New York…by Menachem Lubinsk
David Zakheim began his cholent escapade as a hobby or as he puts it “a passion.” At first it was for a small select group of friends who stopped at his Woodmere home on Thursday nights to enjoy David’s “secret recipe” for great tasting cholent. When the group grew to more than 100, Zakheim, a 40-year-old insurance broker knew that he would have to take his passion to the next level. He now produces more than 200 lbs. of cholent every Thursday for sale in Mauzone in the Five Towns and for other orders (www.zcholent.com). The recently published Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks defines cholent as “a slow simmering stew, often based on beans, that is served hot for lunch (on Shabbat).” Marks places the origin to 11th century France, but explains that it really has its source in the Talmud that suggested eating “hamim” (hot food) on Shabbat day when it was impossible to warm food, according to Jewish law. Cholent underwent many evolutions in different Jewish communities, hence the variety of cholent served by Got Cholent (www.gotcholent.com), including Moroccan, Mexican, Hungarian and Polish. David’s cholent includes great meat and items like kielbasa. Thursday nights in many Jewish neighborhoods throughout the country is cholent night. In places like Kold Kuts in Flatbush and Deli 52 in Boro Park, cars can be seen lined up on Thursday nights to eat cholent along with some good kugel (potato pudding) and kishka (stuffed derma). Caterers say that the demand for cholent is so widespread that clients who otherwise plan an upscale wedding also ask for the cholent. Abraham Banda of Pomegranate has invested a great deal into making his cholent “the best tasting.” He challenges visitors to find a better version, save perhaps for zcholent.com followers who swear their cholent hero is David Zakheim.
Obviously not enough people on the east coast have tasted Rabbi Leban’s…
Rabbi Leban’s Cholent. If you would like to have a personal lesson in Cholent cooking, let us know.