Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Lifetakes: The Traveling Cholent

Rebecca Feldbaum

Then came the Shabbos I spent with a warm Moroccan family, where I realized I was insulting the couple by not trying their unique cholent

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

I’ve never been a huge fan of cholent.

Somehow a meat-potato-bean mixture that sits all night long in a pot on a blech or in a crockpot on a counter holds little appeal, even on a frigid Shabbos day.

For many years, my aversion contended with politeness. When I spent my seminary year in Israel, I politely turned down taste-testing cholent. And then came the Shabbos I spent with a warm Moroccan family, where I realized I was insulting the couple by not trying their unique cholent. (I mean, eggs were floating on the top…) They told me it was a little “hot,” but I took a spoonful and soon big, huge tears were rolling down my cheeks. Yep, it was hot, all right — hot peppers H-O-T! My polite days were over — no more cholent for me!

Back in America, I enjoyed Shabbos meals in many different homes — minus the cholent. One particular family, the Cohens, was especially kind to me and I became a bas bayis there. Mr. Cohen was known to make a delicious cholent, but, try as they did to convince me, I just could not bring myself to taste it.

Eventually I married and had my own home. Wanting to be the perfect eishes chayil, I made cholent for my husband. It wouldn’t have won any cooking awards, but he was satisfied. My cholent-making came to a complete and total standstill during my first two pregnancies. There was no way I could have that smell in our home.

So imagine my husband’s (and my own) complete and utter surprise when I was pregnant with my third child and I craved — yes, craved — cholent! Our first son was born and I realized that male genes must really need meat. For my fourth pregnancy, I had a reliable indicator of the baby’s gender: I wanted cholent, so it must be a boy. (It was!) But that was it for me. Once the pregnancies were over, I went back to my avoid-eating-cholent-at-all-costs mode.

Time passed, and I went through a very hard, life-changing experience. I did my best to keep myself on an even keel, but some days were harder than others. At that period in my life, I returned to the Cohens for Shabbos. Come Shabbos morning, I asked for a bowl of cholent, and was soothed by each spoonful.

Somewhere deep in my subconscious, I must have associated their cholent with a simpler, more carefree time in my life. When I ate it, I honestly felt like I was nourishing my neshamah that was in such turmoil.

Related Stories

Coloring Out of the Lines

Esther Kurtz

At least Debby is entertaining when she harasses me. But Paint Nite? Seriously? I’d send a donation,...

SisterSchmooze: Special Delivery

Marcia Stark Meth / Emmy Leah Stark Zitter / Miriam Stark Zakon

A box that disappears mysteriously, a truckload of floor tiles that brings back memories, a sandwich...

House of Mirrors: Chapter 11

Rachael Lavon

A photo shoot shows Laylee how people are judged by their appearances. Laylee’s parents invite the f...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you