express through another chosen language when working with topics you run fluid with in mind.
-thanks for blogging with me and

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of these sorrel species are any relation to Hibiscus, which in the Caribbean is made into a drink called sorrel because of its tart flavor).
This is a great sorrel, I also like French sorrel, it's very special.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous nyginko said...

My Mother, Raisa bat Ida, bat Brina, used to say, "Look and you will find!" And I have. And I am thinking of her now.

What a pleasure to find your web pages אין מױל ארײן before Shvies!

Just in time for me to begin the rye sprouts and cashew & hemp cheese for Shvies.

The videos are such fun, too! Thanks,


12:51 PM  

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