I spent the holiday of Shavuot this year primarily in bed. I won’t go into details but it did entail a lot of coughing and fatigue. Then on Sunday May 19 I began to be short of breath. It was an experience I had once before, in November 2011, which led to my right lung being drained in the Roosevelt Hospital emergency room. On Tuesday December 6, 2011, I was informed that I have Stage IV lung cancer. The tumors are adenocarcinoma non-small cell. The gene test came back EGFR-positive. (A type not caused by smoking.) I have the most common type of mutation L858R exon 21. Starting December 20, 2011, I have taken a pill once a day, the drug Erlotinib (Tarceva), which initially cleared up much of the lung.
So on Monday, I went to the clinic in Efrat, the doctor did an x-ray, and there was indeed fluid in the lung. I went home and packed a bag (just in case), and checked into the emergency room at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. The doctors removed more than a litre of pleural effusion from my right lung. This was the first return of any fluid since I was initially drained in Roosevelt Hospital in November 2011.
[Just a side note to Stephen Hawking and all the other anti-Israel boycotters – if science is based on empirical evidence and not the rantings and prejudices of the anti-Israel Chomskys and ilk, you would understand more about the positive treatment of Israel’s Arab minority by a day in the emergency room at Hadassah than all the misinformation spouted by the haters. The numbers of Arabs being treated (and treating) and the care received is as far from apartheid and ethnic cleansing as the purpose of the boycott is from actually helping the Arabs. Sorry, I needed to ventilate.]
The doctors let me go home Tuesday about 1:30 am and I felt poorly yesterday. Today, Wednesday, so far I feel better, but I still don’t have much of an appetite. (Which actually is a problem for a foodie.) Meanwhile, I had my latest CT-scan at Hadassah Hospital on Sunday May 12 and the results showed a little growth in the right lung, which would be suspected by the return of the pleural effusion. I have a Monday meeting with my Israeli oncologist, Professor Hovav Nechustan, of whom I think very highly, and he will discuss his recommendations, and probably a new drug.
And to make matters worse – a neighbor recently learned the flute and practices the same song all afternoon long. I am beginning to dislike the flute.
If you like having a party in your yard then installing a few loudspeakers to be able to play music is usually vital. You may not need speakers to be mounted outside of the home permanently. You can install your speakers out in the open for the short term in particular in the event that you just require your speakers during special activities for example an event. Once the celebration is done, you’ll carry the loudspeakers back in your residence. Cordless loudspeakers happen to be a good choice when you use loudspeakers outside of your dwelling just every once in a while. Of course, cordless loudspeakers don’t need to be connected via speaker cable. The speaker wire is substituted with a wireless connection. In this post, I am about to explore the use of cordless speakers outside the house.
Cordless loudspeakers, in fact, can be a terrific option for outdoors. However, there are actually a few points to keep in mind. In the event that you plan on using cordless outdoor speakers in the open air permanently then you have to carry special care while deciding upon a loudspeaker. In addition, selecting a suitable place for setting up the loudspeaker can be crucial. The loudspeaker is likely to face plenty of elements like humidity, rainfall, blowing wind and also direct sun rays. All of those elements could lead to damage to your speaker except when the loudspeaker is designed to endure those elements. Wireless speakers include fragile electronic elements inside and for that reason will be a lot more sensitive to humidity than regular speakers.
Whenever ordering an outdoor loudspeaker, be certain that you check that the speaker is tough enough to be installed forever outside the house. For instance, the control parts of your speakers for example volume knob or channel-switch buttons are covered by some water-resistant substance. That prevents any water from creeping to the inside of the loudspeaker. In addition, nearly all loudspeaker suppliers may add some protective material in places where water can easily enter your speakers for example the gap in between various parts of the speaker housing. By carrying out a visual inspection, you will be able to quickly find out if a loudspeaker possesses some of these protections.
In the event that you can not find a way to get a loudspeaker which has really good protection against rainwater and severe climate, you can easily instead buy a regular cordless loudspeaker and use it out of doors just for the short term.. Subsequently, you are going to need to take these kinds of speakers back inside right after the party. Being cordless is critical because it does away with having to run long speaker wires each time you install the loudspeakers outside the house. Because cordless speakers demand power, picking a type that uses regular batteries is recommended so as to completely eliminate cabling.
