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I would like to take this walk down memory lane with you as well. Grandma, may she rest in peace, always made us cucumbers, scallions and radishes, mixed with a little cottage cheese and sour cream, seasoned with some salt. That was our very special Grandma lunch treat. I make this even today. It is a great summertime refreshing lunch. I serve it to company and they love it. I never make it without conjuring up pictures of Grandma in my mind.
Some 16 years ago, my husband and I were sent to Russia on a mission. While there, we purchased fruits and vegetables. What was available? Cucumbers, radishes, scallions, potatoes, beets, onions. This is what our ancestors knew how to cook and prepare. Borscht! Schav! Potato Kugel! If they were fortunate enough to live in a community with a farm, they had chickens--shechted by the local rabbi. A farmer had a cow. From the milk they made cheese and sour cream. Meat--that was a luxury.
As a little girl, every Thursday, after school, I went directly to Grandma's to "help" with the Shabbat preparations. As she cleaned the chickens, I always waited to see if there were eggs inside. What a treat those eggs were in chicken soup. (I purchased some at my butcher recently and served them for Rosh Hashanah.) We ground fresh fish (straight from the bathtub--killed when I wasn't around) for gefilte fish. We broiled liver, hard boiled eggs, fried onions (in schmaltz, of course) and made chopped liver. Grandma used to grate a black radish, warm it in schmaltz and serve it with the liver. A few times a year we made kreplach together. I still make kreplach, but look up towards heaven each time and talk to Grandma. Could she understand that I grind my cooked soup meat in the processor and not grind it in that big, heavy grinder that hooked on to the kitchen table? Believe it or not, I still use her knife to cut the diamonds out of the dough to stuff with the meat.
Grandma died when I was 14. I have no memory of her dying. I was so close to her that I have, to this day, totally blocked it out. What I do have, are great memories of that lovely, loving woman and her recipes--not one of them written down--just passed on to me on those Thursday afternoon.
Posted by Chaya Grodner