In Which I Fail at Being a Jewish Woman

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This cholent looks delicious.
Which makes it clear that it's not mine.
Nathan is soon starting an Intro to Judaism class (not my doing, I swear!), & in advance of it, he asked if we could make some type of Jewish food. I'm no chef, but I do love my (his) crockpot, & we had some stew meat in the freezer from the local farmers market, so I concocted a plan to concoct... cholent!

Yeah, I don't really know what cholent is, either, but the idea is that you put a lot of tasty crap into a crockpot & let it cook overnight. You're supposed to make it for Shabbos dinner, I guess, but, hey, ain't no harm in home cookin' all week long. Hey, I even found an article titled "Top Ten Reasons Why Cholent is Like Sex."


So I asked two of my favorite Orthodox ladies, Daphne & Chaviva, for their cholent secrets, & then, armed with their suggestions & a myriad online resources, Nathan & I set about creating some "Jew Stew" of our own.

We included:
  • Cubed stew meat (which is beef... I guess?)
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • A can of baked beans
  • Onions
  • Chickpeas
  • Lots o' BBQ sauce
  • A half can of beer (PBR, if you must know)
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Copious amounts of paprika
  • Water

It simmered overnight, tempting me with the delicious smell & the simple fact that I couldn't open the lid because, you know, that's how crockpots work. Finally, we busted it open, & there it was, all burnt- & carmelized-looking.

You know where this is going, right? It tasted... not good. Nathan claims to like it, & we each had a bowl for dinner, but... guys, it just wasn't good. It tasted bitter & mushy, with an unsettling texture & no real flavor. It tasted like something you'd be served at an orphanage. Gruel, without the "Please, sir, I'd like some more."

I confess, I'm disappointed. I was so jazzed about my cholent, convinced it could be nothing but delicious, so upon my misfire, I'm feeling a bit like a failure of a future Jewish mother. What kind of Jewish woman am I that I screwed up a simple stew?!

Next Jewish recipe on the docket is Emily's late grandma's kugel, "a meal in itself." No one can mess up cheese & noodles, right? Right?

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