When Heinrich Heine Wrote a Love Song to Cholent



We all love cholent, that magical slow-cooking stew that’s usually served for Shabbat lunch. It can be made with beans, barley, meat, or whatever you have lying around the kitchen. It’s cross-cultural (Ashkenazic Jews call it “cholent;” Sephardim and Mizrahim, “hamin”) and easy to make. (Its basic recipe is: Throw a bunch of stuff in a hot pot.) And it tastes amazing.

We’re not the only ones who think so. As a matter of fact, Heinrich Heine, the celebrated 19th-century German Jewish poet, was so enamored of cholent that he wrote a paean to its reach.

Chulent is the food of Heaven,
And the recipe was given
By the Lord himself to Moses
One fine day upon Mount Sinai

Chulent is God’s bread of rapture,
It’s a kosher-type ambrosia.”

Reading the poem in its entirety (using the German word “Schalet” for cholent), Heine’s love of the food is as apparent as it is contagious. Beware, reading it might make you wish it was Saturday afternoon so you could have some. One thing you might not want to wish for: hanging out with Heine on Saturday night.

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