Daily Archives: 29 November 2010

Reality Bites

I used to define myself as agressively Jewish.  When I lived in New York I did everything I could to let everyone I know that my head and my heart lay in a cocoon of Jewish life.  I wore Hebrew t-shirts, was never without some kind of Jewish or Israeli jewelry, I joined Jewish and Zionist youth groups and was obnoxiously Zionist.  I was a second generation Holocaust survivor with a chip on my shoulder the size of Bergen Belsen.

 

Bus in Jerusalem wishing everyone a good year

All this agressive sentiment disappeared when I made aliya (immigrated to Israel).  I didn’t need to show the world how Jewish I was.  I was living the life I always wanted to live.  I was in a country that when the bus driver wished me a happy holiday he meant one with apples and honey, not eggnog and mistletoe.  I was in a country where the local convenience store was open 24/6.  I was in a country where I didn’t have to vote based on the American candidate’s foreign policy toward Israel, but on the political party’s internal policy toward the piece of land I called home.  I was home!

To define myself politically I could use one word:  right-wing.  Okay, two words, but they’re hyphenated.  I used to think of myself as rabid right-wing on the Israeli political spectrum (ironically, I think of myself as left-wing when it comes to American internal policy).  I even lived, by choice, over the Green Line.  I was a settler, from my head covering down to my Naot sandals.

Ju-Boy and I had been dating for about three months when we had our first political discussion.  Good thing I was wearing a seatbelt at the time, because I might have just jumped out of the car speeding through Jerusalem.  Ju-Boy, the man who was on the same page as I was in so many ways, turn out to be an evil left-winger who would sell the country down the Jordan River for peace on a piece of paper.  “Well, Sweet, ” I said, “it’s been fun, but I have to break up with you now.”

By the time he got me home (I at this point was surprised that he didn’t break out in hives as we crossed the Green Line) he had managed to calm me down, claiming we still were on the same page.  According to Ju-Boy, what sounded like left-wing garbage coming out of his mouth was more centrist than I thought.  And, according to Ju-Boy, what sounded like the patriotic Zionist truth coming out of my mouth was more centrist than I thought.  Couldn’t I see that my reality was skewed?  We were both Centrist Zionists with different leanings.  Yeah, right, he would give away my home right from under me for an about-to-be-broken promise.

As you all know, we didn’t break up.  But from that day forward, a new rule was forged — no politics.  Some rules are meant to be broken but we mostly keep to this one, especially at the Shabbat table.

Miriyummy and Ju-Boy -- still together in spite of the line that divides them

Hebrew Slang Lesson of the Day — חי בסרט — chai baseret — literally, to live in the movie, but colloquially it means not to live in reality.  I think that politically, my Ju-Boy lives in the movies.  I sure with him the feeling is mutual.

Am Yisra'el Chai Baseret!

So Ju-Boy and I are living happily ever after, ever politically opposed, yet in harmony amity, two opposites co-existing as one, which is the best way I could come up with to segue into this post’s recipe…

Black and Whites

Growing up in New York one of my most favorite bakery treats was when my mother bought me a huge black and white cookie.  They were huge back then, but I think they’ve stayed the same size, but my mouth has just gotten bigger…  I think the only place you can get them in Israel is at the Brooklyn Bakery in Jerusalem.  If you’re not headed that way, you probably have to make your own.

Cookie Bit:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (I use soy milk with a dash of vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg

Black and White Icing Bit:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon clear corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water (you may not need all of it)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180° C).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Beat the butter and the white sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until evenly distributed.
  5. Add the egg to butter and sugar mixture, and beat until blended.  You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  6. Gradually beat in the flour mixture one cup at a time, and add in buttermilk mixture between each cup of flour, and mix until smooth. This time you really will have to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing.
  7. Spoon batter in 1/4 cup size servings onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake on the middle rack for about 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched.
  9. Place on a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before icing.
  10. Stir together the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/2 teablespoon of water in bowl until smooth.
  11. Place half of the mixture into separate bowl and add cocoa powder, and remaining water bit by bit until it is the same consistency as the white icing. If the icing is too runny, add more confectioner’s sugar until it is smooth and spreadable.
  12. Turn cooled cookies flat side up, and spread icing with pastry spatula, or butter knife. The cookies are meant to be domed on the bottom, flat on the top.  Spread the white icing over one half, chocolate over the other. The icing does not set solid on these cookies, and does not harden.  I don’t know what they put into the icing in New York to harden it.  I’m not sure I want to know.

I haven't made these in a while. In fact, I prefer to actually deny myself the pleasure and only indulge when in New York. So we'll have to make do with a Googled graphic, sorry...

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