I admit to knowing very little about kosher cooking. However, that had to change when one summer in the early 70’s, I met a gorgeous guy through mutual friends. Ephraim, from Tel Aviv, with his movie star looks was one of those who turned heads, including mine at the time. He was only visiting the states for a summer, and I never heard from him again, but we had a good time while it lasted. The early 70’s in San Francisco, where I lived at the time, was inundated with hippies, peace, and love . Ephraim was fascinated with this strange culture. He would go to Golden Gate Park just to people-watch, or in this case, hippie-watch. Nearby Sausalito also had its share of the psychedelic culture. He also thought it was cool that my neighbor down the street was none other than Janis Joplin.
So as the summer progressed, he would cook me kosher meals, and I would cook him California-style dishes, but I wanted to learn more about his culture. I found this cookbook and saw that it contained kosher recipes, even though I did not know what Hadassah meant. I made an apple noodle kugel from the book, along with hamantaschen, a honey sponge cake, and a sweet and sour brisket, all new recipes to me. One day Ephraim decided to cook some fish. I thought that meant a trip to the store, but instead it meant a trip to the ocean. He put some pieces of wood and wire in his pocket and off we went to the bay. After arriving, Ephraim pulled out the contents of his pocket and made some kind of fishing device and tossed it in the water. I couldn’t figure out what he could catch with his homemade contraption, but within a short time, something pulled on his line. He reeled it in and it was some kind of little shark. Shark! Shark! I screamed. He could have cared less about my agitation. He just calmly picked it up, looked at it, and threw it back. I have no idea what he thought was wrong with it, but I was relieved.
It was a fun experience learning about a new culture and cuisine, and it didn’t hurt that he was drop dead gorgeous. When I returned to college in the fall, I brought back pictures of him to my dorm room to show the girls, and one girl two floors down heard about them and came up to see what the fuss was all about. She took one look at him and said, “He looks better than Paul Newman in my Butch Cassidy poster.” One thing I will always remember about Ephraim is how he found some English words very funny and would repeat them over and over. I later found out he got a dog upon his return to Israel and named him “Pudding,” one of his favorite words.
At least he didn’t name him Jaws.