Have you got a shiterein story for me?

Submitted by Judy on Mon, 09/29/2008 - 10:42am.

Okay, before you have me arrested, I’m not cursing here.

Shiterein (Yiddish): v. to add an unspecified amount adj. describing one who cooks from experiece and touch without recipes or measuring

Our foremothers were shiterein cooks. Who needs to measure? You throw in a little of this, a little of that, and a wonderful dish emerges. Far from haphazard, it’s a style borne of experience, confidence, instinct, and skill.

Shiterein cooks don’t usually write down their recipes. Fortunately Aunt Sally recorded my grandmother’s recipes or I wouldn’t have them. When they do write them down, they provide rather quirky measurements and instructions:

“a glass flour” or “a gluzzela” (little glass)
“an eggshell water”
“2 cents yeast”
“a nice piece of veal”
“knead until it feels right”
and of course the ever popular: “cook until done”

Aunt Hilda’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot ended this way: “If too sweet, next time add less sugar.”

Recently a friend told me that when she asked her mother when to put the dish in the oven, her response was, “So you’ll wake up a little earlier.”

Have you got a shiterein tale to tell? Would love to hear the instructions your foremothers left for you. Click "comments" below.