When I first moved out here I didn’t mind the green kiddush much, some chips and salsa, veggie sticks, guacamole and several varieties of cookies seemed alright to me – but I’ve been here a year and this is one of the true sides to living in the west. I’m sure there are shuls in LA that know how to throw a kiddush, but here in the Bay Area and several other west coast communities I have been in – they just don;t know how to do it and it truly bothers me.
Unlike many east coast communities, I have found that here on the west coast, shuls tend to have a kiddush every week. At first this seemed like a great idea, I always thought that kiddush was like an extension of davening, only you didn’t have the mechitza to block your view and you could talk without being shushed, but I finally realized that the kiddushim all sucked in these parts.
I am not going to point any fingers, but lets just say that the shuls in the west fail miserably at the ever complex art of making cholent, the only shul which had good cholent in the Bay Area is Adath Israel in San Francisco and this is due to the fact that the Rabbi makes the cholent. Based on my lunch eating experiences, it seems that the only people who even make cholent are Rabbis, maybe that proves that the only one’s who could make cholent are Rabbis? Or maybe it shows that BT’s don’t make a good cholent – proven by the simple fact that the only people who made cholent for lunch in my eating experiences so far here have been FFB’s?
Let’s move on to other key items missing at the West Coast Green Kiddush (the green kiddush transcends political and religious values and it can also be found in other small towns) I have never seen kugel here on the west coast, I used to complain a lot about heimishe foods and their brown tendencies, but here in the west, kiddush and lunches tend to be devoid of kugel.
Curiously enough, I thought of this post while driving down the Oregon coast last week a day after my brothers wedding and as I was staring at the jagged cliffs, cucumber salad popped into my head and I thought about when the last time I had cucumber salad was – I feel like this is one of those New York staples – cucumber and onion salad in a flimsy plastic bowl. I also began to think of the soggy broccoli and crasin salad and eventually settled on that really crappy pasta salad that is drenched in some general creamy Italian sauce. I thought of how bad they were – yet how much I missed them.
Not only have I not had kishke at any kiddush since moving to the west, this includes LA, Sacramento, Portland and Reno – I have not had any kishke at someone’s house. What’s up with that?
Look the green kiddush isn’t terrible, it has its highlights, but certian shuls around here should seriously hire one of the Rabbis in the shul to make the cholent. I was at a shul once up here that had three cholents and they all had no taste, it was very disappointing. I find this ever the more surprising considering the fact that people in Northern California love their food, which leads me to believe that these people just don;t take cholent cooking seriously enough, maybe they look at it as some barbaric ultra orthodox food from the shtetl which should have been left in Europe.
If you want a community with really good cholent, check out Dallas!