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Ashkinaz-me! (a Passover tale)

by | Apr 21, 2008 | Rituals of food

Pesach or Passover is the time for Jews around the world to reflect on their history through a ritual rife with symbolic foods, like Matzo. It’s the telling of the exodus from Egypt. Shapiro is my surname. It is derived from the town of Speyer in Germany, the country of my birth. It was also one of the major centers of Ashkenazi culture in Germany. Honestly, I am not really a man of faith. And even though my mother is a Borgia, (you know Ceasare, Lucrezia, Alexander and Julian), which by ancient Hebraic law makes me less than genuinely 100 percent Jewish, that doesn’t mean I am not a kindred spirit does it?

Okay, now that my name and religion are figured out, the menu is what I love. Though my tendency would be to follow a more Mediterranean line of food, highlighting the Ashkenazi delicacies though would show some sort of chutzpah. Then again, leaving them out would make some people verklempt! I didn’t have a bubbe to teach me traditional Jewish culinary heritage, so some of this meal is borrowed from different sources. Lets say it’s sort of instinctual for me as a cook to make this meal. Oye, so what are we having?

                   Pesach at Shapiro’s


         Chopped chicken livers with Bibb lettuce and radishes on spelt matzo


                                Matzoh ball soup

                 Gefilte fish with horseradish and beets

    Wine: Salomon Undhof  Hochterrassen 2004 Gruner Vetliner


                                   Main course

      Braised beef brisket, sautéed ramps with potato latkes and applesauce

  Wine:  Sharecropper’s  2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
                Owen Rowe of Saint Paul, Oregon


Assorted petit fours, from Payard’s, they didn’t have macaroons so I made some rochers, (French coconut macaroons, and my wife being the consummate food snob loves Payard!).



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