Due to the low voltage of electric batteries, battery-operated loudspeakers usually have got quite restricted wattage. When you run battery-operated wireless speakers, the battery voltage is likely to decline as the batteries are being discharged. The loudspeaker wattage is strictly related to the power supply voltage. Therefore, the speaker electrical power will decline as time passes. Having an extra set of batteries is a great idea given that once your batteries run out of power, you may simply swap them and keep utilizing the speakers. In the event that you require extra electrical power from your wireless loudspeakers, though, then attaching your speakers through an AC adapter to a mains outlet is vital.
Yesterday, I asked my 4-year old Israeli great-niece: “Which chag [holiday] is coming up?” She replied: “Chag Yerushalayim.” I was thinking of Shavuot on May 14-15, but she was right (as usual), Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) is next up on the calendar beginning at sundown on Tuesday May 7. I actually can remember when Jerusalem was divided and the Jordanians kept us away from the Old City. I can recall looking through barbed wire to catch a glimpse in the distance of the walls of the Old City. There were armed Jordanian guards at the Mandelbaum Gate and patrolling the open sectors, who would occasionally raise their weapons to mock us. It wasn’t “the good old days” before 1967 and the misnamed “occupation.” I can also remember back then the terrorist intrusions killing Jews, warnings not to touch packages left in public areas (especially toys aimed for little kids), rockets regularly landing in Kiryat Shemonah (their red glare at night) from across the Lebanese border, and, of course, they were boycotting Israel. And yet Judea and Samaria were Judenfrei. It had then and has now nothing to do with “the occupation” or “the settlements.” Netanyahu was right with his recent statement: “The conflict is not about territory. But rather the Arab’s refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.” Too many of us might take for granted now the right to visit and touch the Western Wall or tour the ancient Jewish ruins in Eir David. But it wasn’t so long ago that we were denied those basic freedoms. Happy Yom Yerushalayim!
The business of writing books today does not end with publication. At that point, authors must consistently and vigorously promote their product. (Buy my books, please! Give them as gifts! Ok, that’s today’s promotion.) In this vein, I do various public appearances, including scholar-in-residencies, cooking demos, and lectures. Even when I’m not the star attraction, I need to keep in mind promoting (tactfully) my books. Fortunately, most of these occasions entail food. (I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) So when I recently attended a special event with Art Smith, American chef (owner of 5 restaurants, Oprah’s former personal chef, and a really nice guy), as part of the American Embassy and American Consulate General in Israel, at Eucalyptus Restaurant in Jerusalem, along with owner Moshe Basson and members of Chefs for Peace (including Jewish, Muslim, and Christian chefs), I schlepped copies of two of my books, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (man, is it heavy) and Olive Trees and Honey. Having actual books also helps explain to people what I do. Whenever I started chatting with someone, I whipped out the books (those interested I also informed could purchase them in Jerusalem at Pomerantz bookstore). After the event, I was introduced to Hilary Olsin-Windecker, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs at the US embassy. I duly showed her the tomes and was startled to receive the response: “I own that book [Olive Trees and Honey]. It’s great. Now I know who you are.” If I might take a moment to kvell (Yiddish “to be delighted”) , I thoroughly enjoyed the situation. Everybody needs a little ego-stroking once in a while. And nothing strokes an author more than hearing that someone actually possesses and appreciates their work.
Here are my directions for kreplach entailing a classic egg noodle dough. If you’re in a hurry, use Chinese egg roll wrappers. Read about the history and cultural significance in Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.
Kreplach (Filled Pasta Triangles)
(About 60 dumplings)
Egg Pasta/Egg Noodle Dough
(About 1 pound/450 grams dough)
About 2¼ cups (540 ml/11.25 ounces/320 grams) all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached, or “00” flour, or a combination, measured by dip-and-sweep
3 large (5.25 ounces/150 grams) eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt (optional)
1. Sift the flour onto a pasta board (a board gives more control while incorporating the ingredients) or other flat surface (preferably wooden but not marble) and make a well in the center. Place the eggs and optional salt in the well.
2. Using the tips of your fingers or tines of a fork, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually work the flour into the eggs, always working from the sides of the flour (without breaking the walls which lets the eggs seep out) to prevent sticking, to make a firm dough that holds together (about 3 minutes).
