Saturday, November 21, 2020

THE PROSPECT OF UNCELEBRATING

My apartment mate, being a purist on the noodle front, has only once experimented with kugel. And that was it. She rather disapproves of white people doing unorthodox things with nature's most perfect food, as I am wont to do. Like making a typical Dutch Indo Bami Goreng.

I've tried explaining the hallowed history of kugel, from fruit and starch compôtes of the late mediaeval period to the filling noodly dishes using Eastern European pastas of the present, but no matter. Indian sevian desserts leave her cold (and, in truth, I find them a little bizarre too, and not quite to my liking).

Being a Dutchman, I have a fondness for 'perenkugel', which apparently only gets made in Amsterdam. Basically a huge amount of sugar-simmered pear with a boiled baby on top.

[A boiled baby is an old-fashioned suet pudding. The name reflects the English distaste for good things. It's a boiled dessert which often contains sultanas, served with a sweet cream sauce. If made with raisins or sultanas, it is actually Spotted Dick. Imagine a large glob of cooked sweet dough. If such a product serves instead as the fundament on which preserves are spread (a jam roly-poly), it's often called a Dead Man's Arm Pudding.]


But noodle kugels are more common nowadays.

Here are two recipes I originally posted nine years ago. They're suitable for Thanksgiving, and probably a good idea if you have relatives coming over. Which I don't. Never do. Thanksgiving has for years been something to endure and get over with, often entirely by myself, and in pre-pandemic times while avoiding drinking establishments entirely, because of the joyous drunks happily boasting about what a splendid feast they had. But they did not have kugel, so their celebration was superficial and hollow, and only showed off what selfish pricks they were.


JERUSALEM KUGEL

Half a pound fine or medium noodles.
Half a cup sugar.
Quarter cup oil.
One teaspoon ground pepper.
Quarter teaspoon salt.
Three eggs, slightly beaten.
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.

Cook the noodles till tender in a large pot of salted water. Drain and cool.
Heat the oil and carefully add the half of the sugar. When the sugar turns colour (caramelizes), remove from heat and stir to keep it from burning, then promptly add the noodles, remaining sugar, salt, and pepper, and mix together. When it is cold enough, mix in the eggs. Gloop it all into a greased pyrex dish, and place it in the oven for an hour or so, till gilded and crisped on top.

The amount of pepper can be increased. Raisins can be added but are not orthodox. Note that perfect caramel is a beautiful ruddy hue, whereas anything noticeably darker verges on burnt. Let it sit for while before serving.


APPLE SAUCE NOODLE KUGEL

Half a pound fine or medium noodles.
Half a cup sugar.
Two cups (1 pint) sour cream.
Two cups (16 fl.oz) applesauce.
Quarter cup raisins.
Pinches cinnamon, dry ginger, ground cardamom, salt.
4 eggs, slightly beaten.
Butter.

Cook the noodles till tender in a large pot of salted water. Drain and cool.
Mix all ingredients together. Gloop it all into a greased pyrex dish. Dot with butter.
place it in the oven for an hour or so.
Three hundred and fifty degrees.


Please note that I shan't be doing any of this on Thanksgiving, and in fact have no plans whatsoever for the holiday.

As a descendant of Nieuw Amsterdammers, with an ancestral background of Calvinism, and fluency in the Dutch language, I find anything celebrating the puritans distasteful. I cannot find myself in turkey (a miserable bird) and the savage heretics who couldn't even read their own language well, and refused to integrate into the only European society worth a damn at the time, or even get along with literate people. Pumpkin pie is nasty, by the way.

Perhaps I'll be sneering.

Solitarily.




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