Blow, Blow, Blow Your Nose
It is impossible to be other than happy around my mom. When you’re blowing your nose for the umpteenth time and she starts singing, “Blow, blow, blow your nose,”* you sing along.
That’s the challenge of being a caretaker. Your own life must be put on hold while you are caring for your charge, be it a family member or an employer.
This week, I spoke about my cookbook publically for the first time. In the embracing atmosphere of the monthly Rosh Chodesh** women’s group, I read excerpts and some poetry, spoke of the challenges of visiting Mom, assured my lovely friends that there is a difference between growing old and having Alzheimer’s, and got amazing warm-fuzzy feedback on this project. (It certainly makes up for the nice rejection letter I got from a publisher this week.)
Unfortunately, my mother-in-law wasn't feeling well and couldn’t attend the evening with me, though we had spoken about it and planned for her to be there. This was her last night with us before her flight home, and I had high hopes for sharing it with her, especially as she knows Mom and has been a supportive reader of my work. The next morning, any residual disappointment that I had was put aside to visit Mom.
And there I was, tired, slightly bruised, putting on a bright face for Mom’s effusive greeting. The thing about happiness is that if you give in to it, you genuinely become happy. What a gift.
Since it’s officially Chanukah until tonight, I am posting a sfinj recipe that I made with my daughter. What a fun mess we had in the kitchen! The sweet doughy taste of these Moroccan doughnuts was enough to make up for it.
This is the strangest dough I’ve ever worked with. It is intentionally soft and runny. Use extra oil on your hands to knead it well and keep it from sticking.
1 kilo flour (2.2 lbs)
1½ Tbsp dry yeast
3½ cups warm water
½ tsp salt
Oil for deep frying
Sugar for coating
In a large bowl, mix yeast and flour, sugar and salt. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the warm water, using your hands to mix it all together. The dough will be runny. If the dough gets sticky, add a layer of oil to your hands. Knead until all the ingredients are mixed. Cover and let rise for about an hour in a warm place until dough doubles in size. Knead again to let out all the air.
When dough is ready, heat oil in a deep-sided pot. There must be enough oil so that the doughnuts do not touch the bottom of the pot. Oil your hands and pinch off a small ball of dough from the whole. Using your thumbs or fingers, make a hole in the middle of the dough ball and pull the sides until it forms a small bagel-like shape. Place in boiling oil. Continue until the pot is filled.
Fry the sfinj about two minutes on each side until it turns golden. Transfer to a paper towel to drain, and dip in a bowl of sugar while still warm.
Repeat this process until all the dough is used. Makes 20 to 25 sfinjim.
Eat immediately (!!!) or serve warm.
*Sung to the tune of “Row, row, row your boat.”
** Rosh Chodesh is the holiday that marks the new moon and new Jewish month. It is traditionally a women’s holiday.