As current economic shock waves trip an ancient collective memory of the lean wolf, huffing and puffing with winter's breath outside our door, we inevitably turn to starches.
This is not the time for tiramisu and airy mousses. You can't drown financial bitters with a sweet.
Casale Monferrato, a town deep in the wine country of Piedmont, Italy, made our Hanukkah latkes sing.
It wasn't the recipes from the slim cookbook of the community's Jews. Nor did we buy a local ingredient there, like truffles, that would make our latkes stand out.
Add just a smidgen of sugar to tea or coffee-even the darkest Turkish brew-and it then becomes undrinkable to me. I find sweetened sodas, candies, and most desserts thoroughly unappealing. But a light sprinkle of sugar melting into a hot, oniony potato latke? That's the way my grandmother served it, and it still tastes like heaven to me.
A Parisian-Jewish caterer once described to me his favorite T-shirt, seen on a beach in Eilat, Israel. There was a smiling beige fish, stippled with schmears of purple-red, the exact color of beet-horseradish. Underneath, in bold black letters it implored: "Save the Gefilte Fish."