Feed Me Bubbe

Avrom Honig and Bubbe
  • Review
By – January 3, 2012
This is your grandmother’s cook­ing, home­style Jew­ish food that has been served for gen­er­a­tions. Bubbe, the grand­moth­er of Avrom Honig, began a new career at eighty, when her grand­son Avrom asked her to let him make a video of her cook­ing for a demo to help him find a media job. From a YouTube video, an online cook­ing show was born.
Prac­ti­cal and whole­some, Feed Me Bubbe is Jew­ish Cook­ing 101 with a sup­port­ive and expe­ri­enced teacher who laces her lessons with per­son­al anec­dotes, advice, and a Yid­dish word a day. Chopped her­ring, brisket, chick­en fric­as­see, stuffed cab­bage, mat­zo brei, a vari­ety of blintzes, kasha var­nishkes, pota­to knish­es — for every­one who craves the food of his or her grand­moth­er, Feed Me Bubbe serves it up clear­ly and con­cise­ly. The chap­ter on bak­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly attrac­tive, with easy-to-bake home cakes and cook­ies, high­light­ed by Bubbe’s sig­na­ture Jel­ly Jam­mies.
But Bubbe is open to inno­va­tion, sub­sti­tut­ing tofu and low-fat ingre­di­ents to reduce cho­les­terol in clas­sic dish­es, enclos­ing kre­plach in won­ton wrap­pers, and embrac­ing new fla­vors like hon­ey mus­tard for bak­ing salmon and lavash for Lox and Cream Cheese Rollups. Like most skilled every­day cooks Bubbe uses ready-made ingre­di­ents judi­cious­ly — bouil­lon cubes if nec­es­sary to bol­ster chick­en soup, pack­aged puff pas­try, ketchup — to save time with­out sac­ri­fic­ing fla­vor. All the recipes are kosher, with sym­bols indi­cat­ing whether they’re meat, dairy, pareve, or for Passover.
To round out her book, Bubbe has a short list of her favorite Yid­dish songs, which she sug­gests lis­ten­ing to while cook­ing; menus for the hol­i­days and for every­day; a glos­sary of basic cook­ing words; and for­mu­las for met­ric con­ver­sion. Although Bubbe doesn’t divulge her name or address, she does give a phone num­ber and e‑mail address to which read­ers can address ques­tions. Proud­ly old-fash­ioned, Feed Me Bubbe is a live­ly and rel­e­vant guide for the home­style cook. Index, photographs. 

Recipe: Jel­ly Jammies

Makes 16 serv­ingsThese days, every­one has fan­cy kitchen equip­ment like minia­ture food proces­sors and spice grinders. But when I need to chop nuts, like I do for this recipe, I just put them in a plas­tic sand­wich bag­gie and roll a soup can across them. My Jel­ly Jam­mies have become so famous I have to keep a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply in my freez­er for guests. For­tu­nate­ly, they couldn’t be eas­i­er to pre­pare. I like them best made with straw­ber­ry jam, but feel free to use your favorite. These make a per­fect after­noon pick-me-up with a cup of cof­fee or tea. Here is a tip: I hate wash­ing pans! If you do too, try lin­ing yours with non­stick alu­minum foil. When your Jel­ly Jam­mies are done, you can just throw the foil away — no cleanup required!
¾ cup straw­ber­ry jam
1 medi­um tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and coarse­ly grated2 tea­spoons fresh­ly squeezed lemon juice1 tea­spoon fresh­ly grat­ed lemon zest4 tea­spoons chopped walnuts1/​8 tea­spoon cinnamon2 table­spoons gold­en raisins1½ cups all-pur­pose flour½ tea­spoon kosher salt½ tea­spoon bak­ing powder4 ounces (1 stick) pareve mar­garine, soft­ened½ cup gran­u­lat­ed sugar1 large egg1 tea­spoon pure vanil­la extract
Pre­heat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 99‑inch bak­ing pan with non­stick spray or line the bot­tom and sides of the pan with non­stick alu­minum foil.
In a medi­um bowl, stir the straw­ber­ry jam, apple, lemon juice, lemon zest, wal­nuts, cin­na­mon, and raisins until com­bined. Set it aside. In anoth­er medi­um bowl, sift togeth­er the flour, salt, and bak­ing powder. 
In a large bowl, beat the mar­garine and the sug­ar with an elec­tric mix­er until they are nice and light and fluffy, about 2 min­utes. Beat in the egg and the vanil­la extract. Slow­ly add the flour mix­ture and beat, scarp­ing the sides as you go, until it is well mixed and forms a dough. 
Spread two-thirds of the dough into the bot­tom of the pre­pared pan. Spread the jam mix­ture over the dough. Using your hands, gath­er table­spoon-size pieces of the remain­ing dough and flat­ten them into lit­tle disks. Place the dough pieces over the jam fill­ing. (They won’t cov­er the fill­ing entire­ly, but don’t wor­ry, it’s sup­posed to be that way. The dough will spread.). Bake the Jel­ly Jamies for about 25 min­utes, until the fill­ing is bub­bling and the dough is gold­en brown.Cut them into 16 squares while still warm. They are hard to cut when com­plete­ly cool. 
Note: This recipe eas­i­ly can be dou­bled. Just use a 139‑inch bak­ing dish and bake 25 – 30 minutes. 
Recipe reprint­ed with per­mis­sion from FEED ME BUBBE © 2011 by Cha­lutz Pro­duc­tions, Run­ning Press, a mem­ber of the Perseus Book Group. 

Maron L. Wax­man, retired edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor, spe­cial projects, at the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry, was also an edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor at Harper­Collins and Book-of-the-Month Club.

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