Arguments happen. Sometimes they’re ended when people agree to disagree – as long as they privately know the other person is totally, completely, and irrevocably wrong. On occasion, they’re resolved when one side convinces the other. But then there are arguments which are so all-important that neither side can concede but a resolution must still be reached. That’s when you need a judge of final resort.
In the kitchen, Bubby was that judge. When Special Correspondent Ellen said I couldn’t replace sugar with applesauce, when my dad said I couldn’t leave chicken out overnight, and when I insisted that bread could last more than 6 months in the freezer, Bubby was called in to arbitrate. The answers were you can, you can’t, and of course it does.
There was, however, someone else I could have called. The one person who cooked with Bubby every Rosh Hashana and Peasch for more decades than I’ve lived. A person to whom Bubby would defer. Great-Aunt Rita. Sisters-in-law, they lived a few blocks away for over 40 years – and still they’d talk on the phone almost daily.
So, when Aunt Rita passed judgement on Dad’s kashi, it was fearsome. This is what happened, according to Dad:
The kashi was brought out, and Aunt Rita began her questioning.
Aunt Rita: What kind did you buy?
This had taken a turn that I was not expecting. I was going to be quizzed. I knew she meant. She was asking what was the size of the kashi grains.
Me: Coarse, uhhh sometimes medium.
Aunt Rita: Right
She didn’t say good, because good would imply a range of correct answers. There was only one.
Aunt Rita: How do you make it?
Me: the recipe on the box.
She nodded. I was relieved. She did not ask about bow ties, which I took to mean that she didn’t think they were essential. I had left them out.
Aunt Rita: I have a new way of making it. You mix the kashi with egg, microwave, separate with a fork, as you have to do. Microwave again and pour boiling water over it. It comes out great.
I have not tried it yet, but maybe the next time.
For traditionalists, the original recipe is still available here.