3. Bring any remaining flour over the egg mixture to cover it and form the dough into a ball. Sift any excess flour, discarding any clumps.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5 to 10 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. (If the chilled dough becomes too firm to work, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.)
TO MAKE NOODLE DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR
1. In the bowl fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour and salt.
2. With the machine on, add the eggs through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a soft ball that cleans the sides of the bowl (about 30 seconds). If the dough is too sticky, blend in a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time; if too dry, add a little water, ½ teaspoon at a time.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
(About 2 cups/480 ml)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil or schmaltz
1 pound (455 grams/2 cups/480 ml) ground beef
1 small yellow onion, minced (½ cup/120 ml/2 ounces/60 grams)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley or basil (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, onion, and garlic and sauté until the meat loses its pink coloring. Drain off the fat. Add the seasonings. Let cool. Stir in the egg.
Substitute 2 cups (500 ml) ground cooked roast beef for the raw ground beef and add the onion sautéed in the oil until soft.
Liver Filling: Substitute 1 pound (455 grams) chopped broiled liver for the ground beef.
Curried Beef Filling: Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) curry powder, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce, and 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) granulated sugar.
Chicken Filling/Turkey Filling
(About 2½ cups/600 ml)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, minced (½ cup/120 ml/2 ounces/60 grams)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (455 grams/2 cups/480 ml) ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg white or yolk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground black pepper
¼ to ½ cup (60 to 120 ml) plain fresh bread crumbs (optional)
6 to 7 fresh sage leaves, chopped (optional)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft (5 to 10 minutes). Add the chicken and sauté until the color changes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool.
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Don’t make it too thin or the filling will come through. Cut into 3-inch squares. Place about 2 teaspoons (10 ml) desired filling in the center of each square.
2. Brush the edges with egg white and fold over to form triangle, pressing the edges together over the filling, pressing out any air. Pinch the edges or press with the tines of a fork to seal. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let stand for 1 hour. (After forming, kreplach can be placed on baking sheets, frozen and stored in plastic bags in freezer. Do not thaw the frozen kreplach but add an extra 5 minutes to cooking time.)
3. In several batches, drop the kreplach in a large pot of boiling salted water. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally with a spoon to prevent sticking, until the kreplach rise to the surface and are tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
4. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. If desired, serve in soup, fry, or top with butter, sugar, sour cream or fruit sauce. If desired, add sweet kreplach to bread crumb topping.
Fried Kreplach: Fry the cooked kreplach in hot oil until golden (2 to 3 minutes) and drain on paper towels.
Fruit Kreplach: Use about 2 cups (480 ml) preserves or berries for filling. If the fruit filling is runny, stir in a little bread crumbs.
Varenikis (Ashkenazic Filled Pasta Rounds): Cut pasta into rounds instead of squares. These are usually filled with a fruit or sweet cheese filling. (NOTE – In some communities, varenikis refers to fruit-filled half-moons made from 3-inch pasta rounds.)
Bread Crumb Topping:
¼ cup (½ stick/2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter or olive oil
½ cup (120 ml) fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly browned. Stir in the sugar and remove from the heat.
2. Roll the hot cooked cheese kreplach in the bread crumbs. Fry, stirring, until the crumbs are browned (4 to 5 minutes).
Part of my work is putting puzzle pieces together to figure out the history of various foods. In my next book, American Cakes, a history of America through its cakes, I have been searching for a particular book for my entry for carrot cake. Most sources contend that the first record of carrot cake was in The 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book by a woman’s club from Wichita, Kansas (1929). (Many ‘expert’ sources for other cakes have proven very wrong.) And I have found records for carrot cake dating back to 1897, although they are German-style tortes made with ground almonds and potato starch and without flour and lightened with beaten eggs. (You know the type from Passover.) But still, The 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book could be the earliest record for a chemically-leavened flour-based carrot cake. For years, I was unable to view a copy of 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book or even a copy of the recipe to verify this. I know this might sound trivial (or obsessive), but I try to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible. Finally two weeks ago, I spotted an admittedly worn copy of the elusive book on AbeBooks for only $10 plus $3 for shipping. Since I’m currently in Israel, I had it shipped to my sister in Brooklyn. It arrived and I can at last confirm the missing link – it is the earliest carrot cake I can verify containing baking soda and flour, integral for modern carrot cakes (but no oil or eggs, those show up in the 1960s). Without leavening, it is just a pudding. (You’ll have to wait for the publication of American Cakes to see the entire history of carrot cake and hundreds of other cakes.) I don’t know what people did before the internet. (Yes, I know, they actually had to go to libraries and book stores and search book by book and page by page, and the internet makes it so much easier.) Thank you, Google.
