Layla Schlack is an editor at Wine Enthusiast who also writes about home in her TinyLetter, Yellow78. Today one does not encounter kasha varnishkes with mushrooms too often in Jewish spaces, but the meatiness of the mushrooms complements the buckwheat quite well. Sauté for a minute or until the onions begin to soften. Subscribe now for full access. True, the show’s four main characters seemed like over-the-top caricatures of Jewish New Yorkers (some were even based on real-life Jews, with George Costanza as a stand-in for series co-creator Larry David, and Cosmo Kramer inspired by David’s former neighbor Kenny Kramer). No matter how Jewish Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) seemed, “Seinfeld” viewers learned that she was, in fact, a magnet for Jewish men due to her “, “It was never really clear if the Costanzas were Jewish or Italian or what they were,” Stiller . I mix the pasta and mushrooms first, then the buckwheat. The Berlin Wall fell, the Iron Curtain crumbled and a young political theorist named Francis Fukuyama announced that with Western liberal democracy’s triumph, we had reached “.”. Kasha is a common dish in Eastern Europe, and kasha varnishkes is a traditional Jewish preparation that combines cooked kasha with bowtie pasta and onions. The center is staffed and provides answers on Sundays through Thursdays between 07:00 and 14:00 and Fridays only handles distribution requests between 7:00 and  They should be evenly distributed. Remove from the oven. Its scent is not to be confused with potpourri! In the United States, the recipe then became popular with bowtie pasta, made initially in imitation of the Italian farfalle. That’s not as clear. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media. Like the original ratings-topping sitcom “I Love Lucy,” “Seinfeld” is comedy for the ages. That’s not as clear. Mushrooms, onions, and garlic – cooked. Whenever I cook the groats, I start by toasting them with the aromatics and then add hot cooking liquid to this mixture. If you stream it, people will watch and laugh. Kasha varnishkes initially began as vareniki, or pierogi, stuffed with buckwheat. Boiled or baked buckwheat. “It was never really clear if the Costanzas were Jewish or Italian or what they were,” Stiller later recounted. More in Seinfeld Glossary. True, the show’s four main characters seemed like over-the-top caricatures of Jewish New Yorkers (some were even based on real-life Jews, with George Costanza as a stand-in for series co-creator Larry David, and Cosmo Kramer inspired by David’s former neighbor Kenny Kramer). The dish itself has a fascinating history. What more propitious time for a “show about nothing” than the end of history? Later, when dried Italian pastas became widely and cheaply available, farfalle became the stand-in. Mix the components together: pasta, buckwheat, and the mushroom mixture. If you stream it, people will watch and laugh. ( Log Out /  Amid the plenitude of Jewish-themed comedy on “Seinfeld” (public displays of affection during “Schindler’s List,” a desperate quest for a chocolate babka, the high anxiety of a bris, a dentist who converts to Judaism for the Jewish jokes, cavalier comparisons of soup purveyors and burger chefs to Nazis), the fact that the show’s characters could not be openly Jewish seemed like a joke itself. Like so much of traditional cooking, there are a million ways to prepare kasha varnishkes. My preference is coarser with a medium toast. Amid such shpilkes, the Jews behind “Seinfeld” masked the Jewishness of the show’s characters. “Seinfeld” was silly and carefree. He and his co-stars on the nine-season hit sitcom “Seinfeld,” Jason Alexander and Estelle Harris – all Jewish actors – “were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed. Add fat or oil, raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is nicely browned, at least 10 minutes or so longer. Kasha varnishkes is a delicious dish – nutty and savory, with hints of carbohydrate sweetness and a touch of tannin from the buckwheat. Its scent is not to be confused with potpourri! Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Wander into Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, 2nd Ave Deli, Katz’s Delicatessen, or any other deli or diner that serves classic Eastern European food, and your eyes are likely to pass right over this common side dish of toasted buckwheat groats (the kasha) and bow tie pasta (the varnishkes) flavored with onions and mushrooms. One aspect of the “Seinfeld” story that seems like a relic from a distant past is NBC’s initial concern that the show was “too New York, too Jewish” to be a hit, as the network’s entertainment president, Brandon Tartikoff (a New York Jew himself), memorably worried. Anything from chilled cali fruit soup, to cold beet borscht, kasha varnishkes, more blintzes. Add the mushrooms, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the onion-garlic mixture. 