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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Sunday - Mom and sad news

Like many people, my relationship with my mother is good but problematic - problem being that I turn into a whiny 16 year old around her. This is even *less* pretty on a 40 year old. So I don't call or see her often enough.

Last Wednesday I realized I'd made a beef stew more or less according to her recipe, so I called her up to tell her, and while I was talking, and to my surprise, I asked her to come visit us on Sunday, and she accepted.

I never ask her to do that. But the public rooms are in decent shape and, well, why not? And, instead of going out to lunch as we normally do, I cooked. I made quiche.

Quiche is amazingly easy, especially if you buy the pie crusts, which I do. My hands are small, but strong - made for kneading and chopping and beating, not for rolling out pastry dough. They flatten pastry dough. So, I buy the crusts. Then you make a mixture of milk and eggs - about a cup and half for four eggs. I have to say, I didn't measure at all. I beat four eggs and poured in what looked like enough milk and mixed them. It's really hard to mess that up, and I didn't.

The first quiche was onion and cheddar. I cooked the onions in a mixture of butter and olive oil. I almost never cook with butter - the onions smelled divine. When they were soft and sweet, I piled them in one of the pie crusts and covered them with grated cheddar cheese, and then poured the custard over them until about 1/4" from the top, and mixed it a little to make sure it was distributed evenly, and slid it into the 350 oven. The second was to be spinach and swiss, but it turned out I had no spinach. So, it was just swiss cheese, cut into strips (couldn't find a block in the supermarket) and the custard, with a pinch or so of allspice. I had to make more custard, so I mixed an egg with more milk. At that point, I really wished I'd had Bac-O's to make a mock Lorraine.

And I made a salad out of spring greens, grape tomatoes and a fast dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and oregano.

Yes, this lunch called for a glass of white wine, but my mother doesn't like wine, so we had selzer. And we finished with coffee with real milk in it.

And we chatted and it was lovely. I showed her my fancy new cookbook and my husband surfed eBay for a new Settlement Cookbook to replace the one she'd lost in the fire. He didn't find one (or, rather, he found several, but not the year she wanted) but he did find her a mah jong set, and she's been wanting one of those for years and years, since her last one was destroyed in a flooded basement. So he bought it and it'll be sent directly to her house. And she left so she could get home before dark.

And I behaved like a grown-up the entire time.

However, the day had a sad ending.

Soc.culture.jewish was always a highly contentious newsgroup. Not only did it have the normal spam and the weirdos attracted by the name, and the occasional missionary (those never lasted long), but the normal posters were a loud and argumentative bunch, with the constant OCR (Orthodox/Conservative/Reform) wars - major hotheads on all sides, plus the admixture of atheists to add spice to all of it.

Later on, a moderated group was formed, which took care of the spam and the weirdos and the missionaries, and toned down the wars, but didn't stop them.

And through all of that, there was one man who was respected on all sides and by everyone. He diffused arguments with humor or with knowlege and always with gentleness. I think only one man managed to make him angry, and he was universally despised for it.

Occasionally, he'd disappear to go to Israel, and then he'd be missed and he'd return with a new name in the space in his .sig reserved for grandchildren.

And when I came down with chicken pox, he called me from Baltimore. We'd never met in person, you understand, but he called me because I was ill - an act of kindness I will never forget.

When *he* became ill, he asked for psalms to be said, and I believe everyone, from the most right wing Chasid to the most ardent atheist, complied because losing him was unthinkable. And it worked for a time - he went into remission. He added more names to the .sig. When someone else became ill, he called that person daily to give him strength, even as his own battle began again.

He died this past Saturday, and I'm crying even as I write this. The world is a much poorer place now, except as he left a lasting legacy in the form of his children and his students (he was a math oops, sorry. Psychology. Thank you, zsero. professor) and in the memories of those of us who met him one way or another.

May the memory of a tzaddik be for a blessing.


(he was a math professor)
Psychology. Professor of Psychology and Director of the Undergraduate Program, University of Maryland Baltimore County,
An Honors University in Maryland.

Professor Schimoff?

Thanks for saying- UMBC doesn't have anything up yet, but i'm sure when classes start tomorow Dr. Pitts will mention it, since most of us will have had him for intro or learning. I need an icon for crying. Thank you.

Baruch dayan emet. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

you knew him too? it's a very small world. i went ot the school he taught at. i never met him or had him, but i am friends with his daughter in law and son. i have heard NOTHING negative about him, even from the students, which says a lot.


I had him for psych of learning with Catania. People were worried last semester, because he was apparently having trouble in lecture(per his intro students). I have heard a few students complain, but a complaint along the lines of "I have to think in his class" from one of the psych fluff majors is really more of a compliment. He was of my favorite professors and a really great lecturer.


Re: sad

i never hadhim. i know he was close to catania. supposedly nobody likes catania, but i feel sorry for him bc he lost his friend :(

Re: sad

I liked Catania- he wrote the learning text book too... They double taught the Learning class- best. class. ever. They were/are both such great lectuers, and they worked really well together-it must be really hard for Catania.

Re: Quiche

I love making quiche because it's so simple. But I've struggled with finding a recipe that works if I make it pareve. Do you have any suggestions?

Re: Quiche

I've made a pareve quiche-like-object using flaked (canned) tuna instead of cheese, and soy milk instead of milk, plus whatever veggies/herbs (dill works particularly well).

Re: Quiche

yeah, it's really replacing the milk that I've struggled with. Generally I don't find that soy milk works well when you have to cook it. But it works okay for you in quiche?

Re: Quiche

I haven't had any problems replacing milk with soy milk in pretty much any recipe; what problems have you had with it?

With the quiche I don't know exactly what proportions I use (whether it's less or more than regular milk), since I just add some until it 'looks right'.

Re: Quiche

what problems have you had with it?

Usually it's a consistency problem.

And not to worry about proportions... I do the same thing. I like to think of recipes as "suggestions" rather than rules.

Re: Quiche

Consistency... I'm trying to remember if I had any issues with consistency. I've made a chocolate cake that comes out rather squidgy in the middle, but my friends seem to like it that way (and since there aren't any eggs, no undercooked-egg concerns). Other than that, nothing much comes to mind.

I wonder why we've had such different experiences with it.

Re: Quiche

It could be my oven. My oven is evil.

Or it could be that we're using different brands of soy milk. What kind are you using?

Re: Quiche

Er, the kosher brand that Trader Joe's carries (but not their house brand, if they have one). West Soy, I think?

Re: Quiche

Or it could be that soy milk tends to be lower-fat than regular milk, and quiche really works best made with whole-milk or cream. I have struggled with baking vegan since I acquired a vegan housemate, and what I've found is that if I add some extra oil to make up for the missing fat, things turn out *much* better.

So that might help as well. :)

Re: Quiche

I didn't think of that. Good suggestion!

I am sorry to hear about your friend.

Baruch dayan emet.

I am sad to hear about your friend.

I am glad you had a good time with your mother.

Peace to you, Deb.

Baruch dayan emet.

I am so sorry to hear this! I haven't read Usenet in a while, but he was one of the people whose posts I always read, and I have fond memories of his email talmud-study list. He was a wonderful person, and the world is poorer for his absence.

(I was initially thrown by the math bit, thinking that there was only one person who could fit that profile and he wasn't a math professor, but I see this has been clarified in comments.)

May he rest in peace.

For without him, your corner of the world would not have been brighter!