Thursday, September 15, 2011

A study in contrasts

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for stereotypes and generalizations. Proceed at your own risk.

As anyone who knows us in real life is aware, YZG and I are proud out-of-towners.

<background for my non-American readers> New Yorkers tend to refer to anyone living anywhere else in the US as “out-of-towners,” a label which those of us from outside the New York metropolitan area have co-opted as a badge of honor. </background>

The thing is that most people mistakenly believe that YZG’s out-of-town credentials surpass my own. (Yes, of course it’s a competition. Because whether it’s Facebook friends or bumping into people we know, just about everything here in TRLEOOB* is a competition…)

After all, YZG grew up in a much smaller Jewish community than I did, and, in fact, most New Yorkers (don’t say I didn’t warn you about those stereotypes…) would be hard-pressed to locate it on a map.

However, the truth is that when it comes to, er, out-of-townness, YZG is the equivalent of the nouveau riche - while I am an upstanding member of the landed gentry…

I mean, consider the evidence:

1) My parents, my siblings, and I are all native out-of-towners. In contrast, my in-laws are from New York, and YZG was born in Yerushalayim. Which is really special and all (even if it does mean that I can never be First Lady), but even the most dedicated New Yorker wouldn’t dare call Yerushalayim “out of town”…

2) For YZG, visiting his grandparents a”h entailed a trip to –you guessed it - New York. For me, visiting my grandparents a”h entailed a trip to a different out-of-town community…

3) YZG spent his summers in bungalow colonies and sleepaway camp. However, I’ve never even visited a bungalow colony; my camp experience was limited to working as a day camp counselor; and we spent our summers going on month-long, cross-country road trips.

And most of all:

4) YZG grew up enjoying classic New York delicacies, like chocolate bells and black and white cookies. But me? Not so much. In fact, the first time I ever heard about these desserts was when I went off to college in - okay, fine, you got me - New York…



Mini Black and White Cookies

Loosely adapted from “Spice and Spirit” (aka “the purple cookbook”) and prepared this past summer by the talented Shiputzim kids. (All together now:Kol hakavod, tza’ir bakers!”)


  • 2/3 cup oil (the kids used canola)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour

White Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBSP hot water
  • 1 TBSP oil (the kids used canola)
  • A drop or two of lemon juice

Chocolate Frosting

  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4 TBSP cocoa
  • 4 TBSP oil (the kids used canola)
  • 4 TBSP hot water (or more)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Beat oil and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. Add flour.

Form into balls (the kids chose to make relatively small ones), and place on a baking-paper-lined cookie sheet. Leave room for spreading. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes (or less, if you’re making mini cookies), and let cool.

Meanwhile, combine the white frosting ingredients in one bowl and the chocolate frosting ingredients in a second bowl.

When cookies have cooled, flip them over. Frost the flat side – one half with the white frosting and one half with the chocolate frosting.



*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog


  1. I think that you definitely win the out of town contest. But, what do I know, I'm an outoftowner, too. My husband, who is not, says out of town is out of town. Period.

  2. You know, for someone who has an anonymous blog, you sure do talk a lot about family! Maybe it's all a Mossad plot.

    My mother grew up on the West Side, but I think among Jews, growing up in Brooklyn was more in, so my father gets that badge.

    I hope you and your family will make growing up in Israel the "in" thing; no more of this townie stuff.

  3. I can't play that game, having been born in Brooklyn to parents born in Brooklyn. Then we quickly moved to Bayside, Queens, new neighborhood habitated by Jews (from Brooklyn, Bronx etc) and then a bissel further east to Great Neck from where I fled.

  4. I'm sorry, but if If YZG spent summers in a bungalow colony, he loses his out of town credentials. That is exclusively a NY experience.

  5. Dave and I are also both proud out of towners - maybe we should all start a club! As for those cookies, you can make them and still stay completely unrelated to NYC: I discovered them while we were living in Boston, in the years leading up to our aliya. There, they're referred to as Half-Moon Cookies, and man oh man are they yummy! I think I'm going to try your recipe :)

  6. Laura - My husband, who is not, says out of town is out of town. Period.
    LOL! :-)

    Leora - Maybe it's all a Mossad plot.
    No comment... ;-)

    Batya - That's okay. Even second generation New Yorkers are welcome here! :-)

    Malke - Even YZG admits that the whole bungalow colony thing does not look good for him... :-)

    Toby - I think I'm going to try your recipe
    If you do, please let me know how they come out.

  7. Mmmm... black and white cookies. I grew up just outside of New York (and by that I mean the city of course), right near Monsey, but my folks grew up as serious country bumpkins :).

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  8. Robin - I think it's funny that while the people we know from Monsey consider themselves to be New Yorkers, the people we know from NYC think of Monsey as way out in the country... :-)


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