No Reservations in the Ozarks

What’s with my man Anthony Bourdain taking a tour of  my former home state? I lived in Missouri for seven years, and I never picked up a shotgun, much less aimed and shot at squirrels, raccoons, and ducks. Anthony Bourdain however, did all that plus went fishing for suckers in just a few days, and looked very happy and quite at home doing so. Pretty impressive for a New Yorker. OK, I guess he didn’t actually shoot the squirrel, he just skinned it. And he never did actually hit the ‘coon. It ran up a tree, so he readily ate one that someone else shot and cooked up. Come to think of it, he didn’t shoot the ducks either. Bourdain simply showed the Ozark boys how to properly cook duck breast. At the end of the show, he did shoot the hell out of several Budweiser beer cans, and oddly enough some Heineken bottles. I don’t think I ever drank a Heineken in all my years in Missouri, and I tossed back plenty of beer.

I’m also pretty sure while living in the “Show Me State” I never ate any of the food cooked and consumed on that episode. Squirrel pot pie? Nope. Parboiled raccoon? Another nope. Fried suckers? uh-uh, although I do remember eating my first hush puppy during my orientation at Mizzou. I honestly don’t know if I’ve had duck breast, although I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it as a Missouri resident.

When I saw the promos for this Ozark episode, I thought Bourdain was going to slam a state where I have such good memories. Truth be told, I don’t have the best food memories, but it’s where I met my husband, and made life long friends. Also, the only time I spent in the Ozarks was at the lake, and that was far from the part of the state highlighted in this No Reservations episode. One thing missing in this episode that is usually front and center is Bourdain’s snark. There was very little of it.  Maybe Bourdain was still felling guilty after a writing hero of his, Daniel Woodrell, was injured while fishing for suckers with him. That also could have been why Bourdain didn’t seem to mind a woman kicking his a** at an arm wrestling tournament, and a really tiny woman at that.  Bourdain seemed to really enjoy the people and the food. Hell, the people he talked to were all pretty likeable, and they had no problem making fun of themselves.

Whenever I think I’ve figured out Bourdain and his M.O., he surprises me, and tonight he surprised me in a good way. Now I’ve got to put Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone high on my reading list.



Growing Up Jewbodian

I’m not a fan of the Hank Williams Jr. song, “family traditions,” but I am a fan of creating them for the little people in my life. Case in point, making hamantaschens with the girls. OK, truth be told, I did most of the work, but we all know it would have been a whole lot more work with the three kids. If you don’t know what a hamantaschen is, here’s a picture.

It’s a triangle shaped cookie, filled with fruit, jam, or poppy seeds. I filled mine with prunes. Looking back at this picture, mine look downright awful. It’s not just the prunes, which I think get a bad rap. Some of these actually look like part of the female anatomy. As bad as they might look, I swear they taste good. I don’t think I convinced my husband though, because he has yet to eat one, and that man eats almost everything! I don’t know if  it’s because they look like lady parts, or if he knew how much oil I used in the dough, but he’s not touching these cookies. If you don’t want to know the amount of oil, don’t click on the dough link, which includes the recipe.

The appearance of these hamantaschens didn’t deter me however, and after one bite, it brought me right back to my Grandma Ida’s home. Almost without fail, every year she would make us hamantaschens. I remember getting a couple of hamantaschen care packages while away at college. With such fond memories of her and her poppy seed hamantaschens, it seems like a good tradition to pass onto my girls. It’s much better than her Sunday dinner tradition of beef tongue… which I might add, my husband actually did eat.

My girls are lucky. My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. I’m Jewish, and he’s Cambodian, which makes our girls Jewbodian. We want them to embrace their uniqueness because really, how many Jewbodians can there be in this world? We found one of the best ways to do this is through food. It’s such a big part of our cultures, we use food as a way for them to connect to both sides of their family. So not only do they get to indulge in these delicious hamantaschens during Purim, which I did not bribe them to eat,

Erin Eating Her Hamantaschen

they also get to chow down on Grandma Meak’s homemade egg rolls when she comes to visit us, or we visit her in Missouri. That gives them the best of both food traditions. It may not be the healthiest food, but it’s definitely the tastiest, even with the prunes.