[Sca-cooks] Jewish Chop Suey

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 30 11:55:06 PDT 2009

On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 11:01 AM, Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>  I was fine with the recipe until I got to the "break the pot" part.
>  Do they really mean break the pot or just take the lid off?

Judith replied:
>It sounds like either dafina or a forerunner of pot pie. I would guess
>that one should break the dough seal, rather than the pot itself,
>given how wasteful it would be to break the pot. You could break it
>wrong and wind up spilling your dafina all over the counter, instead
>of merely making a nice neat crack that leaves the food intact and

Johnnae mentioned:
>  Pots were cheap enough to allow for this is the best guess.

Brighid ni Chiarain responded:
>According to Charles Perry's footnote, this is a version of adafina
>(called cholent among Ashkenazi Jews), which is left to cooked slowly
>overnight so that a hot meal can be served on the Sabbath.
>There are two other chicken recipes in that section of the cookbook
>that call for sealing the lid in place with dough.  (A chicken recipe
>in de Nola also uses a dough seal.)  After many hours of baking, the
>dough seal would turn into something hard that had to be broken open.
>And if the pot was made of clay, it might be easiest to break that.
>As Johnnae observed, clay is cheap.
>Since this recipe doesn't specify sealing the lid with dough, this is
>speculative, but it fits with what we know about cooking methods of
>the time.

Most common cookware was relatively low fire red clay, it was cheap 
and as close to "disposable" as they had in Europe and much of the 
Near and Middle East.

Many recipes in the Arabic-language corpus call for cooking in a new pot.

So breaking the pot wouldn't have been a big deal. There are a number 
of other recipes in the Arabic-language corpus that also instruct to 
break the pot of a cooked dish in order to serve.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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