In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov 21, 2011 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772

For these culinary monstrosities, let us give thanks

By Mitch Albom

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It emerges every November. From an oven. From a mold. From a casserole dish. It is lime green or beet red or marshmallow white. It has olives or bananas or diced pimentos. It elicits cheers or boos, "mmm" or "yechh," but no one is neutral.

It's The Thing You Only Eat On Thanksgiving.

Can you smell it?

"Oh, no, not the carrot loaf!" someone will yell, and someone else will say, "Oh, yes, the carrot loaf!" and someone else will say, "Every year it's the same thing, the stupid carrot loaf!"

And every year it is. There is something about Thanksgiving that elicits the weirdly edible, strangely constructed food. It is oval shaped. Or deep-dished. Or in mini logs. Or the size of large marbles. For a holiday where the menu is supposed to be the same, there's a rash of one-of-a-kind dishes.

And one-of-a-kind for a reason.

"Here comes the green stuff!" someone yells. That's a refrain in our home -- my wife's side. Lemon-lime Jell-O, cottage cheese, walnuts and fruit cocktail from a can. The Green Stuff. Don't ask me. It came with the marriage.

"I can't believe you eat that!" someone says.

"That's my favorite!" someone says.

"I can't believe you eat that!" someone says.

Every family has one.

A quick Internet search on the topic "weird Thanksgiving food" reveals a cornucopia of dishes apparently invented in finger-painting class.

"Cranberry Fluff" -- using cranberry sauce, cranberry Jell-O, whipped cream and crushed pineapple.

"Oyster casserole" -- canned oysters, hardtack, cream and butter.

"Yam patties." Speaks for itself.

Many of the oddball dishes seem to involve, for some reason, sweet potatoes. Or cream cheese. Or olives.

Or Jell-O.

Before the Green Stuff, my family had "the mold." It mixes raspberry Jell-O, big round cherries and some kind of sherbet. It's actually pretty good. It moves on your plate like a live squid, but it's pretty good.

What I want to know is what the Pilgrims would think. According to history books, the original Thanksgiving meal probably consisted of, in part, cornmeal, fish, wild fowl and turkey. There was likely some rabbit, deer, squash, beans, nuts, onions and eggs.

No mention of a pimento loaf.

Or celery/raisin/cottage cheese bars.

Or cranberry sour cream.

Or yam patties. (I know we used that one already. I just like saying it.)

So the question is, with no apparent link to the Pilgrims and Indians, where did The Thing You Only Eat At Thanksgiving come from?

Well, I have a theory. When we were kids, my grandmother made a dish at the holidays -- including Thanksgiving -- and she called it Tsimmis. I have no idea if I'm spelling that right, but what could it matter? We had no idea what was in it. Some kind of sweet potato, prunes, carrots, cinnamon. Or maybe dried wood chips and dandelions? Who knows?

The point was that my uncle, her son, hated it. Hated it. Every time it was served, he went ballistic. "Not the tsimmis again! It's awful! Get it away from me! Bleep!"

And we all cracked up.

She made it every year. Nobody objected -- even though hardly anyone ate it. Here's my theory. We all wanted to hear my uncle complain. What curse words would he use this time? It was funny. An expected highlight.

A tradition.

He would die of cancer, my uncle, much too young, in his early 40s. One of the last big family meals he attended, my grandmother made the tsimmis again. He was already sick. Not his old vibrant self. But when he saw that stuff, like a comic with a lobbed punch line, he rallied.

"Bleep! Not the bleepin' tsimmis."

We still laugh and cry at that story.

So celebrate your olives. Your yams. Your carrot loaves. Thanksgiving is about bringing us together in whatever way we can cherish each other.

Nobody said you have to swallow.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives