Courier Life’s

Stan’s got nothing to hide, so here’s his secret recipe

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A couple of years ago, Glenn Beck warned us. He told us to watch out because our government is busy collecting data on us, our families, our friends and our business contacts. Those on the right curled their foreheads while the left called him all kinds of names. When he shouted, “Big Brother is watching you.” Nobody listened. Nobody cared.

The nicest thing he was called back then was a conspiracy theorist. The not-so-nice things that were said about him, my editor, fine gentleman that he is, would never permit me to print on this page.

We recently learned that Mr. Beck was correct. We are being spied upon. Yes! Big Brother is watching us. Every one of us can make a great case for both sides of the spying. Is surveillance really the trade-off for security? This question will eventually be heard by our supreme court and we will have no choice, no matter what we think, but to abide by the court’s decision.

I am not really big on eavesdropping, but if my government wants to know about my secrets, just ask me. The only real hush-hush I have ever been entrusted with is my mother’s secret recipe for cholent, the sabbath stew. It was never reduced to writing, but handed down from generation to generation by whispering it into the ears of the younger members of the family. We used to say “Hit me, beat me, and torture me. You’ll never get it out of me. Pull my finger nails out. I’m not talking.”

That was then, but now? Who cares? Just ask me and I’ll sing like a canary. In fact, I’m not even gonna’ wait for you to ask. Here! Enjoy!

Start with the least expensive cut of beef you can find. Cut it into pieces. It will be very tough but, because a cholent requires roasting for at least two months, by time you’re finished it will be tender. Add potatoes, onions, beans, more beans, and even more beans. (We called them beblach). You can use kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto, or whatever else you find in the closet, except Heinz baked heans!) A little chicken schmaltz couldn’t hurt.

No schmaltz around? Substitute some cooking oil. Not too much. We don’t want to watch the cholesterol rising on your arm like a thermometer. Season it with salt, pepper, and garlic — lots of garlic.

Please note that this recipe does not contain quantities. Jewish recipes never do. It’s always a shmeck, a leck and chitarein. If you don’t understand that, ask any little bubbie at Waldbaum’s.

Now for the secret. Shhhhh . You know the few tomatoes at the bottom of the vegetable draw in the refrigerator that are very soft? So soft that you won’t put them in your salad? For a sweeter taste, toss them in the pot along with some tomato juice. How much tomato juice? Chitarein. Now roast the mixture for at least two months. Just kidding. With the biggest leffel you can find, turn and rotate the ingredients every few hours.

I am telling you that in my home the cholent took 15 hours to cook, 20 minutes to eat, and left us with a heartburn that lasted two weeks.

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on

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Reader Feedback

Robin Hood from Bergen Beach says:
In my home my Grandma called it a CHULENT, not Cholent. She used pretty much the same recipe but added one or two sweet potatoes and a few carrots. My sisters and I woke up very early on Saturday morning for a taste. That taste always wound up being breakfast and it was wonderful.
June 24, 2013, 8:08 am
SAM THE MAN from Great Neck, N.Y. says:
It's been many years since I have tasted or even thought about a chulent. This has brought back thoughts of the wonderful aroma that filled the air of my apartment while the chulent was cooking. Thanks for the memories.
June 25, 2013, 11:30 am
Peter from Brighton Beach says:
Sad part of Big Brother watching us is that nobody in the media cares, imagine if President George W. had gone as far as our current President!!!
June 25, 2013, 12:10 pm
Dear Sam The Man,
Your home had a "wonderful aroma." I doubt it. This is a bean stew. Think Blazing Saddles.
June 25, 2013, 5:11 pm
Irv from Williamsburg says:
If you never had Chulent, you don't know what you are missing.
June 26, 2013, 2:11 pm
Merry Marilyn from Sheepshead Bay says:
OK Mr. Gershbein,
Now tell us all you know about Kreplach, Knaidlach, Kishka, Tsimmis and all of the other culinary delights you were raised on.
Really looking forward to it.
June 28, 2013, 10:41 am

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