Food Friday–breaded chicken edition and other work

Like every other child of my generation I grew up watching Shake & Bake commercials on TV.  Shake & Bake seemed like magical way to make chicken, so goyish! so American!


Not surprisingly, my parents never, ever bought Shake & Bake. My parents used to make breaded fish but never breaded chicken. At some point in my early adulthood I discovered the delicacy that all other American children must have known, cornflake chicken.

Cornflake chicken is insanely easy to make. You can find the recipe on the outside of every box of cornflakes, even the generic kind. I am not going to bother to tell you how to make it.

Breaded chicken is one of those foods that little kids love. Because I shared my home with little kids for so many years it was part of the rotation of chicken variations.

Remembering the Shake & Bake commercials that aired during the Carter administration with the kids calling out the tag line with heavy ( probably fake) Southern accents at the end of the commercial “ It’s Shake & Bake and we helped!”. I used to ask my kids to help me bread the chicken parts in a bag and make them repeat the tag line in a fake Southern accent. What’s the point of having kids if they aren’t introduced to the cultural effluvia of my childhood?


So tonight it’s Shake& Bake, but no one helped.


Traditional American cookbooks have the cook dip the chicken parts in milk before breading. Clearly that isn’t the way in a kosher home.  Most traditional Jewish breading is preceded with a dip in an and egg/water mix. I didn’t feel like breaking another egg after using six in today’s challot.

I thought about what I wanted was to create a sticky surface for the crumbs. I suppose I could have just wet the chicken. Instead I drizzled a bit of olive oil on the chicken parts. The chicken gripped the crumbs. I think it worked well.


What did I use for the breading? Matza meal with a frantic blend of spices, a bit of the spicy meat rub I had bought my son as a gift, some smoked paprika, I think some turmeric and as few shakes from a schwarma spice mix.


There will be kale in some form on the dinner table and green grapes for dessert.

But I do more than just cook. I also actually do work for my clients.

I have been working on an atara and a tallit bag which will be a birthday gift  for the husband of my client.

Elizabeth is great. She’s thoughtful and interesting. I loved the process of working with her. Before we met she sent me the photo of an Indian pillow slip that she thought might work for the bag. it was beautiful. But I have learned from experience that lots of the made for export Indian textiles are beautiful but fragile. They don’t hole up to the sort of wear that a tallit and a tallit bag get.


I like that Elizabeth was willing to explore options and possibilities. We nearly had the piece designed..and then at the very last minute we re figured the whole thing out into something simpler and much more beautiful.

I painted the text for the atara.


It is now half way finished.


I pieced the outer layer of the bag.


There is text for the inside of the bag as well.


I realized that after chain stitching around these letters I gold thread that this was a mistake.

Black stitching is the way to go.


I suppose I will be listening to lots of podcasts as I work. I decided that my work method would be to work on the letters in an entirely random way, starting on a new letter as soon as the thread runs out. It will help keep my head engaged in the work.


Shabbat Shalom!


  1. This is incredible! I can't wait to see the finished product in person.


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