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Judy Price Rosen, related by marriage to the shvester of Harvey Rosen, my anonymous tipster. And speaking of Judy Price Rosen, have you made your pledge for this year's CJA campaign?

What The Heck is A SHIT EREIN ?

by Rhonda Spivak, September 30, 2013

[Editor's note: By the end of this column I promise I will tell readers what a " Shiterein" is.)
Over this past summer, when speaking to Marsha Cowan I asked a question and received this response "It's like mixing kasha with borscht." I had never encountered this phrase before in my life and began to look into its origins. The saying is an old Yiddish expression in Jewish kitchen tradition that apparently means "it's like mixing apples and oranges."  "You don't mix kasha mit borscht." It means that buckwheat groats and beet soup do NOT go together. ( It's a real nugget of wisdom that I wanted to share with readers).
Curious about the use of the expression and my professed ignorance of it, I began asking a number of 40-55 year old Jews in the community if they had ever heard of the "thou shalt not mix kasha and borscht rule " and they hadn't.  So one day while in Gimli  this summer I decided to seek the advice of a well-known Yiddishist and cooking expert whose name I shall not divulge (except to say that she so happens to be none other than the shvester of Havey Rosen) to see if she had ever encountered the "You don't mix kasha mit borscht"  rule.  And lo and behold not even she with her formidable Yiddish vocabulary/culinary talents had encountered the expression. (However she did know that a groat is a hulled seed of a buckwheat plant as opposed to a groat (coin) or fruppence which is the traditional name of a long defunct English silver coin--leading me to write down in my notebook "Thou shalt not mix a buckwheat groat with a fruppence").  She also brought out several cookbooks with both recipes for dairy and beef borscht (needless to say that mixing dairy and beef borcht is as big a no-no as mixing kasha with borscht, if not bigger I would venture to say) but the books didn't answer my inquiry. 
She then advised that she was certainly aware of a "Do not mix kasha with mohn (mispronounced by me as "moon") rule, which means that thou shall not mix buckwheat groats with poppyseed. (In other words if you are contemplating opening up a "Kasha King Drive Thru", you'd likely want to place an order for "one large kasha, hold the mohn.”)
Harvey Rosen's shvester also informed me that it was always a good idea to mix kasha with "varnitchkes," (unless, of course, you want to keep your "varnitchkes" to yourself.) And then when I asked her to teach me a few other Yiddish kitchen words she began talking about "a "shiterein."

 Of course when I heard this term,  I asked what any self-respecting journalist would ask "WHAT THE HECK IS " A SHITEREIN? (Pronounced "Sheet-Er-ein”)

She answered, "It means you toss it all in. However you like it. You do it to taste."
Then she gave me her recipe for "Nothings." It's very easy to remember, one I will leave readers with.
There are three ingredients-"Oil, Flour and Eggs." As for the rest of the instructions, well she didn't say.

What else is there to say. All the rest is "a shiterein."

As for me after fiddling with oil, flour and eggs for about an hour or so, and putting them in and out of the oven, I came up with "kadochus"--it's the one word my mother taught me in Yiddish. It means--absolutely NOTHING!        

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.