Saturday, March 13, 2004

Life In The Slow Cooker Lane or If You Haven’t Had Vegetarian Cholent for Shabbat Lunch You Really Don’t Know Anything About The Blissful Experience Of The Shabbat Afternoon Shloff or Bubble, Bubble, No Toil, No Trouble.

I see it’s time for my Blogger friends to start salivating about the steaks they are going to eat in protest of the violent tactics of a group of animal rights activists. Well, I don’t like aggressive actions, not if they are in aid of saving animals from inhumane treatment and slaughter and not if they are in aid of people who want to enjoy eating them or wearing them, without being harassed.

I am a vegetarian, but not one who tries to force her beliefs or views on anyone else. To prove this point, I would like to say that I am bringing up (or should I say, being brought up by) two enthusiastic young meat lovers. Their strange idea of heavenly food is R.T.’s Best Chicken Soup In The World (or so I’ve been told) and the fare served at Our Sis’s Famous Garden Barbeques.

In an attempt to accommodate their weird lust for cooked animal flesh, Bish arrived home with a new toy last week – a slow cooker. The idea was that we could stick bits of ex-birds and former mammals (or even the odd deceased aquatic vertebrate) into the cooker in the morning, just before we all left for work and schools, and these sorry creatures would be cooked ready for the girls by the time they got home from school at lunchtime, and would be steaming hot for their enjoyment (ugh!). By the time we arrived home later on, the offensive smells would be long gone.

But, wonder of wonders, the slow cooker is a friend to non-meat-eaters too! We have been having a wonderful time, experimenting with stews, soups and the likes. Those tantalizing cooking smells that habitually steal, uninvited, into our nostrils as we enter the corridor of our floor, no longer sadly disappear as we open the door to our apartment. The smells are actually coming from inside our apartment! There it is welcoming us - a pot filled with bubbling, savory scrumptiousness.

And today was no exception. This slow cooking wonder produced for us, on this Shabbat, the richest, most fragrant, most succulent, most delectable, and (of greatest importance yet) most sleep-inducing, vegetarian cholent, to ever grace Shabbat plates this side of the Jordan River.

[An admission of guilt: I wrote this before actually tasting the said cholent. The smell was driving me completely insane. I was drooling at the mouth like a dog, and I wasn’t the only one - family members could be seen periodically drifting into the kitchen, led by their noses, arms straight in front of them, eyes closed… We ended up eating about an hour before we had planned to. We just couldn’t stand it any more.

What can I say? It was all I had imagined and more. Bish said it was (the Hebrew equivalent of) divine, very appropriate for Shabbat lunch.

And now (yawn) for my shloff.]