THE 6TH DAY OF CHANUKAH
This is the first year I have ever heard of the Mensch on The Bench or the Elf on The Shelf. I didn’t give either a second thought until just now reading Rabbi Jill Crimmings’ wonderful article at http://tcjewfolk.com/rethinking-hanukkah-traditions-buying-mensch-bench/.
I am a person who loves decorations and have always felt the empty hole of a lack of a Chanukah symbol. But now I see that perhaps we are better off without it. I, for one, would not like to see our kids think that they get gifts for anything they did that was good or bad. I always saw getting Chanukah presents as payment for the kids of past times finding the oil that led to the miracle of Chanukah. That it was to celebrate the miracle that kids got Chanukah presents. To have someone or something sit in judgment of Jewish kids at Chanukah time leaves me cold. Now, if someone could come up with something like a Macabee freedom something or other as a symbol, that would be truly wonderful. If it could be colorful that would be even more wonderful. I don’t know, perhaps adopt a whale because of the whale blubber…I don’t know. And why isn’t there a Judith Macabee doll? She was a part of the miracle after all. Why can’t we come up with our own unique cookie? Why does everything have to be blue and white? I think we can adopt more color into our celebration. I am also appalled at the lack of Jewish crafts for our holidays, the lack of poetry and cannot understand why there are no adult Chanukah stories. Why don’t Jewish composers and singers such as Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan write songs and or sing songs for the Jewish holidays? Ok, yes, we have Adam Sandler and his Chanukah Song and all its versions. Truthfully, that just doesn’t cut it for me. I applaud The Bare Naked Ladies for their efforts on our behalf. Are all of you Jewish entertainers ashamed of your Jewishness? I have always admired Mandy Patinkin for embracing Judaism and making Jewish albums. We need more of it. We need more up-to-date Jewish music and art literature. I seem to read more Jewish novels from writers hailing from the British Isles than from the US. Why is that? Am I missing something?
Perhaps we need to create a niche for this type of thing? Is it the lack of a market? Is it the lack of money in the market? How do we solve this problem? Or is it just me? What do all of you think. What do you feel is lacking in the Jewish arts?
Speaking of British-Jewish novels, I am now reading “The Marrying of Chani Kaufman” by Eve Harris. This is Ms. Harris’ debut novel and came out in 2013. It is a wonderful book with a very real storyline. Chani is standing under the chupah (the Jewish wedding canopy) with her groom, Baruch. They are very young (Chani is just 19 years old) ultra religious people who both come from ultra religious families. They have only met four times prior to their wedding. They are both innocent in the ways of the opposite sex and in many ways the world around them. They are scared. What is the wedding night going to be like? Will I have more freedom to be me in our marriage than I do under my parents’ roof? Will he/she love me? Do I love him/her? What will we talk about? How many children will we have? To complicate things even more, they are to set out for Israel where Baruch will study to become a Rabbi. What will this move mean? These are some of many things this couple is wondering about, just like many couples, the difference being more poignant due to the fact that they don’t know one another. While they are contemplating their lives, their Rabbi and his wife are contemplating their lives and their marriage. Their marriage seems to be falling apart. Their beginnings were so different from Chani and Baruch’s. The Rabbi and his Rabbitzin (Rabbi’s wife) met and fell in love in Israel. The Rabbitzin had a secular upbringing and life prior to marrying the Rabbi. She was more worldly than either Chani or Baruch, and after many years of marriage and motherhood, she is questioning her life as a wife, mother and member of the Orthodox Jewish community of London. I am loving this book. It is well written and the characters are wonderful. I look forward to more books by Ms. Harris.
I got some writing done on my book after a week off. I now have 8 ¼ pages completed. I introduced one of the antagonists. I’m not sure if I really like introducing her so early. It was not my original plan. And I’m not sure how it will play off in this chapter, but we shall see. I know how I want to color this character. It is much clearer in my mind than the other characters. But, I am not sure why. I am having the most trouble seeing the male protagonist and the male antagonist clearly. I need to work on them a lot more.
