What’s cooking?

November 19, 2009

Over the last many months a few blogs have been my constant companion. All of them are by HBS students — an Israeli, an American Jew, two Indians and three Americans. And most of these blogs are currently on hibernation. Apart from the usual gossip about happenings in HBS, these blogs are also an excellent source of information about the countries their authors come from and the traditions that they bring with them. It is through these blogs that I was first introduced to pictures of Israel – something I’ve never seen before though ‘Indo-Israeli’ is a term we hear often in my country. And this mild introduction to a country and a culture has been fascinating.

My only experience of Jewish culture has been eating a sumptuous plate of Malawach. I Googled it. It’s a Yemeni dish very popular in Israel. It’s what Indians might loosely refer to as ‘laccha paratha’ — a multilayered wheat flour pancake which, in my case, was stuffed with a lot of cheese and an abundance of olives. It came with a bowl of raw tomato sauce too.

I tried eventually to prepare the dish myself. In Israel one can reportedly find ready-made Malawach which can be quickly slapped around a frying pan and had with the sauce or even boiled egg. I looked up recipes online but mistook flour to mean ‘maida’ which is basically very finely ground flour made from wheat grains whose skin has been scraped off. The result was that what I came up with was a crispy fried ‘namkeen’ – a crisp salty snack, not what the Malawach ought to be.

So my learning of Jewish culture is hopelessly inadequate.

On a side note, I’ve been noticing that the first thing that comes to my mind these days when I think of HBS is not Baker or Aldrich, but Spangler. Is that a cause for concern?