Icecream for breakfast

February 4, 2012 - 8:35 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Entertainment, Food, General, History and Culture, Holidays, Life 

Ben and Jerry's Israel ad for their ice cream club

According to my calendar, today was International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. I always thought that certain friends of mine down our Jerusalem block were the creators of this particular chag, LOL, but it turns out — thanks to the Facebook world — that they’re not, and many other communities worldwide celebrate the day.

In fact, when I typed ice cream for breakfast into the search bar of Facebook, dozens of posts popped up for celebrants around the globe, from Mexico, Seattle, Louisiana and Philly to Maine, Albany and Shanghai.

According to Serious Eats, all you need to do is eat ice cream, for breakfast, and on the first Saturday in February.

We’ve always celebrated on Saturday, Shabbat in our house, which is the only day that we’re all around, fairly calm and relaxed, and have the time to enjoy the wonders of ice cream for one’s first food of the day. Usually it’s a good selection of Ben & Jerry’s, sometimes with homemade ice cream as well, thanks to my nephew Natan, the artisanal ice cream connoisseur. Toppings? Not always, but it does add to the experience.

Serious Eats also adds that “the holiday was started in the 1960s in Rochester, New York by Florence Rappaport, who let her kids eat ice cream for breakfast on the first Saturday of February to make winter more bearable for them. Now this custom is done all over the world, from Minnesota to Israel to Australia.”

Turns out, there’s an official IEICFBD blog, where you can list your own celebration — there are four in Israel, including one in my own neighborhood of Talpiot (I think that one is hosted by other neighbors of ours) and one down at Kibbutz Ketura, where given the hot weather nearly year-round and a surfeit of American-born kibbutzniks, they’ve been celebrating for some 30 years.

It comes down to the fact that you just need to celebrate sometimes, and even with the upcoming holiday of Tu B’shvat, which, lord knows, offers ample opportunity for celebration, February can be a bleak month. So, if you missed it today, go for it next week. We won’t tell.

Beach cones

March 25, 2010 - 9:15 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, Environment, General, Israeliness, Life 

Let’s call this one A Tel Aviv Diary. While frolicking at the beach playground at the always-lovely Tel Aviv Port, I noticed a stand of plastic blue cones — the size of ice cream cones — on the sand. The kid from the family next to us was using a selection of cones for sand toys, and his father was using one to collect debris — i.e. cigarette butts, popsicle sticks, etc. Meanwhile, I’m looking at the stand and wondering what they’re possibly meant to provide.

As I commented that the beach was looking very clean, much more than it had in the future, this same dad commented that he thought it was looking very dirty, actually, and that the blue cones are actually supposed to be used for holding one’s cigarette butts, while sitting on the beach.

And sure enough, that’s what the sign says. Check it out for yourself. So the effort’s being made, right? Then we went to get real ice cream, but not in cones.

The Case of the Purloined Ice Cream

February 15, 2009 - 5:35 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Food, Immigrant Moments, Israeliness 

The kitchen.

Frankly, I’m a total nincompoop when it comes to cooking. I imagine that if I lived alone with no family, I’d be the take out king. Chinese one night, falafel or schwarma the next. There’s no lack of fast food these days in Jerusalem. We even have our choice of upscale sushi bars.

But I have three growing kids who need a well-balanced meal, and money for eating out every night isn’t exactly flowing like Dead Sea water. So before Jody left, she made me a two-week schedule of meals along with a detailed shopping list.

The meals on the list were pretty simple. There was macaroni and cheese, pasta with cheese, grilled cheese toasts, burritos with cheese, lasagna with (you guessed it) cheese.

Actually, there wasn’t anything on the list that didn’t involve flour and cheese, except for one night when I was supposed to make “orange soup” with sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin. But it was a long day and I had two intense deadlines that were going to take me easily past midnight. So we ordered pizza instead…with extra cheese.

All of the starch was supposed to be balanced with a nice green salad. Emphasis on the “supposed to” part. I finally got around to cutting up some veggies at the end of the first week and then only when everyone was so constipated we could barely move.