How many have you tried?
(Check out Encyclopedia of Jewish Food for information and insights.)
Do you have other suggestions?
1. Agristada (Sephardic Egg-Lemon Sauce)
2. Ajlouk (Tunisian Vegetable Relish)
3. Ajvar (Balkan Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Relish)
4. Almodrote (Sephardic Eggplant and Cheese Casserole)
5. Aloo Makalla (Calcutta Fried Whole Potatoes)
6. Ambah (Pickled Unripe Mango)
7. Aranygaluska (Hungarian “Golden Dumpling” Cinnamon Coffee Cake)
8. Aufschnitz (German Cold Cuts)
9. Baba Ghanouj (Middle Eastern Mashed Eggplant Salad)
10. Babka (Chocolate or Cinnamon)
11. Bachsh (Bukharan Green Rice)
12. Bagels and Lox
16. Borekas (Pastry Turnover)
18. Boyo (Sephardic Cheese Pastries)
19. Brik (Tunisian Potato-filled Pastry)
20. Brinza/Bryndza (Creamy Feta Cheese)
22. Budino (Italian Pudding)
23. Bulema (Sephardic Cheese Coil)
24. Burag (Iraqi Filled Phyllo Square)
25. Cabbage, Stuffed
27. Carrot Cake
28. Challah (Egg or Water)
29. Charoset (Apple, Date, or Others)
31. Chelou (Persian Crusty Rice)
32. Chicken Soup
33. Cholent or Hamin (Sabbath Stew)
34. Choucroute Garnie
35. Chrain (Horseradish)
36. Chremslach (Ashkenazic Matzah Pancakes)
37. Corned Beef
38. Couscous (and/or Israeli Couscous, which is different)
39. Delkel (Hungarian Buns)
40. Dimlama (Bukharan Vegetable and Fruit Stew)
41. Dobostorte (Seven Layer Cake)
42. Dolma (Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables)
43. Edjeh (Middle Eastern Omelets)
44. Egg Cream
46. Faludeh (Persian Rice Noodle Sorbet)
48. Fatoot (Yemenite Meat Soup with Bread)
49. Fesenjan (Persian Chicken with Pomegranates and Walnuts)
50. Fidellos (Sephardic Noodles)
53. Fritada (Sephardic Egg Casserole)
54. Ful Medames (Egyptian Slow-Simmered Fava Beans)
55. Gefilte Fish
56. Gevina Levana (Israeli White Cheese)
57. Ghondi (Iraqi Dumplings)
58. Gogel Mogel (Ashkenazic Raw Egg Drink)
59. Grape Leaves, Stuffed
60. Gribenes (Ashkenazic Cracklings)
61. Gruenkern (German Green Wheat)
62. Gundi (Persian Dumplings)
63. Hadgi Badah (Iraqi Cardamom-Almond Cookies)
64. Halavah (Sesame, Semolina, or Indian Carrot)
66. Haminados (Sephardic Roasted Eggs)
67. Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup)
68. Harisa (Middle Eastern Sabbath Porridge)
69. Helzel (Ashkenazic Stuffed Necks)
70. Herring (Pickled or otherwise)
71. Hilbeh (Yemenite Fenugreek Relish)
72. H’raimi (Libyan Spicy Fish)
74. Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)
75. Jachnun (Yemenite Flaky Rolls)
76. Kaak (Middle Eastern Pastry Rings)
77. Kadayif (Middle Eastern Shredded Wheat Pastry)
78. Kakosh (Hungarian Chocolate Roll)
79. Karnatzlach (Romanian Beef Patties)
80. Kasha Varnishkes (Ashkenazic Buckwheat Groats with Noodles)
81. Kebab (Middle Eastern Ground Meat Patties)
82. Kefte (Sephardic Patties)
83. Khachapuri (Georgian Filled Bread)
84. Khboz (Moroccan Anise Bread)
85. Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)
86. