Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Grown-Up Table

Growing up, when my extended family gathered for holidays, the kids would be relegated to a separate "children's table." Presumably, there wasn't enough room at the grown-up table -- or maybe they just wanted us kids to be seen and not heard.

As you can imagine, it was a big deal when I finally "graduated" to the grown-up table.

Although that was many years ago and I now have two kids of my own, in a way, I feel as if I'm only now worthy of the grown-up table. Why? Because now I know how to cook.

Passover is coming up next week (although my family is having an "early bird" seder on Saturday) and I'm excited. It's the first year that I'm going to be cooking rather than just bringing wine or macaroons.

My cousin Claudia is in charge of delegating cooking responsibilities. She assigned me the task of cooking potato kugel. I should just be thankful I wasn't given the job of making gefilte fish or matzoh ball soup.

The older generation is no longer able to cook, but my cousins and I still rely on their recipes. I plan to use my mom's treasured potato kugel recipe.

(If you strain, you might be able to hear the melody to "Tradition!" from "Fiddler on the Roof.")

I'm not too intimidated by the idea of making potato kugel, but when I think of making it for 28 people (the number who are expected at the seder), I am terrified. What if it turns out rock solid? What if I burn it? Will they send me back to the children's table?

The good thing about kugel is that it can be made in advance. I better start peeling potatoes right away.

Do you have any special holiday recipes?


Susan Blumberg-Kason said...

I don't have a recipe for potato kugel because someone usually brings that. This year, though, to spice things up, we're going to do a Sephardic seder and are gathering recipes for that. I'm glad you're doing an early bird seder, too. With Passover falling on weeknights, it's just too much for our family to schlep out to the suburbs during rush hour. So our seder will be on Saturday, too! Have fun!!

lauren said...

I don't have a recipe but I can ask my mom. I would recommend making it in a few smaller batches rather than one batch for 28. Whenever I've tried to make one monster sized batch of anything, it's been a disaster.

Undomesticated Me said...

Oh no! Apparently, now they're expecting 34 people. Yikes. Even more potatoes to peel!

Bernie Bernstein said...

It's Me, Mom - Remember, grate the potatoes into cold water so they don't turn black. And, make sure you drain the grated potatoes and then twist them in a clean dish towel until all the water is removed. They should be as dry as possible before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. I also like Lauren's idea of making small batches. It's easier to handle smaller amounts even when re-heating.

Dori said...

Dear "Mom": does your kugel include grating onions as well as potatoes? If so, grating potatoes into onions also prevents blackening (I've learned this from grating 10-20 lbs of potatoes each year for Chanukah latkes).

Paula, you could try making the same recipe but cooking it in muffin tins, which I hear helps the potatoes crisp up nicely (use non stick spray in the tins if you do)

Bernie Bernstein said...

It's Me, Mom -Thanks, Dori. I never knew about grating the potatoes into the onions to keep them from blackening. I'll try it next time.

I also like your idea about the muffin tins. It would be easier to serve also. For 34 people - no cutting, one per person, use three 12 cup pans and it's done.