| Man With a Pan |

Meet the Guys with Knives

Illustration by Lea Kron

We wanted to give our mother a break post-Yom Tov. How hard could it be with five brothers working together?

The Boys
Bloom brothers,
Cooking for 10
Cedar Hill, Far Rockaway


Six months ago, we were sitting at the Simchas Torah seudah, and my father mentioned how delicious the food was and how hard my mother had worked making Yom Tov. I started thinking about all the work and time and energy my mother had put in, and I announced, “The boys are making Shabbos this week!”

We’re mostly a boy family, so my brothers were excited at the thought. I added that the girls, if they wanted to contribute, could make dessert. The girls were like “No, we didn’t sign up for this.” I could see they were unsure of how it would turn out! My mother, for her part, was very excited at the idea. I could see my father was a little less enthusiastic, but he wanted to give my mother a break, so we were in business.

Getting Started

I like working within a specific time frame, so I knew everything had to get done at least an hour before Shabbos. We started Friday morning at around 10 a.m. I walked into the kitchen, ready to roll. My brother Yisroel was there already. I thought we would be able to do this leisurely, at our own pace, but then my mother walked in and asked, “Is there anything we can do to get things going for Shabbos? It looks like there won’t be any food this week!”

“Why don’t you go take care of all of your errands without thinking about what’s going on in the house?” I suggested diplomatically.

Once she left, somewhat reluctantly, I got everyone together and said, “Okay, listen, we have to make Shabbos happen. If anyone has something specific they want to make, they should start making it.”

We started with the Friday night seudah, since we were going to our grandparents’ for the day meal. It wasn’t hard to get everything done because everyone was eager to prepare the food that they knew how to make. Elka made the salad, which she always does. Shimon offered to make the soup, since he had mastered the recipe in his dirah. All that was left was the potato kugel, string beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry-
apple crisp, and roast chicken.

Full Speed Ahead

I started with the kugel because I knew that would take the longest. I had Yisroel peel around 20 potatoes for me, then I made the kugel based on a recipe I’d once read. Once that was in the oven, Shimon put up the soup and did his wonders over there. For the chicken, Yisroel did our classic Friday-night chicken, which is foolproof. He also made the candied sweet potatoes. The string beans got themselves done.

For Shabbos day, we’d told our grandparents that we would bring liver, eggs, cholent, and kugel. Shimon requested to make the cholent, while I did the liver, which is my go-­to snack in Eretz Yisrael.

We totally forgot about the cranberry-apple crisp until two hours before Shabbos. At that point, Ahuva made an improvised version, since we were missing some ingredients.

And we were done in plenty of time…

How It All Went Down

The idea was to give my mother a break from cooking, to see if we could pull it off, and to see how much work actually goes into making Shabbos, which I thought would be very time consuming. But if you have a plan and are organized and you have five other people help you, then it’s easy… The kugel was wonderful and the liver was delicious and the cholent was very good. It was all nicely executed by everyone!

The Mother’s Take

I was very touched by the boys’ offer to make Shabbos and had no doubt they would do a spectacular job. But when Thursday afternoon saw no movement, I tried to encourage the boys by telling them that another family we knew was doing the same thing, and they had already taken freezer inventory and had a menu planned. The boys were impressed but still lounging around.

Thursday night we went out to eat to celebrate Yisroel’s birthday. I suggested that maybe it was a good time to shop for Shabbos, which they did. Their entire list consisted of chicken liver, cholent meat, and matzah ball mix. They were fortunate that I had challah and fish prepared in advance, plus a house stocked with ingredients!

Friday morning, Shimon and Avrohom suggested that I go out to take care of anything I wanted, so I left to do various errands. When I returned a few hours later, the house smelled like Shabbos. Binyamin’s Shabbos playlist was playing from the house speakers, and the kitchen was a beehive of activity. Shimon was tasting the cholent and adjusting the seasoning, Avrohom was frying onions for his specialty liver, Yisroel was spicing the chicken, and Binyamin was at the sink, scrubbing strawberries (the most labor-intensive job!).

The potato kugel had clearly been a success, as there was little left of the first 9x13; the chicken soup was bubbling away; and the candied sweet potatoes were perfectly done! I was happily surprised that they had made our exact Shabbos seudah food, rather than experimenting with different recipes.

I was also amazed at how everyone worked together to make Shabbos with zero stress. And we all enjoyed the food that week, as it all came together beautifully. I hope they do this again!

Sister Ahuva’s Take

When Avrohom came up with the idea of making Shabbos, I didn’t think he was actually serious and that the boys would be able to pull it off, especially since they didn’t start cooking until Friday morning! (Dessert was ready by Thursday night!) But the food was really good, and it was fun that all of us kids were in the kitchen at once!

Avrohom’s Specialty Liver
  • lots of onions, sliced
  • oil
  • honey
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika

Sauté the onions in a pan with oil. As they start to caramelize, make a few circles with honey, add a touch of salt, put in at least 3 teaspoons of garlic powder, 112 teaspoons of onion powder, and a little flick of paprika, and let it all cook into the onions. Add the liver and then cook until it looks like the onions are about to burn. Then shut off the flame and let it sit until it cools. Zeh hu!

The Plan

Friday Night:

(from freezer)

Gefilte Fish

(made by sister Elka)

Chicken Soup with Gigantic Kneidlach
(made by Shimon)

Roast Chicken with Onions
(made by Yisroel)

Potato Kugel
(made by Avrohom)

Garlic String Beans

Cranberry-Apple Crisp
(made by sister Ahuva)

Strawberry Icebox Cake + Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
(made by sister Ahuva)

Shabbos Lunch:

(made by Avrohom)

Potato Kugel in Cholent
(made by Avrohom)

(made by Shimon)



(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 791)

Oops! We could not locate your form.