December 12, 2023

Not Your Mother's Tsimmes

A French porcelain soup plate is filled with luscious roasted beef and stewed prunes, sweet potato, new potatoes, and carrots in a savory sauce.

When I first started dating Donald in the mid 70s, his Mom used to make dinner for me from time to time, and one evening she served two things I'd never had before -- a salad with Green Goddess dressing, which I thought amazing, and tsimmes. The Green Goddess is a story for another time; tonight I'm writing to tell you about tsimmes.

Until that evening, I couldn't have imagined what magic would be made with succulent stewed chuck roast, prunes, and sweet potatoes. Sure, my Dad would add pineapple to beef for a grilled teriyaki steak-on-a-stick in the summer, but those cubes of alternating salty/dry and sweet/tart morsels were a world away from the voluptuousness of tsimmes glistening on my plate on a cold winter night. Tsimmes is soul food of the highest and most immediate order for me. 

My mother-in-law left this world decades ago, but I have Donald to carry on his Mom's cooking for me, albeit with more refined technique and presentation. This is a meal that transports me in communion with centuries of Eastern European hearths. If warms my home, I share it now to warm yours.