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Lipman's

Ore and let davven.™

Mail: lippomano@gmail.com

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Why do people eat chulent?

Chulent is objectively bad. So why do people eat it?

There are those who grew up with it. To them it's the best food ever, and what's more, they are seriously not able to understand how you can feel differently, just taste it, man! (Food psychologists have long been aware of this porridge phenomenon™: it's exclusively the connection to childhood that makes people crave for the food of their childhood, entirely independent of the food's actual taste or value and even independent of whether their childhood was any good. Basically a variant of conditioning.) And in addition the idea that chulent is something good has been told to them all the time. Strangely, their parents as well as cooks in their city were raised with a much better version, but the cooks asked everybody not to talk about it, because it's bad for business. Of this group, about one in four either looks for healthier variants of chulent or goes vegan right away. They don't have many doubts about health issues, but they miss the taste from time to time.

Then there are those who didn't grow up with it. As a rule, they recognise the stuff's got a ghastly taste, its nutritional value is on a low level, and the burned parts are even harmful.

But there are some who first ate it clearly after their childhood, and yet profess a great fondness for it now. Of course, some change the recipe, ignore the burnt parts, add spices and all kinds of things until you don't see it anymore, maybe even add some cream that suspiciously looks like milchigs though they say it's soy, put some pot in and top it with a flower.

But there are others who don't and who rather burn it more because they claim that's the "best part" until even the baleboste shakes her head.

The reasons are difficult to pin down. Some heard those of the first group praise chulent, and they themselves simply don't have a well working sense of taste, maybe were born with insufficient tastebuds.

Others do have working tastebuds as such, but they don't work right, also they only note overly strong flavours. They change their preferences sometimes, as long as it's a strong flavour. Some wouldn't have eaten anything but falafel before and couldn't have enough charif on it, and next year they might live on Cuban rum or Soviet-era vodka that can't be highproof enough.

Others were raised with an entirely different cuisine, such as watery knuckles of pork and sausages. They only heard of chulent because when he was young, whereever their grandfather and his friends came across a bowl of it, they used to pee in it. He still chuckles sometimes. So, on the one hand, they are disgusted by Grandpa's pranks, but on the other, they secretly don't like chulent, maybe even because it made them lose respect for Grandpa. People from this group typically claim that someone in Granny family used to burn the pork, too, but nobody's really buying that.

Others again always ate a kind of chulent, just not so burnt. Still bad food, so they quietly took supplement pills or, more pathetically, tried to convince people that the burnt parts contain exactly the same stuff as the supplement pills. Some day they gave up, especially as their own chulent didn't look as fancy as the other one, and they felt a treat should be a treat to look at, too. All the time before, they had the erroneous feeling that their chulent was a diluted version, not that the other one was much like theirs originally, except for the additives maybe.

Others again sadly had great juicy yummy hammin or schalet at home, but hardly anybody knows how to prepare that today - it takes a bit more time and skill and isn't as easily identified in the deli counter, and there are basically no professional cooks left who could help. (By the way, country-style schalet is at least as good as urban nouvelle cuisine schalet.) Some guys actually try to use printed recipes and the like, but they don't get all the ingredients right and they're usually spending most of the day in smoky chulent kitchens. So it's got a somewhat artificial taste and is still burnt anyway.

17 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, July 11, 2008 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Of course, some change the recipe, ignore the burnt parts, add spices

I believe I fall into the latter part of the latter. Spices, man, that's what life is all about.

Chulent is, in yedem gefal, better than Bofton Baked Beans. Now that is a legume dish worth running away from. No amount of cumin and paprika can make it edible. Even with burned parts.

I have no idea how other people make tshernt. I copied recipes from the internet long ago, experimented, threw away pots of muck, and modified to a fare-thee-well. My tshernt is, in consequence, probably the best tshernt on the backside of the hill (it may very well be the only tshernt in that neighborhood, but that is beside the point).

As Resh Lakish points out, the primary reason one eats Tshernt on Shabbes is to brutally slap down the neshomo yeteiro, lest it have too much oneg and decide to overstay its welcome. Tshernt has been proven to hasten the departure of the Sabbath Queen. Conclusively.

Tshern also sets a division between Israel and the nations. Tshernt is the bio-war component of a milchemes mitzvo. Tshernt is potent juju. Tshernt is evanescent kedusha.

Tshernt made with lima beans, however, is inedible. Lima bean tshernt is a contradiction, one of the burdens of golus, and probably a direct result of the second destruction of the beis hamikdash. A zeicher of suffering, not fit for shabbes, suitable only for the other six days.

[Note: this long comment was rejected in its entirety by spellcheck. Proving conclusively that spellcheck is anti-Semitic, and probably wishes it could overcome the awesome power of tshernt. Poor, pathetic little shgotzy computer adjunct!]

Friday, July 11, 2008 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Tshernt is potent juju.

«coughcough» jewjew «cough»

Friday, July 11, 2008 5:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

Lipman, you didn't include any green words in this post!

(It might help make the nimshəl more comprehensible.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

Sorry, I meant:

Lipmən, you didənt ənclude any green wərds in this post!

(Ət might help make thə nimshəl more compreeehensəbəl.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Right - is it clear this is an allegory? Private mails suggest it wasn't obvious to all.

Monday, July 14, 2008 6:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chulent is related to Dhansak. Perhaps indicate of a Persian origin. And Ibrahim did come from the east, leaving the land of his fathers.


---Grant Patel

Monday, July 14, 2008 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Well, chulent has a form of dhan, but rather little shak, does it, except for pyaaz.

Monday, July 14, 2008 6:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a way he's right - meat, gasfood, and a filler. But also a nutritious one pot meal that puts everybody to sleep, and is heavy besides. A slap-together of convenience.

Meh. It's hutspot. One-pot-ism is universal.

Monday, July 14, 2008 8:10:00 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

That was I, of course.

Monday, July 14, 2008 8:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds also like a gastly variant of Undhiu. Which, itself, is pretty sodden gastly. Despite the name, I eat no Guju food. Meat. We are wanting meat. Muchly. Flaish. Mit beanie things. And piyaz. And lal mirchi. And dhannia ka beej, kala mirch, haldi. All good things.

Browned onion added after the meat is in the pot performs the sauce. But cooking the meat with the onion will make it tender.


---Grant Patel

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 3:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now, dear Lipman man, we need YOUR recipes.

Schalet, hamim, and, not forgetting, chulent.

I doubt that you have recipes for dhansak and undhiu - in the case of the latter, you might be considered fortunate. Undhiu is both a blessing and burden.


---Grant Patel

Monday, July 21, 2008 2:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blessing and burden - two mountains, Ebal and Gerjim?


---Grant Patel

Monday, July 21, 2008 2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear Mr. Lipman, when you have returned from wherever Europeans go on their very long vacations, perhaps you can attend to a comment on the hill blog - something about the famous Balkan Subranie pipe-tobacco, on a post in which our demi-Dutchman rants about his fellow Hollandish speakers.....

And recipes. Please do not forget the recipes.



---Grant Patel

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Not relating to anything above, a review of Greg Pease's latest:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/07/key-largo-by-g-l-pease-good-pipe-blend.html

I like it. You might too. It is quite interesting.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Self advertising, BOTH? Or are you a shareholder in the Greg L Pease enterprise?



---Grant Patel

Friday, July 25, 2008 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger eamon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, December 15, 2008 7:30:00 AM  

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