Rebirth of a Nation

[Illustrators: Sudowoodo, terdpong pangwong]

I want to have a little talk with you about the birds and the bees. As you know, right now, your body politic is going through an awkward transition that brings with it strange desires, excitement and also feelings of uncertainty.

You may have noticed changes taking place that you didn’t expect and don’t understand. I want you to know that everything is going to be okay. We all go through this and it is perfectly normal, and in many ways a beautiful thing.

Remember when you were little and I told you that Republicans were made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, and Democrats were made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Well sometimes these two very different types of people come together and even go out with each other. I know you think this sounds pretty gross and you’re right to make that face.

But the reason we come together is to create a new nation, conceived in liberty. Remember when Fluffy had kittens? It’s the same idea. You see, it’s a natural cycle. Every four years we have an election. Don’t be embarrassed. These are the facts of life. In the election the Democrat meets the Republican. Then, a few months later, there’s a new birth of freedom as your Uncle Abe would say.

I know it all sounds very weird right now. When you grow up, after you are old enough to register to vote, you will meet a candidate and fall in love and make a new nation together too. I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though it doesn’t seem like it now, you will get through these growing pains, and when you do, things will get a lot better. I promise.

So now you know where you came from—you came from people. If you have any questions, ask your forefathers.

Gefilte Fish: A Poem

Illustration: michaarcher

Gefilte fish is not a fish.
Gefilte fish is a dish.

You can put it in the skin.
But it won’t be a fish agin.

 

 

 

 

 

Kirk Douglas and The Forverts

Remember the movie “Hester Street”? It was based on the writing of Abe Cahan, who was editor of the Yiddish newspaper, The Forverts (The Forward).  The link above is to a funny story about it as told to my daughter…

Kirk Douglas

On this occasion of his passing, take a moment to hear Mr. Douglas in 2002 singing in Yiddish when he received a lifetime achievement award. The song is Mayn Yidishe Meydele, My Jewish Girl, link below. You won’t believe his eloquent speech and presentation despite suffering a stroke. Such a poignant reminiscence perhaps only a gifted actor could convey.

https://forward.com/culture/yiddish-culture/439597/watch-kirk-douglas-sing-in-yiddish/

Olev hasholem.

From Oy Vey to Olé: Lox, Eggs and Onion Frittata

This recipe solves an inherent problem with the classic recipe. You can scroll down below the recipe to read why.

Lox, Eggs and Onion Frittata

Ingredients:

-6 eggs*

-1 medium onion, sliced thinly

-Nova (smoked salmon), about one slice per egg, cut into hearty pieces

-Fresh dill

-Black Pepper

-Light olive oil (and/or butter, optional)

-Cream cheese (optional)

*(2 servings, adjust quantities proportionately for your family)

This frittata is first cooked on the stove top then finished in the broiler: If your broiler is within the oven, position an oven rack up high, allowing room for your fry pan.

Heat olive oil and/or butter in an oven-ready fry pan. Saute the onions till they begin to brown. Add lox and cook briefly till opaque. Spread lox and onions evenly around the pan, minimizing flaking of lox pieces. Whisk eggs and pour in. Cook on stove top till eggs are almost set; the top will remain uncooked. Garnish with dill. Dot with cream cheese. Turn on broiler. Place pan under broiler for a minute or two to cook the top and brown and puff up the frittata, watching at all times to ensure it does not burn. Use oven mitt to carefully remove pan from broiler, and place on stovetop for a secure base. Use a spatula to gradually scrap around and under entire frittata with care so it can be removed from pan and served. Voila!

The story: Lox and eggs and onions (always plural with ands between!) is a classic breakfast combo, typically made with Nova and not actual lox. But it is basically scrambled eggs, resulting in a delicious but unappetizing looking meal. You don’t want an omelet because the lox and onion should be spread throughout the egg mixture and not concentrated as a filling. You could try cooking on the stove top, then flipping it, but that’s messy. The solution is to make a frittata cooked or finished in the oven, a beautiful, puffy preparation that solves the problem of an undercooked top. It does take some care to get the frittata out of the pan.

Counter top cookware note: A frittata can also be made in an air fryer with a round cake pan insert.

Christmas Cards

The holidays have just begun,
I see your card and raise you one.
Let’s go shuffle through the malls,
Look for deals to deck the halls.

I’ll bet that on this holiday
People still use layaway, and
Christmas clubs for shopping carts
With diamond gifts to meld our hearts.

In my hand I hold three kings.
Oh what joy a full house brings!

You Can Take the Girl out of Brooklyn, but…

You can’t take the Brooklyn out of the girl. (I know that “The Bronx” would have worked a lot better in this borrowing but I am not from there.)

Now I ask you, what does the sign, spotted on the Belt Parkway, mean? Does it mean you are leaving Brooklyn so you can just forget it? Or, my interpretation, you are never really leaving Brooklyn behind. To put it another way, “Fuhgeddaboudit? Fuhgeddaboudit!”

 

From Earth to Moon and Back

Source: NASA

Here’s to all the unsung engineers who made the Apollo 11 moon landing possible. I say this with particular pride because my husband was one of them. A systems engineer for a NASA sub-contractor, he was a card-carrying member of the IEE (from his early days in the UK) and IEEE (US). His expertise was in military/aerospace radar in applications such as tracking and guidance. This technology was used to land the lunar module, dock it back with the command module after the moon landing, and return the spaceship to Earth. (For more details, go to the link at the bottom of this post.)

My husband with a rooftop microwave dish, Ilford, Essex, England (c.1947)

Early wireless communication for the Apollo mission (RCA)

Below is a link to a press release. Read all about space radar, wireless lunar radios, HD-to-TV signals, digital rocket launch technology, and other precursors to the tiny cellular computers we now carry around every day.

https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/413105/Apollo%20Press%20Kits/RCA%20Defense%20Electronic%20Products.pdf

 

My Father the Tailor

Above is quite an old photo of my father, Harry Silberman, who was a tailor from Romania.

The photo above shows Poppa (left) with one of his first bosses when he worked as a tailor in a factory loft in Brooklyn. Poppa later opened his own shop and dry cleaners in Bay Ridge.

But few people wear bespoke clothing anymore. Most people, well…

Lox vs Nova

Lox isn’t lox and nova isn’t nova.

When people say lox, they really mean nova (“Nova Scotia” salmon) even though it isn’t always from Nova Scotia like it used to be.

Anymore, delis and food stores don’t seem to have actual lox. So we use the term loosely and everybody is really talking about and eating only nova these days. But years ago, you could get lox or nova and you had to specify which you wanted. Even some real delis today still offer both. So it is still worth knowing the difference.

A cautionary note: Lox is extremely, almost inedibly salty. It is an acquired taste and that is why most people understandably eat only nova and why the word lox has changed in connotation to refer to the type of smoked salmon that people actually eat.

Instead of trying to explain the difference, let me link to an expert in this helpful story from Bon Appetit :

https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/deli-salmon-explained