We are now three weeks away from Passover. This is the first time in about twenty years that we will be conducting the Seder in the dining room primarily because twelve of us can fit there. No need to empty out the living room, order extra tables, rent cloths and napkins. Yet instead of being happy about shedding all of the planning and angst that can accompany preparing for a large Seder, why are my thoughts drawn to Seders past with longing and nostalgia and to future Seders with something akin to dread. It has been a difficult year. My 92-year-old father passed away in September and for the first time, he will not be present at our Seder. Growing up in NYC, Seders were pretty traditional affairs; my father and the other men would stand and chant the Haggadah in unison, with no one else participating. The wives read along silently and the children wiggled and giggled and waited for dinner. It was not egalitarian or engaging or educational and yet I have warm and happy memories. The table was beautifully set, the fine china was brought out, wonderful aromas came from the kitchen, new clothing was purchased, cousins got together and my father and the other men argued about politics all through the meal. Pesach was special. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category
When we moved into our home in Beverlywood about 21 years ago our next door neighbor immediately greeted us with a cake. Having grown up in an apartment building in The Bronx, I always thought that particular tradition was something that only happened in the movies. Sara S. and her husband Ben had built their home in Beverlywood in 1947 and had lived there ever since. Sara was a petite, elegant and vibrant woman in her seventies. Ben was a towering, handsome businessman who was still going to work every morning ( and still does.) Having moved into Beverlywood just after the birth of our third child, there was something so comforting about having Sara and Ben next door. Sara and I soon discovered that we both loved to cook and garden. Sara was famous for her fudge, a recipe I never was able to coax out of her, but through the years we were the happy recipients of numerous tins of fudge and enjoyed every piece. Sugar, butter and eggs passed back and forth between our kitchens. Sara heated her pool during the summer and my children had swimming lessons there. If my kids weren’t in the pool on the weekend, Sara would call me on the phone and remind me that heating a pool was an expensive proposition and my kids better get over there and use it. Last week Sara passed away. It was not only the loss of a friend and neighbor but the end of an era. Good neighbors are hard to find. Fortunately we still see Ben as he leaves for the office in the morning. So, in memory of Sara and to promote “neighborliness” here is a recipe you can make. It isn’t fudge but it is pretty close. A dense, dark, fudge brownie. Why not make a batch and bring it over to your neighbor.
Chewy Fudge Brownies
4 Oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour
1 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8″ square pan. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy pan set over low heat or in double boiler. Stir till melted and smooth. Let cool for a few minutes. Add vanilla, eggs, sugar and salt to chocolate mixture and stir. Add flour and mix well and then add nuts. Bake 45 minutes till toothpick in center is barely clean. Remove and cool on rack.