Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mulch of a mulchness

As I wrote below, I have become a fervent juice enthusiast, thanks largely to my lovely new juice machine. As much as I was enjoying the juice, I felt perfectly wretched about throwing away all the pulp. An informal survey revealed that most juicers are as clueless about pulp-disposal modalities as am I. I spoke to some folks who compost their own gardens, but my offers to contribute my own pulp met with polite but firm resistance.

So you can imagine how delighted I was to find that community gardeners are collecting all kinds of compost-worthy scraps almost right next door. Details about what to bring and where to bring it can be found at the New York City Compost Project . The Union Square Greenmarket has a compost drop-off station every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, usually somewhere along the north edge of the park. I bet there are analogous sites in other cities. I am so happy to be able to donate my pulp instead of throwing it out. I’m not kidding; I have just been skipping around all day.

Here’s a handy glossary of worm words:
You knew I’d have to find a way to fit in some compost lexicography

Diet of Worms

The Worm Woman site has worm videos, worm-zines, and just about any worm-related product for your worm-needs.

Friday, September 23, 2005

שײנינקע אוגערקעלעך

הײַנט האָב איך געקױפֿט די זײער קלײנע אָרגאַנישע אוגערקעלעך. זײ זענען קױם װי אַ כּזית די גרײס. איך האָב זײ צוגעגעבן צו אַ זאַפֿט פֿון שאָר־ירקות. אַז מע האָט אַ נײַעם זאַפֿט־מאַשינדל, זעט אױס אַלצדינג זײער זאַפֿטיק. די זאפֿט איז מיר זײער גשמאַק, אָבער אַ סך האָבן מורא. איך קען בײַ זײ נישט פּועלן. אַזױ האָב איךזי געמאַכט דאָס מאָל׃

1 גרױס אוגערקע אָדער 7 קלײנע אוגערקעלעך

3 גרױסע זײער רײַפֿע פּאָמידירן

4-5 װינטערקאַרשן (טאָמאַטיִלאָס)

1/2 1 פֿונט מײערן

¾ פֿונט בוריקעס

3 צעלניק (סעלעריע)

1 אָדער 2 פֿעפֿערלעך

(אַ קלײן שאַרף פֿעפֿערל איז אױך גוט, אױב מע װיל)

אָט! אײנס איז ניצול געװאָרן!

Labels: ,

Monday, September 19, 2005

וכּשר הדבֿר לפֿני ההמלך

זעט אונטן

The Chocolate Lady’s Shabes Ki Seytse Survival Guide

This week’s guide
is a tribute to the courageous peoples and rich cultures of our ravaged gulf coast. Joining the many cooks and writers who have devoted their spaces in recent weeks to the cuisines of Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, I will be looking at a vegetable from Mississippi and environs. Like so many stories about the delta region, this one begins with Elvis.

My Elvis story

Around the time I got divorced I was up late a lot of nights and I watched some very unusual things on television. One such night I saw a very old talk show--I can't remember which--on which Elvis was a guest. He was talking about a vegetable that grew wild where he came from called "pork salad." He said that pork salad wasn't all that good, but folks were poor, and it grew wild all over the place, so everyone was cooking and eating it. One girl, however, was such a wonderful cook that she could make anything taste delicious, even pork salad, and in fact, he had written a song about this very girl, called "Pork Salad Annie." Then Elvis played the song, which I enjoyed very much.
Well, I hardly need to add I was up the rest of the night searching through all my (then very limited) cookbooks and reference books for pork salad to no avail. There was nothing in Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking, nothing even in Waverly Root's huge encyclopedia. It was the mid-eighties.

The years rolled by and every time I came across a new culinary or botanical text I looked for pork salad. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t finding it anywhere. How could such an important vegetable go undocumented?

The eureka moment came a few years later. I came across a description of a vegetable called POKE, or polk, or pokeweed, or poke salad, or (my favorite) poke salet, that was obviously what I was looking for. Elvis had called it poke salad, but I had heard pork salad. I had hyper-corrected the King's English!

The Yiddish word for poke salad is alkermes fitolàc

For very helpful information on poke salad and some wonderful pictures, have a look at Wayne’s Word.

And here are Tony Joe White’s original words to Poke Salad Annie. Here are the words for Elvis’s version. I must have misremembered the interview where I thought I understood Elvis to be the author.

This week I made this beautiful green soup. I disclose reluctantly that I used chard rather than poke.

The Chocolate Lady’s Pokey-Leeky Soup

5 smallish zucchini
½ pound poke leaves (substitute chard, spinach, or watercress)
6 large leeks
olive oil
about six sprigs parsley (a little less than ¼ cup, minced)
small bunch dill (about ½ cup, minced)
salt and Louisiana Tabasco sauce, to taste

Shred or slice the zucchini, salt lightly and allow to rest in a strainer or colander as you prepare the other vegetables. Carefully wash the greens and leeks. Cook the greens in boiling water. If using Poke, discard the cooking water. Chop the leaves. Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks. Heat the olive oil soup pot and add the leeks. Cook the leeks over low heat for about ten minutes. Add the zucchini and cook a few minutes more, add the greens and continue cooking a little longer. Now add four or five cups of the vegetable-cooking water or fresh water if you are using poke. Salt and simmer for 20 minutes or until everything is very tender. Puree the soup in batches. Add minced herbs and milk or other liquid to thin as needed. Test for seasonings.

