Chatting With Miriyummy: Toby Curwin
Posted by Miriyummy
Toby, along with her husband David, is one of the founding members of the Israelfood group. This group was originally created to help those of us here in Israel find that elusive can of Dr Pepper, understand the confusing cuts of meat and to discuss which restaurant is the best one to go to when your rich uncle comes to visit and wants to treat you to a meal. Along the way the members of the group have gotten to know each other. Toby is one member with a quirky sense of humor. She has a blog called A Time of the Signs which always manages to give me a good giggle at the various typos found all over the world. Toby claims this is her funny photoblog, as opposed to her serious photoblog, I Wish I Were A Photographer. Either (blog)way, Toby is highly entertaining.
Toby was generous enough to take a few minutes out of her pre-Bar Mitzvah planning schedule to meet up with me one Friday afternoon for a few minutes. We were at the Bloggers’ Day Out in Gush Etzion and Toby didn’t have time to get to the day’s events, but she and David (and her mom) drove up to the restaurant where we were having lunch for a quick hello. Hopefully, one day we’ll actually have time to meet over a cup of coffee, or a meal, and actually have a proper face-to-face conversation.
So come and meet Toby… and make sure you read through to the end, because Toby has a recipe that has become a legend on Israelfood, so check it out!
Introduce yourself. Who are you, what are you, why are you?
My name is Toby, and I’m still trying to figure out who I am. I grew up in Chicago, spent a few years on various one-year programs in Israel, then a few years in Boston, and finally moved to Israel in the summer of 1996. Currently I’m trying to be a good mother, wife, mechanical engineer, volunteer, blogger, photographer and human. I’m always open to new suggestions!
Where do you live, and why?
I live in Efrat, in the Gush Etsion region of Israel, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! When we first moved to Israel, we lived for four years on Kibbutz Yavne, where things were flat, very tidily landscaped, hot and *extremely* humid. When we first considered moving to Gush Etsion, I remember driving up, opening the car door, and suddenly feeling like: oh! I can breathe! I hadn’t noticed not breathing for the years before that, but the air here is so breezy and cool, even in the summertime – I just love it, and would have a very hard time leaving. And don’t get me started on the breathtaking views in every direction. My only fear is that my kids will take living here for granted!
What is your family like?
I have a brilliant, funny husband (the Balashon) and three fantastic kids, aged almost-11 to almost-15. Almost 15! I don’t feel that much older than 15 myself, hmm, wonder how that works out…
What is your relationship with food? Do you like to cook?
Yes, I very much enjoy cooking, and wish I had more time to patchkie around in the kitchen. As it is, I don’t have a lot of time (see first question, above), and end up making pretty basic food. I think I’m pretty open minded about it, though – I don’t mind having breakfast food for dinner or the other way around. And I do sometimes find myself spontaneously leaping into some complicated food project when I really should be working hard at something else – shhh, don’t tell 🙂
What is your first food-related memory?
That’s a funny question, I mean, we’ve all been eating since we were born, right? Well, I remember my Zaidy (my mother’s grandfather) letting me feed his dog – he gave her cottage cheese! – and I thought it was just the funniest thing ever. And I recall that as a very young girl, my mother and Bubby (my mom’s mother) always put me in charge of making sure the cheese and crackers were arranged beautifully…
How would you describe yourself in the kitchen? As a host/hostess?
I banished margarine from our kitchen a few years ago, and after reading a bunch of Michael Pollan’s stuff, I’ve been trying hard to keep our kitchen mostly free of processed foods. I say “mostly” since my kids are not entirely pleased with this new setup, and so I still buy them Cheerios and Telma Cornflakes, and sometimes pretzels for munching on the weekend. But overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape. As a hostess, I try to make everyone to feel relaxed and at home. Oh, and I tend to make too much food! I mean, what if everyone really really likes the quinoa, and wants seconds? We’d better have enough. But what if everyone also really likes the stir fry? We’d better have enough…
What is your favorite comfort food and why?
Wow, that’s a hard one. I guess my very favorite food is one most of you haven’t heard of, my family calls it Lukshen and Milk. My Bubby used to make it for us, way back when, and so when I eat it I feel like I’m five years old again 🙂 It’s just poor-man’s food: skinny skinny noodles with butter and salt, in a broth of hot milk. Yum!! Come on over, I’ll happily make you a pot.
Desert island picks, name three foods you could not live without:
I hate to say this, but I’m not sure I can get it down to three. I just like food too much! How about: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheesy green salad, and sushi? But give me a minute, and I’ll pick three more.
Mix in a bowl: 3/4 cup canola oil, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar
Add and mix: 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla
Add and mix: 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda
Add and mix: 2+1/4 cups flour
Add and mix: 1/2 bag chocolate chipsYou can either drop these by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes, or push it all into a baking pan and bake (like brownies) for 25-30 minutes. If you choose cookies, it usually makes about 5 pans.
Just so you know, I’m a little heavy handed, and I don’t really measure either the salt or the baking soda – I just sprinkle it into the bowl until it looks like a teaspoon to me. Same goes for the vanilla. So it might be a little more of each…
About MiriyummyAll I want to do is live happily ever after.
Posted on 29 January 2012, in Chatting with Miriyummy and tagged cookies, cooking, cuts of meat, dessert, dr pepper, Efrat, Gush Etzion, interview, Israel, Jewish Cooking, kosher, quirky sense, recipe. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.