Faith healing.

Do not click on this link unless you want to be enraged at the stories of parents who unconscionably refuse medical treatment for their children. Dr. Harriet Hall of SBM tells the story, of, among others, the incredibly courageous Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist who quit the church after her son Mathew died of untreated bacterial meningitis. Swan then became a heroic campaigner for the rights of children to be treated even if their parents belong to faiths that prohibit “modern” medicine. She founded CHILD (Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty), which meticulously documented cases of deaths and suffering brought on by their parents’ neglect and misplaced faith.

Let me be clear: if these deluded shitwits want to end or shorten their own lives by avoiding medicine, I’ve got no problem with that. In fact, more power to them. But they DO NOT have the right to commit manslaughter.

I’d like to call for the laws that protect these monsters to be repealed, but I’m sanguine enough to know that it will never happen.

The link herein contains graphic photos, terrifying stories of unrelieved suffering, and infuriating tales of preventable deaths. Also various members of fringe sects trying to justify their homicidal actions.



Some of the best recipes of the old blog, linked for your convenience.

New York-style soft pretzels. For when I get homesick.

Pita bread.  Shockingly easy.

Chocolate cookies.

A chocolate thing that is not really brownies, not cheesecake either, but it’s awesome and impresses people to no end.

Bread for the time deprived.

Pasta with four cheeses. Fattening and delicious in the extreme.

Another simple-but-impressive breadstuff:  Foccacia.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, one of my dad’s signature recipes.

If chicken paprikash married mole poblano and had a baby, this might result.

Latkes, also known as potato pancakes.

Meringue mushrooms. For when you want to get fancy.


As long as I’m on the topic of food, let me reveal some of my not-always-logical food preferences.

Things I like cooked but not raw: Onions, tomatoes

Things I like raw but not cooked: Capsicum (bell peppers), carrots, cabbage

Things I like pureed but not whole:  Mushrooms (I like the flavor but the spongy texture bothers me)

Things I like on their own but not mixed in with other things:  Sultanas (raisins), and most other dried fruit

Things I absolutely refused to eat until an epiphany a few months ago: Offal

Things I still refuse to eat and cannot forsee any circumstances that will change that: Insects

Things I will eat if the only other choice is starving or offending someone, but I won’t be happy about it:  Seafood, spinach, brussels sprouts

Flavors that make me gag: Anise, caraway, marzipan


Maggie McNeill’s recipe post inspired me to dig up this Classic Sasha post from November 2003. More recipes to come.

For a good part of my childhood, my mother was a gourmet caterer. By herself, in the kitchen of our Upper West Side apartment,she would plan and cook meals for upper-class New Yorkers. I would help sometimes, although admittedly my assistance would more often than not be of the bowl-licking variety.

The battle of Chicken Marengo.

One of Mom’s signature dishes was chicken Marengo in a hollowed-out brioche. She used it frequently for last-minute events because she only needed to make the brioche. The chicken was prepared, sealed in portion sizes in double-Ziploc bags, and frozen (in our extra-large standing freezer, the only one in our building). All she needed to do at the last minute was grab as many portions as she needed, thaw them, and fill the brioche. Instant showstopper that never failed to impress.
Unfortunately, I got Marengo-ed out at a young age. Not only would Mom use the frozen chicken for her clients, but also for me when she was too busy to cook dinner. Unfrozen chicken Marengo became the default meal of my childhood. It wasn’t long before I point-blank refused to eat it anymore. I reacted to the mere mention of the word “Marengo” much as General Melas must have in his later years.
So why do I give you the recipe here? Well, just because I loathe it and am traumatized by it doesn’t mean it’s not good. Not to mention it’s easy to freeze and reheat.

Chicken Marengo
5 boneless chicken breasts, cut up
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste (you can use the kind in the squeezy tube)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped (optional: I don’t use them)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan or Dutch oven. Add chicken saute until golden.
2. Add onions and cook until onions are just translucent, not yet brown. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
3. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, water, wine, tomato paste, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
4. Set chicken aside. Cover with tinfoil if you plan to serve it immediately.
5. (Optional) Cook mushrooms in the same pan for 15 minutes. Add to chicken, mix thoroughly, sprinkle with parsley and serve with toast points for that authentic Napoleonic campfire touch. Or freeze. Or fill a hollowed-out brioche.

Kosher makeup.

Classic Sasha, from May 2003.

A few days ago my web-wanderings brought me to Kosherline, a website which, as the name implies, sells supplies to observant Jews to aid in keeping the Shabbat. Most of what I saw I expected, but there was one section which truly intrigued me, being a true-blue makeup buff: kosher cosmetics.
Now I’d heard of kosher lipstick because of the possibility of ingestion, but I honestly never knew that blush, foundation, eyeshadow et. al. needed to be kosher. Not only that, but there are even Halachic guidelines for makeup. Here they are, reprinted from the Kosherline website, as per Rabbi Abraham Blumenkranz:
All cosmetics used on Shabbat must be powder, so use the back of the brush to break them up into fine powder. (See #2 below)
1. Face must be dry and clean from any other makeup. Spray moisturizer spray and allow to dry.
2. When using the powder, turn the container over and use the loose powder from the cap. The powder may not be picked up with the brush from above the cake.
3. You must use a separate brush for every color so you are not blending two colors. No sponges, applicators or fingers may be used. OUR BRUSHES ARE CUSTOM MADE TO ENABLE THE BEST RESULTS.
4. You cannot blend two colors together to create a new shade.
5. You cannot use one product over another. Use the blush first and then the broken powder foundation around it.
6. You can reapply the same color with its own brush as often as you like. Spray moisturizer sprays again to moisten and set.
7. You can remove makeup with makeup remover or wash your face with the diluted cleanser only (without cotton or pre-soaked pads). Rinse off with water, dry with a paper towel, and then with a towel.

Who knew?