Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Food Network star, just waiting to be discovered

Yom chamishi, 26 Tamuz 5771.
I finally had the privilege of meeting Miryummy at a recent food-bloggers event here in Gush Etzion.  How does a non-food-blogger get invited to a gig like this, you may ask?  Protexia, my friend.  Vitamin P.  The most important tool for survival in Israel.  (Write that down.  There will be a quiz later.)  Stay tuned for more about this delightful event, after I finish looking over the notes of the real food bloggers.

Miryummy and I "met" some time ago in Cyberspace, and enjoyed each other's stories and writing styles.  As much as I enjoyed the event, meeting my "old friend" was one of my favorite parts.  Please let me share her, the very interesting story of who she is, and her wonderful blog with you.

Introduce yourself.  Who are you, what are you, why are you?
I don't know who I was when I was born, but one cold November afternoon in Mount Sinai Hospital on Fifth Avenue I was given to my parents, childless Holocaust survivors.  My father had lost his children to the Final Solution, my mother had her childbearing opportunities literally ripped from her, and on that day I became Mirjam, pronounced MirYAM.  My father called me Miroosh, my mother called me Miraleh.  My friends' nickname for me is Mirj (merge) and my husband, when he's not busy calling me "My sweet, my love, my cherub," calls me Miriyummy.  I am a second generation Holocaust survivor who has been put on this world to boost my husband's ego, to embarrass my children and to make people feel good by feeding them.

Where do you live, and why?
I live in Ra'anana, a city that claims (probably rightly so) to have the highest quality of life in Israel.  I don't live here by choice.  My choice would be to live somewhere in the area of Jerusalem, enjoying dry summer days and brisk summer nights.  Instead, I live in the sauna that is Ra'anana because that is where my husband lives.  He lived in Ra'anana and I lived in Givat Ze'ev, one of those mountaintop settlements surrounding Jerusalem.  He couldn't move to my mountain, so I moved to his sauna.

What is your family like?
We're a blended family.  My husband has 4 children, I have 4 children.  Ever see The Brady Bunch?  We're nothing like that.  I have a blog called Miriyummy ( where I discuss the family, and even have a page that explains the entire tribe, my own Guide to the Perplexed (

What is your relationship with food?  Do you like to cook?
I have a love/love relationship with food.  My mother taught me that cooking and eating (and feeding) is an enjoyable experience.  I love to cook, it relaxes me, makes me feel creative.  The only time I don't enjoy it is when I'm rushed, usually on Friday afternoon right before Shabbat.  I do not do well in Headless Chicken mode. 
Miriyummy in headless chicken mode?
What is your first food-related memory?
My first memories are an amalgam of smells and sounds coming from the kitchen where I played while my mother cooked.  I remember lying over coloring books on the kitchen floor listening to an accompaniment of my mother chopping liver in a wooden bowl while the aroma of shmaltz rendering on the stove filled the air.

How would you describe yourself in the kitchen?  As a hostess?
My mother had two descriptions for me as a cook.  She always marveled at the fact that I am a fast cook.  I move about the kitchen quickly, close to the speed of light, rummaging in my spice drawer one moment, rinsing some tomatoes an instant later, grabbing eggs out of the refrigerator so quickly I drop one and the dog gets a treat as he licks up the yolk from the floor.  The other way my mother described how I cook is that I cook for the six million.  If there are ten of us sitting down to dinner I will cook enough for 24.  This drives my husband insane.  He's a wonderful cook in his own right, but he prides himself on cooking enough for everyone, and just enough.  My cooking for the masses spills over into my hostessing, I love to entertain, love to have people sitting around my table rolling their eyes in ecstacy (or sarcasm) over my food.  I would rather inundate you, stuff you, overwhelm you with food than leave you wanting more.  This is something I inherited from my mother.  In the Holocaust she had to do without, so she made sure that we never had the chance to be hungry, ever.

What is your favorite comfort food and why?
Macaroni and cheese, in all its permutations.  I love the Eastern European flat egg noodles with cottage cheese and sugar and cinnamon just as much as I love the elbow macaroni smothered in a cheddar cheese sauce.  Why?  Carbs, cheese, gooeyness, all the ingredients to make me feel good (at least for the moment).

Desert island picks, name three foods you could not live without:
Coffee, chocolate and sushi, my drugs of choice. [Oh, I can't wait to make sushi for/with you, Mirj!]

Now I know how to lure you here for a visit!  (Besides:  dry mountain air, no humidity, cool breezes from the Med...)
Is there any food you hate?  Why?
I hate, despise and loathe passion fruit.  [One of my favorite fruits, and absolutely my favorite flower.]  As far as I'm concerned it looks, smells and tastes like alien vomit.  Don't ask me how I know what alien vomit tastes like.  [Ooo-KAAAAY.  Guess we won't be serving my favorite fruit.  Fine.  Thanks for sharing.]

What is your favorite Miriyummy post and why?
My all-time favorite (so far) is I Am Not Everybody (  [I love this post.]  I may not be the genetic production of my parents, but I am who they made me.  A close second is Barge Pole (  My motto in life is Man plans, God laughs, and that post shows just how much this philosphy follows me throughout life.

Do you have a food-related story you would like to share?
I have so many of these stories that I started blogging them in Miriyummy (  Little did my husband know that when he gave me my nickname it was going to brand me.

Recommendation:  When you want a recipe, check Miriyummy before you go to Google.  You'll get more than a recipe.  You'll get a story, a slice of life, a laugh or a good cry.  And you just may make a friend.
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