A spicy sauce, an Israeli chef and one embarrassing dad? Happy Thanksgivukkah

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Marco Werman: So to celebrate this rarest of holidays, we turn to The World's Alex Gallafent in New York, who's been looking at Thanksgivukkah from someone else's kitchen, as part of an ongoing series where Alex samples food and speaks with cooks from around the world in the world's foodie capital, New York City. So Alex, what is on the table for Thanksgivukkah?

Alex Gallafent: Well, Marco, I spent some time yesterday with an Israeli chef. She lives in New York. Her name is Einat Admony and she's the chef and owner of this great place in Soho called Balaboosta, a restaurant. So when I spoke to her yesterday, she was in the middle of making Sufganiyot, these Israeli jelly doughnuts that are traditional for Hanukkah. But I wanted to ask her, actually, about something else that her family has made for decades and decades.

Werman: I love the name of her restaurant, Balaboosta. What does that mean?

Gallafent: Well, I'll let Einat Admony explain that, so here she is:

Einat Admony: Balaboosta mean 'perfect housewife' in Yiddish. Somebody that can get all the family around, somebody that can cook, somebody that can clean, somebody... Not necessarily. The idea of Balaboosta today is a little bit different of what Balaboosta used to be. Because today, women actually going out to work and they want a career and they want to achieve more than back then. And it's not just about the kids and the family. It's not just about the husband and how they're great cooks. It's also to juggle between everything: To juggle between your career, to juggle between raising kids and be a good wife. There is a lot more to it. It's much harder, I think, than back then.


Admony: The big balaboostas in my life was obviously my mom, which taught me everything since I was 5-6 years old, about responsibility in the kitchen. Not just how to cook but also how to arrange the things, how to clean the food. And then it was my aunt Channa who is probably around 65 by now and she lives in Israel. She have 5 kids, and many grandchildren, and she cook everyday for everybody. It's like, almost a free restaurant. It's absolutely insane. It's like, the mailman, the neighbors across... They take a plate and they just open all the lids and check whatever is today. It's such an inspiration for me.
So most of the cooking my mom used to do, she used to cook Iranian food, Iraqi food, but also Yemenite for my dad. But there is one thing - Actually, there is a few things my dad was insist cooking. One is Shakshouka, which is eggs. And the other things that he would insist that was the only one that we'll ever gonna do that is the Yemenite sauce. My Dad is from Yemen and used to love this sauce called Skhug.

Admony: Now, we have cilantro. You can keep the stems. Don't pick off the leaf. Just like, cut a little bit to help the machine. We have...

Admony: It's very green. There is also the red skhug that they don't put a lot of cilantro, but I think the cilantro makes it so great. Garlic and chili, a lot of chili, and it's kind of chunky and oily. And you can put it on everything. And my dad was so depend on that almost, in his life. He used to carry that everywhere in the country. He used to carry jars with him. And I think I remember that, one of the memories I have as a child was that, we barely ever go to restaurant, because that's something that, back then nobody in Israel - Everybody cook at home, restaurant looked like a waste of money. Why go to restaurant? But when we go, it was a very very special occasion, and I remember my parents was married back then 30 years or so, 20 something years. It was a big thing. And we went to a Kosher Chinese restaurant. And I remember we always very dressed up and very very excited. And we get to the restaurant, and I remember we ordered a Peking duck, or something like that. And I remember my dad slowly going to my Mom, Jualet, and pick up the skhug. And I was holding my head and I was like so embarassed! He opened the jar slowly, he smelled it a little bit, he take a spoon and he start spreading all around the duck. And we all look at that. I remember my sibling was like oh my god! Hope that nobody going to see it. [laughs]