Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Real Kind of Kugel

The Town Crier directs us to a NY Times article about kugel. After my maternal grandfather's passing when I was a young teen, I inherited many of his books. Among them, I found some obscure and even extreme Hasidic texts (plus, a two-volume, very bizarre autobiography of my grandfather's rabbi). When I asked a distant cousin from out-of-town, who had spent many Shabbosim with my grandfather while attending a NY yeshiva, about this, he was surprised and thought my grandfather must have gotten them free from someone. Anyway, I remember going through one book that was dedicated to enjoying (oneg) Shabbos. When I got to the part about the mystical significance of kugel, I knew it was time to put the book away and never look at it again. Sure, the idea that kugel, with its layers of skin on top and on bottom, is similar to the manna in the desert is fairly mainstream. But we all know that it is just a clever, barely existent connection with no real significance. We all know this, right? I guess not.

As to the variety of kugels now available, this might be my distant Polish heritage speaking but in my book there is only one kind of kugel -- potato. Everything else is a poor imitation. And my wife's homemade, hand-grated potato kugel is better than anything you can buy.

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