Kashres and The King

In the 1966 film Spinout, Presley plays a singer who is also a racecar driver; he travels around with his band, which is also his pit crew. Late in the movie, the gang needs for some reason I can’t recall to persuade our hero that his car is not working. The king senses that things have gone a bit pear-shaped, but can’t figure out how. Furrowing his brow at the sabotaged engine, he mutters “Something here isn’t kosher.”

Bonus Poke Salad Trivia

Supporters of candidate James Knox Polk wore sprigs of poke salad in their buttonholes to express their allegiance.

Blah Blah Blah

"The Chocolate Lady’s Shabes Ki Seytse 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.


Claiborne, Craig. Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking. 1st ed. New York: Times Books, 1987.

Root, Waverley Lewis. Food, an Authoritative and Visual History and Dictionary of the Foods of the World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980.

Schaechter, Mordkhe. Di Geviksn Velt in Yidish (Plant Names in Yiddish). New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2005.

Questions? Comments? ASK THE CHOCOLATE LADY!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 11, 2005

בוריקעס אױף פּסח

בוריקעס אױף פּסח
װערטער און מוזיק פֿון סאָלאָמאָן גאָלוב

שטײ אױף, מײַן מאַן, קריך פֿון בעט אַרױס,
שושן פּורים איז שױן אױך אַװעק.
גײ קױף שױן קאַלך פֿאַר אױסװײַסן די הױז,
אױפֿן צעבער קלאַפּ אַרױף אַ דעק.
סלױעס פֿאַר שמאַלץ שױן אָנגעגרײט,
די ראַבע הון האָט שױן געלײגט אַן אײ,
אַ נײַעם קיטל צו
ם סדר אױפֿגענײט
און קײן בוריקעס נאָך אַלץ ניטאָ.
בוריקעס אױף פּסח דאַרף מען האָבן,
בוריקעס דאָס איז דאָך אַ גרױסע זאַך!
פֿאַר כרײן, פֿאַר ראָסל, פֿאַרן אורח, פֿאַרן שכן,
דאַרף מען בוריקעס אַ סך.
שטײט אױף קינדער, צו דאַװנען איז שױן צײַט;
מען דאַרף גײן אין חדר אַרײַן,
לערנט די קשיות, צו פּסח איז ניט װײַט,
װעט איר קריגן כרעמזלעך מיט װײַן.
די אַלטע מלבושים איבערגענײט,
מיט לאַטעס שפּאָגל נײַע,
קאָלירטע כּוסות צום סדר אָנגעגרײט
און קײן בוריקעס איז נאָך אַלץ ניטאָ.

קאַלך whitewash
אױסװײַסן whiten
צובער (צעבער) tub
דעק cover
די סלױע (סלאָיע) (ס) jar
די ראַבע הון speckled hen
דער קיטל (קיטעל) (ען) ceremonial garment white
דער בוריק (עס) beet
כרײן (חרײן) horseradish
ראָסל (ראָסעל) fermented beet brine
דער אורח (ים) guest
דער שכן (ים) neighbor

אױבן איז אַ בלעטל נאָטן. דאָס לידעלע הײסט „בוריקעס אױף פּסח“ (נישט „בוף קעס אױף פּסח” װי איך האָב פֿרייִער געמײנט). דאָס ליד דערמאָנט נישט באָרשטש, נאָר ראָסל. ראָסל איז אַ װעלט פֿאַר זיך אַלײן.
Beets for Passover. Poem and Music by Solomon Golub, edited by H. Pospischil. Copyright 1921 by N’Ginah Publishing. Copyright assigned 1929 to Henry Lefkowitz.
אַ שײנעם דאַנק מינע־פֿרײדע טובֿיהן װאָס האָט פֿאַרריכט מײַן סקאַנדירער!
From the back cover of the sheet music:
Among the Orthodox Jews of Eastern Europe, the most popular dish during the Passover week is cold beet soup, usually prepared weeks in advance. In this archly comic song we are told of the anxiety of a bustling Jewish housewife, who has prepared everything for the coming feast--cleaned and whitewashed the house, scoured the old pots, and fitted out her children's clothes with "brand new patches"-- but is still, at this late day, without the inispensible beet soup. She urges her somewhat sluggish husband and children to get busy at once



Friday, September 02, 2005

אַ לאָך אין באָרשטש

חבֿר יצחק ניבאָרסקי פֿון פּאַריז שרײַבט אונדז׃

בײַ אונדז אין דער הײם האָט מען אָפֿט מאָל געזאָגט „אַ לאָך אין באָרשט“ אינעם זעלבן זינען װי מע זאָגט „אַ לאָך אין הימל,“ דאָס הײסט, כּדי אױסצודרוקן אַז אַ פֿאַקט װאָס עמעצער זעט אים װי אַ צרה אָדער אַ שװעריקײט, איז אין דער אמתן אין גאַנצן נישט װיכטיק׃

—מאַמע, אסתּר װיל זיך נישט שפּילן מיט מיר!
—אַ לאָך אין באָרשט! שפּיל זיך אַלײן, װעט זי שױן קומען און דיך בעטן שפּילן מיט איר!

איך װיל הערן װײַטער װעגן אַנדערע באָרשטש־אידיאָמען!