Sick, but getting better – plus Mondel Bread

29 Sep

I’ve been a little off on updating of late (I know, it’s a slippery slope. One day it’s ‘wow, it’s been a while’, and then suddenly it’s more like ‘yeah, haven’t updated in 6 months’, and then it’s 3 years and you add this to the long list of shit I started but wasn’t able to keep going on. Brutal.). Actually, I’ve been sick since Sunday. We went to see The National on Saturday night, in Montclair, NJ. Montclair, where the city meets the suburbs, as they say. Apparently, just the act of entering New Jersey has made me sick.

Four days later, and I’m still coughing up a lung. But trooper that I am, I strapped on my medical mask (so as not to New Jersify the baked goods), and made my Grandma’s recipe for Mondel Brot:

Actually, we call it Mondel Bread, and it’s a kind of Jewish Biscotti – baked then toasted, so ‘twice baked’…ergo, biscotti. I call it delicious. There’s a family story that my grandma made a batch for my dad to take to my uncle in Germany. After traveling hours by plane, train, and automobile, my dad gets there and hands over the baked goods. Uncle looks in the tin and derisively complains, ‘What the hell? This isn’t mondel bread, these are mondel crumbs!’ Mondel crumbs is now in the family lexicon, translated roughly into ‘ungrateful schmuck who doesn’t appreciate all the work that went into something on your behalf.’ Honestly, I love my uncle to death, but he’s taken a family lore beating on those Mondel crumbs.

The recipe is simple, but it requires a little technique and a little finesse to make them come out right. After about a dozen times making it, I’m starting to get it down. Of course, ask my family and they’ll tell you that my version of the Mondel bread isn’t as good as my late grandma Sylvia’s Mondel bread. And to that I say: mondel crumbs.

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