Monday, December 13, 2021

Communing With Grandma

While I wait for the brisket to become fork tender,  I remember my mother.

I remember her blue kosher cookbook, with the stained pages and the random index cards, and her printed in pencil notes.  I'm sure there's a brisket recipe in there.  I just don't know where the cookbook lives these days.  

My recipe called for dry red wine, some of which is now fueling this post.  I don't remember G'ma cooking with wine, and I certainly don't remember her having a casual glass of wine - while she cooked or any other time.  Vermouth before dinner, wine with dinner, a champagne toast - those made her smile.  I know she's not judging me as I tipple; it just wasn't her thing.  

She didn't like to cook, and she made no bones about it.  It wasn't until I came home from college that her food went from bland to interesting and tasty.  She said then, as I said to my kids later, that it was no fun to cook for people who wouldn't even try something new.  

I credit any cooking prowess I have to a summer week at Cornell's Adult University in the 1990's and a newly discovered source of deliciousness - Penzey's Spices.  G'ma had the advantage of  kosher butchers and fresh fish stores from which to choose.  Good quality resists all but the most determined cooks, it seems.

G'ma's brisket was for Hanukkah and cold winter Friday nights.  It's balmy, but it's December, even if Hanukkah is a memory now.  I'm going to see if it's fork tender yet.  We're hungry.


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