I had to interupt this post to join my mother for a day of girly fun. We went to have manicures and pedicures and lunch, then shopping at Sam’s for prescriptions and printer ink. Then I dropped her off, picked up Paul and we took Chanukah-themed pasta, meatballs and meat sauce that Paul worked all day making over to mom’s apartment and had dinner with her. It’s almost 10 p.m. And I have so much to do. I apologize for having not posted this sooner and cutting this post short. I am not sure if I will be able to post tomorrow. If I can, it will be late too. We have last minutes errands to run tomorrow.
Here’s today’s recipe: This is in honor of my hubby who is a Brooklyn boy. He has had many egg creams in his life and claims to have come up with the idea of adding an egg to it! So, my darling, here’s to you!
Home Cookin Chapter: CAKES 2013-2014
CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM CUPCAKES
ACTIVE TIME: 50 mins.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr. 20 mins.
YIELD: 6 cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
1/4 cup UNSWEETENED Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup
2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 LARGE Egg
2 tbsps. Whole Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 oz. MILK Chocolate
6 tbsps. UNSALTED Butter; AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/4 cup Whole Milk
2 tbsps. UNSWEETENED Cocoa Powder
2 pinches of Salt
2 tbsps. Malted Milk Powder
Mini Pretzel Rods; FOR TOPPING
“Try this fun frosting trick: Put two different kinds of frosting
in separate disposable pastry bags, then position both bags in a
larger pastry bag fitted with a star tip. When you pipe, the
frosting will come out swirled!”
1. Make the cupcakes:
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350° F. LINE A 6-CUP MUFFIN PAN WITH PAPER
Whisk the cocoa powder with 1/3 cup HOT WATER i a MEDIUM bowl
UNTIL dissolved. Whisk in the chocolate syrup UNTIL smooth; LET
In a LARGE bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda,
baking powder and salt.
2. Whisk the vegetable oil, egg, milk and vanilla extract into
the cocoa mixture UNTIL smooth, then fold into the flour mixture
UNTIL JUST COMBINED. Divide among the PREPARED muffin cups. Bake
UNTIL a toothpick comes out clean, 18-20 mins. LET COOL FOR 10
MIS. IN THE PAN, then REMOVE to a rack to cool completely.
3. MAKE THE FROSTING:
Chop the chocolate AND place in a MICROWAVE-SAFE BOWL; MISCROWAVE
ON 70% POWER in 30-second intervals; STIRRING UNTIL MELTED. LET
COOL SLIGHTLY. Cut the butter into pieces, beat the butter,
vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl with a mixer on
MEDIUM-HIGH speed UNTIL fluffy. Add 3 tbsps. milk and beat UNTIL
smooth, 3 mins. REMOVE HALF OF THE FROSTING to a separate bowl,
add the cocoa powder, melted chocolate and a pinch of salt and
beat until FLUFFY, 2 mins. Mix the remaining 1 tbsp. milk and the
malted milk powder in a cup, then add to the plain frosting; add a
pinch of salt AND beat until fluffy, about 2 mins. IF THE
FROSTING IS TOO SOFT, COVER AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL FIRM ENOUGH TO
4. Put the 2 frosting in SEPARATE PASTRY BAGS and snip off the
tops (or put in separate zip-top bags ad snip off a corner of
each). POSITION THE FROSTING BAGS SIDE-BY-SIDE IN A LARGE PASTRY
BAG FITTED WITH A LARGE STAR TIP. Pipe the frosting onto the
cupcakes in a spiral motion to create a swirl. Put a mini-pretzel
rod upright into the top of the swirl so it stands securely to
look like a straw (you want it a bit tilted but not too tilted).
SOURCE: food network magazine’s “Sweet, Our Best Cupcakes,
Cookies, Candy and More” cookbook, pg. 25.
Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)