Traveled to the formerly charming Southern City of Memphis* today. Only had four near vehicular death experiences, and saw only three wrecks. Took the back way home which had only minor can’t text and stay in my lane problems on the outskirts.

While sitting in the parking lot of a high rise building on Poplar in a decent neighborhood (Whole Foods only blocks away), saw a guy zoom into the lot, pull up in front of a large dumpster, get out, climb on the dumpster’s ledge, and look in. Apparently nothing too interesting as he departed into the neighborhood and proceeded to peep into the dumpsters at the ends of driveways. Musta been trash day.

No offense to those who live in cities but I, for one, do not know how you tolerate this. Give me back roads, farmers’ waves, and hand-painted signs alerting me to the fact that the porch swings, rockers, and picnic tables on display in your front yard are for sale any old day of the week and I’ll be happy.

*I’m glad I knew Memphis when it was such. Before the Tupperware Ladies and Mike Tyson’s pimps and whores invaded the Peabody (correctly pronounced, Pibbidy). It was a long time ago.

Recipe: Israeli Sabbath Twist

It’s poppy seeds, not salt!

This is one of the oddest breads I’ve baked. At every stage I thought it was going to be a complete disaster up until I checked it 20 minutes into baking. What a delightful surprise! The dough is the softest I can remember working with. I let it rise 30 minutes longer the first time, and 15 the second. Punching down was a dud. But man did it turn out good! Served with Traditional Shakshuka.

“This recipe won the grand prize in the 1965 yeast baking contest at the Texas State Fair.”—Mrs. Emily Luck, Dallas, Tex.


Makes 1 loaf

2 C hot water, plus an additional ¼ C water, warm
2 ½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 package active dry yeast
2 eggs, beaten slightly, plus 1 additional egg yolk, beaten
5 C unsifted flour
Poppy or sesame seeds

Pour 2 C hot water over salt, sugar, and oil. Dissolve yeast in additional warm water. When oil mixture has cooled slightly, add yeast mixture. Mix in 2 eggs and enough flour to make a light dough, and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn once to coat entire surface, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, turn out onto a floured board, divide into 3 equal parts, and roll out each part to 18×1 ½ inch thick rolls. Twist rolls into a braid, place on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise again in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350o. Brush with additional egg yolk, sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, and bake 45 minutes.