It’s Foodie Friday, and this year I’ve decided to repost something from a Foodie Friday in 2009. Originally titled “Jewish Thanksgiving,” I’m putting it back up because many of you are new readers since 2009 and because my family is gathering this evening to celebrate. That means I’m busy making bilkies. Making what? Read on!
This week’s Foodie Fun Friday post is dedicated to all of you who won’t be using the bathroom for the next week. You know who you are. But the gentiles out there are wondering “what could he possibly mean? What could possibly stop someone up that badly?” Well, dear readers, Passover started Wednesday night and by now, most Jewish homes have had two Seders. With those Seders goes matzo and when we say hello to the matzo, we say “buh-bye” to regularity.
As some of you know, my view is that most Jewish holidays can be summarized thusly:
Someone tried to kill all the Jews;
The Lord saved us;
Passover typifies this more than any other holiday. It’s really Jewish thanksgiving with brisket substituted for turkey and various other beige and brown foods substituting for the rest. Passover is a great culinary challenge on many levels. Think about how often you use breadcrumbs or cornstarch when you cook and you’ll begin to understand. Sure, matzo meal and potato starch are substitutes but they change the flavor, consistency, and appearance of the food in which they’re used. Oy!
One dish that’s made in our family is something I’ve not seen elsewhere. We call it a “bilkie or bilky” – not sure of the spelling. It’s sort of a knish without the outside. One cooks down some onions in schmaltz (don’t ask – these are really delicious and really not healthy) and adds them to mashed potatoes. Some more schmaltz, matzo meal, and some eggs to bind. Then one forms patties, glazes them with egg wash, and bakes them at 500 degrees until brown. I usually make a few dozen of these and there are NEVER any left – my relatives put what they don’t eat in their purses, which isn’t easy since they’re the approximate size and weight of a compact car hubcap. I’d love to know if any of you have ever heard of anything similar?
I love this holiday and love that it coincides with Easter. Everyone has a reason to eat even if we can’t exactly share a lot of the desserts. And in a week when we go back to eating as we regularly do, we all hope that the rest of us becomes as regular as our eating habits. On to Memorial Day, the next great pig-out!
This week’s Foodie Friday Fun is our annual reflection on Passover. The holiday starts Monday night although in many homes the cooking will begin over the weekend. What – you eat your brisket on the day it’s made? Despite debates over what exactly species of fish is a “gefilte” (it means “filled, by the way), there are no debates that this seems to be the favorite holiday of many Jews as well as of the non-Jews who join in the celebratory dinner.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The thing about Passover that raises a business thought today is that it’s a week of eating that’s out of the ordinary. While the first question in the dinner service is “why is this night different,” it’s the week without leavened foods of any sort that’s the biggest change for many. Some Jews won’t eat anything that swells up – beans, rice, etc. – as well as abstaining from bread and cakes made with leavening agents. It’s a subtile reminder throughout the week that the escape from Egypt, the deliverance of the people, and the lessons learned from those events shouldn’t be forgotten. Which is the business point as well.
What if every business designated a week during which something they did on a daily basis was changed? Maybe they turned of internal email and made face to face conversations happen. Maybe they let everyone work on projects that were important to the people involved rather than things important to the business. Or just maybe they refused to let anyone use the word “can’t” or the phrases “bad idea” or “not do-able”. I’m sure you can think of a few things that your organization could do differently for a time to cause everyone involved to focus on something other than the day-to-day routine.
The Jews spent 40 years wandering around in the desert after they left Egypt. Many businesses spend a lot of time figuratively wandering around as well. Maybe a week of change can provide a better focus and get you to your goals more effectively. Worth a shot?
This Foodie Friday, I want to share something I discovered from my grandmother, who knew very little about cooking and even less about business. Nevertheless, I came upon something the other day which is instructive in both areas. We bought a GroupOn to have some videotapes transferred to DVD and are in the process of going through the old stuff to make sure that what we’re sending isn’t just hours of babies laying about (which a lot of it is, not surprisingly). At one point during some family gathering, my grandmother is asked about making matzoh balls and how she did it. The answer? Continue reading