There was also what I fondly like to call the Day of Disasters. It started when 17-year-old Amir and I were putting away the groceries. A large jar of oatmeal was perched just a tad too close to the edge of the pantry.

It crashed to the ground spewing glass and oats everywhere. I thought about scooping up the flakes into a new jar but I was worried that they might be too “crunchy.”

Then when I was carrying a bottle of olive oil to the table to dress the salad, it too slipped out of my hands, landing on a dinner plate and splattering all over 10-year-old Aviv’s pants. The bottle, thankfully, didn’t break, but the plate did.

Next, we sat down to what turned out to be a highly unusual dinner. Merav, our 15-year-old vegetarian daughter was eating out at a friend’s house, so I decided to treat the boys to some meat. At the store, a bag of what looked like meat-stuffed raviolis looked tempting. And a real change – no cheese this time!

I brought it home and heated it up, just like the instructions on the package said, then served the ravioli to my little carnivores. But something just didn’t seem right about it. The meaty dumplings looked forlorn on the plates. Maybe they needed some sort of sauce?

That’s when I realized it. These were kneidelach, meant to be served in soup not on their own. Everyone chuckled, Aviv came to my defense saying they were delicious, but I felt defeated.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, here was the coup de coup de grâce (or in our case the coup de glida): The case of the ice cream. Earlier in the day, we had bought a small carton of Ben & Jerry’s butter pecan. It’s our tradition that when we buy a decadent dessert, we always take a sample as soon as we get home.

Amir was the first in. He pulled off the top. The protective seal was open. He peeked inside. A large chunk was missing. He called down to Merav’s room – had she somehow sneaked in and snagged a bite while we were still bringing up groceries from the car?

No, she said. Same question to Aviv. “There’s ice cream?” he exclaimed.

Someone apparently had opened the ice cream in the store, scooped out a large spoonful, and put it back in the freezer. Both Amir and I instantly felt sick to our stomachs. We wondered if we had been poisoned.

Clearly this all was a conspiracy, a plot hatched in some evil fiend’s mind to make us miss Jody or, when we eventually told her the story, to compel her to take pity on us, rush back from her trip and cook up a nice pot of tofu and broccoli.

Ultimately we decided not tell Jody about our fortnight of eating badly…at least not immediately. Better she enjoys her time in the States fondly thinking of us as an independent and resourceful brood rather than a collection of culinarily-challenged cranks.

And truth be told, we survived just fine. No one was rushed to the emergency room or came down with rickets.

Jody returned last night. Jet lag may delay our departure from kitchen duty another day or so, but it won’t be long before we’re back to “normal life” and the boss is in charge again.

Welcome back sweetie. We’re glad your home!

And oh yes, when you go shopping next week, don’t forget to check the ice cream!

I scream for ice cream

July 20, 2008 - 8:44 AM by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Food 

Mmmmm....Ice CreamIt’s quite common here to received a gift from your place of employment for both Passover and Rosh Hashanah. A couple of years ago my wife received 1000 NIS in gift certificates that could be used just about everywhere – Home Center, supermarket, clothing stores, electronic stores, etc. In typical Rubenstein fashion, we realized right before we were to take off for vacation that they were about to expire. Luckily we found out that they could be used at duty free in the airport. We had used half previously but figured it would be quite easy to find something we can use at the duty free electronics store. We settled on an ice cream maker, even though we figured it would spend more time on the shelf than actually being used. Thankfully this was not the case. Summer arrives, the ice cream maker comes out. Making ice cream can be an arduous process. With a little creativity and patience the payoff can be great. We try to be original with our flavors. I can get chocolate ice cream anywhere, so ice cream time for us can get quite experimental. I’ve made halvah ice cream, green tea ice cream, cinnamon ice cream, date ice cream, chai ice cream

You can see my recipe for strawberry ice cream here.

However, I’ve been humbled. Baroness Tapuzina made an incredible looking (and seasonal) Roasted Apricot and Techina Pistachio ice cream. I’ve had silan (date honey) sweetened techina as a topping but never thought to actually put in the ice cream. I’ll be tackling this recipe this weekend.


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