Jeff Pearlman

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Seder III

Hosting my first-ever seder tomorrow. Wait—lemme rephrase. I’ve attended tons of seders. But I’ve never been the MC.

Wife’s in Chicago with the daughter. So, Monday at 4 p.m., the seder comes here. Tonight I’ve cooked a potato kugel, using this recipe. It still has 28 minutes left to go. We’ll see …

Also making the potato Moosh made famous (well, made) by my late grandmother, Marta Herz. I could lie and say it’s the greatest thing ever-it’s not. But, to me, it tastes of my childhood; of being 12 and having Grandma and Grandpa come over for [FILL IN THE BLANK] holiday. Here’s the recipe:

2 tablesoons flour (on Passover, leave this out)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons melted margarine

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (again, leave out)

1 small call of crushed pineapple

Start by boiling the carrots. Mashed the boiled carrors in a bowl until chunky, then add other ingredients. Beat by hand for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a grased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Can be served warm or cold.

I’ll say this—whether the seder is a success or a disaster, it’s been a definite eye opener. My wife and her sisters love to cook, and whenever there’s a holiday they can be found running around the kitchen, adding this, draining that, searching for olive oil or butter or pepper or whatever. There was a part of me that didn’t really get it. The same relatives always come over, the food always works itself out. So why such attention to detail and, in a sense, perfection?

Well, I sorta get it now. I’m running around the kitchen, looking for olive oil (thank God for Daniel and Orley, the neighbors who have all) and pepper, trying to figure out how to work the fucking food processor (First, I watched this video. Then I tried and tried to turn the damn thing on. Finally got it! Ten potatoes diced!) and wondering whether it matters if a pan is metal or ceramic (Leah, the sister in law, said it sorta does—but not enough to fret over). I have no reputation. In fact, I have an anti-reputation: I can’t cook. Factually. So there’s no pressure. And yet, I want this to go well. What I really want, to be honest, is for the wife to be proud and mildly impressed that I could pull something like this off.

No matter what, this has been beneficial. In the Pearlman household, we have pretty defined roles. The wife cooks, I do laundry and dishes. Even though I appreciate how insanely talented she is in the kitchen, I probably tend to take it for granted. Sometimes, after a meal is done, I mutter angrily under my breath at the large pile of dishes in the sink.

Again, this has been an eye opener …

  • jmw

    How could you ever been a bachelor?
    I was single till 29 (30 years ago) now I’ve been single since 44.
    I love to cook. I was a better cook than the wife but she wouldn’t let me into the kitchen.
    When she remarried she married a chef. Thankfully he does the cooking and meals at their house are good.
    All of my kids cook (2 of each).
    When I was divorced my son lived with me and one of his friends moved in for (too long) along with his dad. We all cooked.
    Men are natural cooks, your feast will turn out fine.

  • http://www.hagenhoopla.blogspot.com Wendy Hagen

    Impressive.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life