We’re reprinting one of Judy’s past Purim columns. She’ll be back with a fresh take from the Kitchen next week.
By the time you read this column it will probably be T-minus 2 days to Purim. Are you panicking yet? Have your shaloach manot been packed? Your seudah shopping completed? Your costumes picked out?
Back in the day, I don’t remember any panicking. Shaloach manot consisted of a few different pieces of elegant cakes, placed in pretty little colored paper cups and a fruit placed in the middle of the plate. Girls were costumed as Queen Esther or Vashti and boys as Mordechai or Haman. And the costumes weren’t bought — you either borrowed a gown someone wore to a wedding a few years back, or you wore a really pretty party dress, your mom’s costume pearls, “Shabbos shoes,” and Mom’s make up. Piece de resistance? That glorious crown perched on our heads. It was made of cardboard that was shiny gold on the outside, and we assembled it.
The seudah consisted of basic Shabbos fare. Today, it’s a different ball game. Seudahs are seven course meals, or they take place in restaurants. Gone are the old favorites. We now have duck, veal, Cornish hens and lamb. Kugel is replaced by Potatoes Romanoff or Dutchess Potatoes and on the dessert menu you can find Cherry Clafoutis, Croquembouche and Pear Tarte Tatin.
Dressing up on Purim is a long-standing custom; the earliest record is found in the writings of the Mahari Mintz, a late 15th century Italian Rabbi and scholar. He writes that on Purim it is permitted for a man to dress up as a woman and vice versa.
Today, costumes are a family affair. The latest trend is for the entire family, yes parents and kids, to dress in a theme related to the shaloach manot.
If aviation is your thing, then you dress as pilots and stewardess’ and you deliver section trays with a roll, small muffin, chumus, drink and coffee packets.
Craving pizza? Have your family wear black shirts with homemade stickers printed with your family name and pizza. Add matching black caps. Either bake a flat round cake and decorate as a pizza with jelly and shredded white chocolate, or pick up a pie at your favorite pizza joint (mine is Shula’s), and add a can of soda.
Black and white your fancy? Dress in homemade domino costumes and send black and white cookies, chocolate covered pretzels with white sprinkles, black and white jelly beans and a can of Coke Zero.
Speaking of costumes, last year we were invited to a party. The theme? TV or movie characters from the 70s. I figured Sandy from the movie Grease (in the last scene) would be simple enough. I bought a blond shoulder wig, squeezed into a pair of my daughter’s black cropped paint on pants, added a black top and paired it with black 5-inch heels.
If you had one drink too many or you took off your glasses I came pretty close. Jerry, inexplicably, thought that coming as a Black Panther would be the perfect date for Sandy. Coming as John Tavolta’s Danny Zucco was way too conventional. I made a paste out of cocoa, water and bit of oil. His face, neck and hands were transformed. He wore all black, added a black beret and actually ordered Black Panther/Power buttons. On the way home from the party, at 1:30 am, I realized we needed milk for morning coffee. We pulled into a 7/11 in town. My husband, who usually goes in, wasn’t moving. I said, “You don’t expect me to go in dressed like this do you? He responded, “I’m not sure it’s best I go in looking like this!” He had a point.
I took off my wig and just as I was exiting the car I saw a man in his 50s wearing a kippa, dressed as the black swan complete with tutu, tiara and ballet slippers. Jerry could have gone in and not even be noticed.
Your family doesn’t have to dress as young calves to enjoy this delectable dish at your seudah!
Stuffed breast of veal
4 Tbs. canola oil
2 onions chopped
6 crushed cubes of garlic
1 C. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 C dried bread crumbs
2 1/2 lbs. ground veal
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 bone-in veal breasts, 5 1/2 to 6 lbs each with pocket horizontal pocket
Olive oil for coating
Mikee Garlic Stir fry and Rib Sauce (can be found at Gourmet Glatt)
Preheat oven to 350F and grease two heavy baking pans. Each roast will need its own pan.
In a pan, heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the parsley, bread crumbs, ground veal, eggs, salt and pepper.
Coat the veal breast with olive oil, and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the bread crumb mixture into the pocket. Tie the meat closed with kitchen twine to hold in the stuffing. Place the veal, bone side down, in pans. Pour a half jar of the sauce on each roast. Tent with aluminum foil so veal stays moist.
Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reaches 160 F, about 2 hours.
Let stand ten minutes then slice the veal between the ribs, and arrange on a large serving platter. The photo above is of one stuffed rib.
Judy Joszef can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org