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A Lack of Good Taste?

April 26, 1987

I appreciate the efforts of the View section to report on a Passover seder, albeit not a typical one, but I suppose that the usual is not always considered newsworthy. I further appreciate the efforts of the host couples, Evelyn and Mo Ostin and Donnie and Joe Smith, to retain some traditional flavor at Chasen's. However the tone and some of the stereotyped remarks of your reporter, Heidi Evans, bothered me.

I was offended by her references to "overcooked vegetables" and traditional Passover food as "bland and heavy," not to mention "and such large portions, too." Also, I wonder just how many truly traditional seders "Chasen's tuxedoed manager" has attended to qualify him to say, "Sometimes it's not the tastiest food, but it's traditional." Throughout the article "traditional" seemed to have negative connotations.

I had a traditional (and kosher) seder for 26 people at our home, conducted by my husband, Rabbi Jacob Pressman, and my menu was described as gourmet by my guests. My matzo balls were light and fluffy and floated in a tasty sea of de-fatted chicken soup, the roast lamb and turkey were divine, the asparagus not overcooked, the potato kugel (pudding) delicious, the tossed salad crisp and fresh in a garlic dressing (homemade) and the desserts a "nosher's" delight, consisting of homemade brownies, meringue coconut macaroons, apple and raisin cake, and three kinds of sponge cake (chocolate chip, orange and banana). We also served selections of some of the new kosher wines including semi-dry Bordeaux, Chardonnay, Johannesburg Riesling and sparkling Italian, as well as the "traditional" red concord grape variety.

It would be my pleasure to give some of my recipes to the chef at Chasen's. And my cooking lessons are free.

MARJORIE PRESSMAN

Beverly Hills

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