An oasis in my posting desert

Things have been a bit nutty lately in the Klempner household. I’ve got a few kids home from school to entertain, and we made a bar mitzvah for our eldest. Blogging hasn’t been a priority this summer.

However, I managed to squeeze in a little writing, and the first fruit I’ve got to show for my labors is my latest piece in Tablet. It’s my first real foray into food writing. Follow this link, and you’ll find a personal essay, complete with a recipe for egg-free, vegan matzo balls.

Hope everyone else is having a great summer, too! Let me know in the comments if you try the recipe. I’d love some feedback, including any tweaks you make it that result in a fluffier product.

Ready for a little Hanukkah Hoopla?


Latkes frying. Image by Jonathunder from Wikipedia Commons .

Blogger Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson has invited me to participate in this year’s Hanukka Hoopla. To help wrap up your holiday, I’ll be sharing a Chanukah memory and a recipe in case you’re still looking for a latke fix.


My parents divorced when I was a preschooler. Mom settled down with my twin sister and me in suburban Columbia, Maryland, near her parents.

Grandma and Grandpa were about the most doting grandparents humanly imaginable. (And Grandma, at 94, ka”h still is!) While my grandmother ran a small business when I was very young, Grandpa had already retired by the time I was born. He found lots of ways to fill his time, and many of them involved keeping two little girls happy — namely, my sister and me.  Continue reading

What you got cooking? Making dessert first

So, now that the kitchen is all ready for Passover, I’m on to the cooking. The funny thing I just noticed is that I’ve finished making all the desserts, and even the charoset (also sweet), but have not cooked one main dish, side dish, kugel, soup, or salad.

Why my freezer is full of dessert:

My Passover desserts tend to freeze easily. If I make them ahead and freeze them, they’ll taste just as good. They tend to have few ingredients, and — with the exception of meringues — take very little time to prepare. Also, my kids were home on Thursday and Friday, and they get more of a kick from making granita or fudge than baking a chicken or boiling meatballs — especially if I let them lick a spoon or two.

It’s like a warm-up for the main event. If I get into the cooking groove with a few relatively painless, simple, and fun desserts, then preparing more complicated, time-consuming, and savory dishes suddenly seems more appealing.

Sometimes, in our writing, it’s good to start with the sweet stuff first.

When you’re having trouble getting motivated to write, pick something fun and easy. A poem, a short essay, a journal entry, and email, the inside of your grandmother’s birthday card. Choose the project you want to do, rather than the thing that you have to do. If time is a concern, you can always set an alarm.

Eventually, though, you’ll need to prepare the meat.

After you’ve got a few sweet little morsels under your belt, it’ll feel good to hit the main dish: that article or essay or web copy that is initially less appealing, but will bring in the paycheck.

What type of sweet morsel do you like to start your writing schedule with?