"Kugels are a mainstay of festive meals in Ashkenazi Jewish [Jews of Eastern European descent] homes, particularly on the Jewish Sabbath and other Jewish holidays or at a Tish. Some Hasidic Jews believe that eating kugel on the Jewish Sabbath brings special spiritual blessings, particularly if that kugel was served on the table of a Hasidic Rebbe."
"While noodle kugel, potato kugel, and other variations are dishes served on Jewish holiday meals, matzo kugel is a common alternative served at Passover seders which is adjusted to meet passover kosher requirements."
"The name of the dish comes from the German Kugel meaning "sphere, globe, ball"; thus the Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the round, puffed-up shape of the original dishes [compare to German Gugelhupf — a type of ring-shaped cake]."
"Nowadays, however, kugels are often baked in square pans. There is a common association of this word to the Hebrew k'iygul ["as a circle"], but this is a folk etymology."
"The first kugels were made from bread and flour and were savory rather than sweet.
Savory kugel may be based on potatoes, matzah, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, spinach or cheese. About 800 years ago, cooks in Germany replaced bread mixtures with noodles or farfel. Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency which is common in today's dessert dishes."
"In Poland, Jewish homemakers added raisins, cinnamon and sweet farmer's cheese to noodle kugel recipes. In the late 19th century, Jerusalemites combined caramelized sugar and black pepper in a noodle kugel known as "Jerusalem kugel," which is a commonly served at Shabbat kiddushes and is a popular side dish served with cholent during Shabbat lunch."
|From The Settlement Cook Book|
|Noodle Kugel Recipe|
|3 cups of noodles|
1/2 inch wide
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
|3/4 cup of fat*|
[*chicken, goose, or butter fat]
Cook noodles in salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and add the fat and the eggs well beaten. Place in a well greased pudding dish and bake in a hot oven until top of the kugel is well browned. Serve hot.
Editor's note: my preference would be a variation on the Polish style kugel: add raisins and cinnamon but without cheese.
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