I'd had Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited by Arthur Schwartzon my to-read list for years, and finally found it at the library to look through it. I'd had a taste of Jewish cuisine from an excellent deli in town and wanted to try more.
It was interesting to thumb through this cookbook on the heels of reading 97 Orchard : An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, because much of the information in the chapter on Jewish Immigrants was mirrored in the textual parts of this cookbook. Schmaltz is praised and utilized like crazy; this is old-school Jewish cuisine! The recipes come from the Ashkenazi tradition more or less, but it feels like Polish grandmother food. Same difference, maybe. Hearty, full of fat, and full of tradition.
I bookmarked quite a few recipes to try, but the idea I kept coming back to involved pasta for breakfast. Sweet kugel, that elusive, mysterious creature, would be mine! There are two recipes for sweet kugel in this cookbook, I picked the recipe that didn't ask for pot cheese, since I wasn't sure I could find that anywhere.
This is my rendition of Anne Whiteman's Birthday Kugel. It is a grandmother dish too! Anne Whiteman is the mother of the man who helped create Windows on the World, the restaurant well known for its presence in the World Trade Center. I mixed it up the night before and by morning, the citrus zests and creamy custard were ready to permeate the noodles. It felt like home, and I made a silly post in Facebook about kugel making me believe in reincarnation. Well - I'd never had a sweet version before, but it felt so familiar and homey. I suppose that is what traditional, comfort food is for.