who's in the kitchen

Getting set for our joyous pre-Pesach panic


By the time most of you will be reading this it will be about a week before Pesach. Normally I would be in that pre-Pesach panic mode, but this year I courageously agreed to cater and party-plan an event just eight days before the start of the holiday.

And so now I'm in party panic mode; next week I will enter my Pesach panic mode. I will admit that my pantry is totally turned over and filled with all my Pesach dry goods although it’s a certainty that more will be added: Jerry cannot turn down a sale and he thinks it's OK to buy another six boxes of cereal, when we already have eight in the house.

Jerry's dad's yurtzeit is the last day of Pesach (he believes his father would have gotten a chuckle out of his yurtzeit falling on the eighth day of the seven-day holiday). His father, a Holocaust survivor, was a fun-loving man.

Leslie Kellner, who spent a summer in Turkin's Bungalow Colony along with Jerry and his family, referred to it, as "The Magical Summer of 1965.” When asked why he called it that, he answered, "because of Jerry's dad, who made each day creatively fun and exciting in contrast to all the other more subdued parents,” most of whom were also Holocaust survivors. Jerry's dad, a Tom Sawyer-like adult, made sure that every day was a blast for all the kids in the bungalow colony.

When Jerry is hatching plans for a fun day with his grandchildren, he’ll often reflect back on, and fondly remember, what his father had done when Jerry was a young boy. Jerry is his father’s son and all his grandkids and grandogs love playing with him and all his toys and antics; it's a scene to behold. At work, when his colleagues’ children accompany their parents for day, many of them love to organize play dates with Jerry. 

Just in case my pre-Pesach panic mode turns into pre-hysteria mode, and by next week I have to ask my editor for the week off, I want to wish you all a happy sweet Pesach holiday.

To those of you who will be home and slaving away, I feel your pain, and to those of you who will be in some exotic place around the world being catered to, well you know what I think…

Since, in the five years that I’ve been writing this column, I've exhausted all of my interesting Pesach recipes, I’m going to rerun one of my favorites…

Decadent Heavenly Hash Pesach Brownies


8 eggs

4 cups white sugar

2 cups melted butter

12 Tablespoons matzo meal

2 cups cocoa powder

2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)


2 cups heavy cream

24 ounces semi sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

4 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or nuts of your choice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8x8 inch baking pans.

On medium speed blend eggs, sugar, and butter. Mix in matzo meal, cocoa powder and walnuts (if desired).

Pour batter into the baking pans, and bake for 30 minutes. Once cool, prepare the topping. Melt chocolate and heavy cream over a very low flame stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Remove from flame and let cool till it’s almost room temperature, but still soft enough to pour.

Place marshmallows and nuts on top of the brownie cake and pour chocolate topping over it.

Let cool and slice into squares. These can be made a few days before and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove from fridge an hour before serving.