Crepes on Fire!

crepes on fire

Ooh la la! Crepes are delicious and French and can be very fun for the Purim seuda. They are also super-easy, healthy, can be made gluten free, and can filled with just about any filling you would be willing to eat. They can be savory or sweet and used as an appetizer, entree, or dessert. They can also be gussied up “Fancy Nancy” or a pedestrian street food.

Recently, I went to the TA tea and demonstrated how to make crepes suzette – or their much more exciting title, crepes on fire.  Where did crepes suzette come from? Crepes had already existed in France before 1896. The addition of the flambe and alcohol was the crucial new step that distinguished crepes suzette from plain crepes with filling.

Who made the discovery? It’s a mystery! Henri Charpentier (a young teenager at the time) claimed he created the dish by accident – accidentally setting fire to the alcohol in the dish in front of the then-Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) and that the king requested the dish to be named for his friend. Auguste Escoffier (of melba toast and culinary school fame) also claimed to have invented the dessert. Whoever created it (and I wish I knew definitively), the end result of orange butter, sugar, and crepes is truly delicious. The fire caramelizes the sugar and blends the flavors so amazingly that it elevates them to the next level.

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Journal of a Kidney Donor


As told to Yael Mermelstei

Reprinted from Binah Magazine

November 12, 2013

I can’t get the story out of my head. There was a woman dying of kidney disease – a mother of a large family. She was getting weaker and weaker. Then finally, a matching kidney donor was found.

 The woman was back to her high-energy self within months, almost as if nothing had ever happened. Her children had their mother back because someone was altruistic enough to give her one of their kidneys.

As soon as I read the article, I felt strongly that this was something that I wanted to do too, but when I brought it up with my husband Shalom, he was pretty reluctant about the idea. The kids are still little and he was nervous that someone in the family might need my kidney one day. Why should I give it to a complete stranger?

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The Process of Making Wigs


Getting married in the Orthodox Jewish community is often synonymous with buying a wig. Married women have a mitzva to cover their hair and that is usually done by wearing a wig.

Walking in to Orna’s Wig Salon on Reisterstown Road, one is immediately faced with an entire wall covered with wigs. Dark wigs, blond wigs, and all shades in between. Curly wigs, long wigs, wavy wigs, and short wigs. How are all these wigs made? Are they made by hand, by machine, here in Baltimore or overseas?

Orna has her own line of wigs called “Orna Wigs,” and she is also an expert in wig repair. I asked her to explain how the hair on a wig goes from the head of a woman in Brazil to the head of a woman here in Baltimore.

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Going Out on a Limb for Our Kohen Roots


It all started about two years ago, after my family and I moved to the Greenspring section of town. We started davening at Agudah of Greenspring, and Rav Mordechai Shuchatowitz and his rebbetzin kindly invited us to their home for Shabbos lunch. Knowing that I am a kohen, the rav mentioned during the course of the seuda that it is not advisable for kohanim to drive down Old Court Road near the Druid Ridge Cemetery. When the rav explained there are Jews buried there and the overhang of the trees inside the cemetery fence creates a canopy – an extension of the cemetery – over the street, we were shocked. From the many Christian symbols on the tombstones that are visible when driving by, I had been sure it was a non-Jewish cemetery. Little did I know that it is a nondenominational cemetery, with a Jewish funeral taking place there about once every two weeks!

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Chuck Norris meets Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

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Ask the Shadchan


To the Shadchan:

I’m a regular Baltimore girl. I live at home with my parents and work as a professional. I’m considered pretty and accomplished, and have everything going for me. At 25, I’ve been dating for five years and am finding at least one aspect of it very stressful.

I keep hearing from shadchanim, my mother, and people in general that I should be going to shul and to other events and gatherings so that people will “see you and remember that you need a shidduch.” I’m constantly told that I have to look my best at all times – including makeup and perfect hair – whenever I leave the house.

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A Bipolar Life


I’m sharing my story with the intention of helping to change the way people view mental illness and helping others who have similar struggles. 

I’m Sarah. I am frum. I am a psychologist. I am just like you. But there’s something I keep beneath the surface that separates us, something I think you may not understand. That is my bipolar diagnosis. 

Until I was 27, I was just like everyone else, going through the same milestones and changes in my life. I got married and had two healthy pregnancies and two kids. Then, when my younger son wasn’t even three years old, things changed. My sleep patterns changed and that led to a full-blown manic episode. I was hospitalized for three-and-a-half weeks. When I finally walked out of the hospital, I had a bunch of prescriptions and a label attached to my name.

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Which Shul Do You Choose….and Why?


Shortly after I turned my computer on to begin this article on how people choose their shul, a headline leaped out at me: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Pick $5.5M Home – and Chabad Synagogue – in Washington.” Is it true? Was their purchase of the magnificent six-bedroom home due to its location, a mere seven-minute walk from TheSHUL, led by Rabbi Levi Shemtov? While “SHIPPA (Shul HIPPA) laws” preclude confirmation of the reason for their buying decision, I concur with the article’s author’s opinion that it was indeed due to the shul. (That the house happens to be only a couple blocks away from the Obamas’ new home appears not to have been a factor!)

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Memories of the 1960s

August, 1960. My family moved from the Jewish enclave in the Riggs Park section of Washington D.C., NE, to the Maryland suburb of Silver Spring. Our new home was located on Malibu Drive, in a neighborhood roughly equidistant from Langley Park and a new development named Kemp Mill. I was soon to enter the Hebrew Academy of Washington, Yeshivas Bais Yehuda, as a first grader, so my father took me to the school one day for the required interview. In those days, the Academy was located on 16th Street NW, adjacent to the Shepherd Park section of Washington. But enough geography.

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All Purpose What?!


I saw a sign in a store a while back advertising “all purpose shrimp.” Other than eating them (not for us, of course), how many purposes do shrimp have? Do shrimp make good doorstoppers? Can you string them together to make a necklace? Use them to wash windows? Remove stains? Fix squeaking hinges? Somehow I suspect these uses would cause unwanted odors. It would be a dead animal, after all, and I’ve yet to come across “shrimp scented” fabric softeners or air fresheners.

I’ve never seen “all purpose gefilte fish” advertised and can’t imagine what another use would be. Perhaps the canned type could be employed as bookends. And if a bookend fell off the shelf onto your foot, you could take a frozen gefilte fish roll out of the freezer and use it to relieve the swelling. But generally, we seem to use gefilte fish only for eating.

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