Columns - 2011

    The Other Set of Dishes

    by Doug Brook
    Southern Jewish Life columnist

    The use of separate dishes for milk and meat is as time-honored in upstanding kitchens as in stand-up sermons. But, while most people know about the traditional other set of dishes we serve on, few people know about the other set of dishes that were once traditionally served on them.

    That's because these delectable dishes, like the odds for humor columnists to find success on JDate, have disappeared over the years. Until now.

    So put on your goulashes and step in a sampling of the vast buffet of long-lost Jewish cuisine. Again like on JDate, some dishes are better than they sound, and others sound better than they are.

    Starting with the start of the day already gives us a non-starter. Days on the Hebrew calendar start on the night before. So is the most important meal dinner instead of breakfast?

    While you consider that question over your cereal, consider what you're missing out on. You've probably heard of Chocolate Chip Pancakes and, if you're lucky, have sampled Challah French Toast. But forgotten is the ageless hybrid, Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast, which adds something that looks like raisins -- a traditional addition to challah -- without making you actually eat raisins.

    On the side, consider adding a Southern staple or two, such as Briskets and Gravy, or the once-famous Southern U.S. and Southern Russia hybrid, Corned Beets Hash.

    A wide variety of entrees and sides which are good for lunch or dinner have fallen by the wayside. While the kids might quickly get enough of Spaghetti and Matzah Balls, they'll always beg for more Macaroons and Cheese.

    Another popular choice is Southern Shried Chicken, which is less crispy and breaded than its homophonic hot meal, as its name comes from mother walking in the kitchen and screaming about how long you're cooking the bird.

    Instead of giving her the bird, how about a nice Tomato Kugel? Or satisfy her with other Old Country seafood offerings such as Popsickled Herring or Gefilte Knish.

    You can always fill out the table with classic sides such as Arugulach, the traditional pastry wrapped around the Mediterranean leaf, or another Southern treat that defies description, Challahrd Greens.

    If you're looking for that special meal for that special someone, or even for your spouse, try a Matzah Ball Fondue. This is the original source for the thicker matzah ball recipes you've encountered and still feel deep inside. But thanks to this overdeveloped consistency, you can even dip twice.

    Of course, what would a Kiddush be without dessert -- the Kid Dish if ever there was one. With origins spanning the many nations Jews have wandered through the centuries, lost classics include the predictable yet delectable Tiramijew, Cherries Jewbilee, Ice Cream Cohn, and Creme Jewlee. And, once upon a time, Jewlato was a popular dessert and not just your uncle playing the PowerBall.

    Lesser-known baked confections include Ginger Schnapps Cookies and Levi Fingers. For chocolate fans, there used to be Heschy's Kisses, invented when Uncle Heschy would kiss everyone after dessert that year he had the thick beard.

    Don't forget to finish it all off with a nice, relaxing Mint Jewlip.

    Numerous holiday specialties have also been lost to the passage of time. In certain climes, Jews would welcome the sweetness of the New Year on Rosh Hashanah with an added hint of sourness, to be realistic, by eating Pineapples and Honey. Also, while they were eventually eaten year-round, the Friday before Passover was once reserved, not for pizza and beer, but for a different ultimate leavened indulgence: Hot Star-of-David Buns.

    Finally, one can never forget the long-forgotten Passover staple, Peanut Butter and Bologna (beef, of course) on Matzah. (Requires the recently renewed rabbinic ruling permitting peanut products on Passover.)

    Why some of these dishes fell out of favor, nobody knows. But one factotum of Jewish dietary practice is as true now as ever, even though it's about traditional abstentions from eating. A fast day is not as bad to endure as fast food.

    Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who would be happy to prepare any of these dishes for you, if the paramedics would remove the lock from his kitchen door. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit For exclusive online content, become a fan at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.