3 Apr 2010 – 1 min read. What I learned about teshuvah (and the internet) when I sat down with a repentant white supremacist, What we learned on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s last visit to Israel. If your buckwheat groats are not roasted, roast the buckwheat groats first. Above all, “Seinfeld” is a product of a more innocent time. For international customers: The center is staffed and provides answers on Sundays through Thursdays between 7AM and 6PM  The groats were usually roasted for better flavor, easier digestion, and longer storage time – roasted groats can keep for months in cool and dry spaces. One curiosity about Seinfeld over the years has been the exact religious background of the character of George Costanza (Jason Alexander). Goose fat, especially, gives the whole dish a delightfully wild, gamy flavor. Kasha with mushrooms is another Jewish recipe with a long history – it was a particular favorite in pre-war Lithuania. Don’t be surprised if the jaundiced eyes of 2021 view “Seinfeld” through a screen of nostalgia. Jerry Stiller, Jason Alexander, Estelle Harris as the Costanzas on "Seinfeld." You may be at the mercy of what’s available in the grocery store, so don’t stress about it. (see Yo Yo Ma), See all 657 posts Add oil, and then the onions and garlic. It was the top show on network television before cable and streaming fragmented the American TV-watching audience into countless niches. By Lisa Respers France, CNN. – opinion. Commonly, a beaten egg is mixed in to give it some added structure, and the whole megillah is baked in a casserole to meld the flavors and get the top a little bit toasty. I converted through Reform Judaism. By contrast, our new golden era of television has tortured anti-heroes for its most celebrated protagonists. It was the top show on network television before cable and streaming fragmented the American TV-watching audience into countless niches. ... but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in … Kasha varnishkes is a satisfying side dish that deserves a turn front and center. Above all, “Seinfeld” is a product of a more innocent time. ( Log Out /  While NBC was tentative initially about the show’s prospects, “Seinfeld” would become not just an unlikely hit for the network but the most popular sitcom of the 1990s. Kasha, or buckwheat, has been present in Jewish cooking since the 12th century, when Mongol and Tatar invaders introduced buckwheat to Eastern Europe from Siberia and China. The toasted groats on their own have a powerful and distinct earthy aroma, with a texture that is honestly a little rubbery. “It is as fresh and funny as ever.” The enduring charms of “Seinfeld” in the streaming era, however, should not obscure the fact that the show is also very much a product of its time. In Russia, Ukraine, and Poland, “kasha” refers to any grain that’s toasted and cooked into porridge. In a separate, medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, stir in the kasha and about a teaspoon of salt. Jerry Seinfeld sets the record straight on that awkward Kesha encounter. “Seinfeld,” though, was a different animal than any of these. “Jason, Estelle and I were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed. Indeed, the world now intrudes even upon “Seinfeld” itself, as with reports that the pied piper of right-wing populism Steve Bannon managed to profit from the show’s royalties. ( Log Out /  *Some people claim that coating the groats in beaten egg helps them not to stick together. No matter how Jewish Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) seemed, “Seinfeld” viewers learned that she was, in fact, a magnet for Jewish men due to her “shiksappeal.” Meanwhile, the fact that George, played very Jewishly by Jewish actor Jason Alexander, had an Italian last name was cause for considerable confusion, including for the Jewish actors (Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris) who played his parents. “Most of our customers not only know what kasha varnishkes is, but for them, it’s their comfort food,” says Niki Russ Federman, a co-owner. “Jason, Estelle and I were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed. →. And yes, Woody Allen, Jerry Lewis and Jerry Seinfeld all performed there.) Preheat your oven to 400F/200C, and lay out the groats flat on a cookie sheet or a big pan. When the water is boiling, add the buckwheat groats. Simmer, stirring regularly, for ten minutes, or until the buckwheat has absorbed all the water and is soft to the tooth.*. Cook the bowtie pasta according to package instructions – generally speaking, about nine minutes in briskly boiling salted water. Put onions in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Nathan says that packaged flat egg noodles (lokshen in Yiddish) may have been pricey for home cooks, so squares of dough pinched in the middle were an affordable substitute. 1 min read, 3 Mar 2010 – Sometimes used in hot cereals or kosher specialties - like kasha varnishkes. It combines kasha (buckwheat … Cover and simmer until kasha is soft and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Amid such shpilkes, the Jews behind “Seinfeld” masked the Jewishness of the show’s characters. The Berlin Wall fell, the Iron Curtain crumbled and a young political theorist named Francis Fukuyama announced that with Western liberal democracy’s triumph, we had reached “the end of history.”. In this preparation, I made the kasha varnishkes with mushrooms. When people asked me about this, I would simply say it was because we were a Jewish family in the Witness Protection Program.”. Get recipes, tips and NYT special offers delivered straight to your inbox. (And generally tastier.) Roast the groats for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. True, the “Seinfeld” characters were themselves selfish miscreants, but they were so endearing that audience members tended to forget that they were kind of awful people.