A letter to Bubbie

Dear Bubbie,

  We live in California now, and my Jewish cooking has gotten all mixed up with local influences.

I’m sorry and I feel really bad but your beloved chicken soup has become your grandchildren’s favorite Mexican chicken soup.

I still make your soup. Especially when the kids are sick or it’s a really cold day or we’re all feeling especially run down and tired.

I sauté onions, carrots and celery in some oil just like you used to. I use a whole chicken (maybe you used to use just certain parts of the chicken—I can’t remember). Sometimes I cheat and add a carton of Imagine Kosher Chicken Broth because I can’t always get the broth to taste as rich as when you made it. Lots of salt, a fine mesh strainer to make a nice clear broth and to remove all the goop, and then I skim off some of the fat.

untitled-1060264 But here’s where your wonderful Jewish cooking takes a turn south of the border–I then take all those soft sautéed onions that have been soaking all day in the broth and I puree them with a couple cartons of chopped tomatoes and add it all back into the broth. I add chili powder, chili flakes or a jalapeno pepper, garlic and a little cumin. Sometimes I add hominy. I put different bowls on the table filled with black beans, cilantro, chips, avocado and lime. The kids love to add whatever they want from these bowls to their soup.

Florenceandisabelle.com You’re still there with me when I make it. And I’m still back in Lakewood, NJ in your kitchen when I eat it. I think about being a little girl and you’re spoiling me with kisses and hugs and all that delicious comfort food. There was a lot of love and tradition around your kitchen table. And there is around mine too. I promise.

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Me and Florence


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10 Comments on A letter to Bubbie

  1. Nikki
    November 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Loved this post, Julie. Sweet. We make a soup like that too. No Bubbie inspired me but it’s always a favorite!

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      November 12, 2014 at 12:16 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Nikki. I’m so glad you liked this post. I know your soup must be delicious! You are a great cook.

      Reply
  2. Rhoda
    November 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Your writing actually brings tears to my eyes!! Yes, I too remember cooking with Grandma Mollie and I still look
    to some of her “specials” with much love. Going to try the soup gone south recipe this week. Yum

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      November 12, 2014 at 12:16 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing Rhoda. Let me know how your soup turns out. XO

      Reply
  3. helene
    November 11, 2014 at 11:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Very touching and very true. We need to change with the times and yet still incorporate the traditions of old.
    What a cute photo.

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      November 12, 2014 at 12:15 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Helene. I totally agree-it’s important to keep tradition and also change with the times. Its so important to me that my kids know their history.

      Reply
  4. David
    November 12, 2014 at 12:07 am (3 years ago)

    Great one bowl meal too when you add beans!!!!!! Thank you for sharing…

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      November 12, 2014 at 12:11 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, great one bowl meal! I agree!

      Reply
  5. Marci
    November 13, 2014 at 12:06 pm (3 years ago)

    What a fun and delicious post. I love new takes on traditional recipes. Your bubbie would be proud!

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      November 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Marci!

      Reply

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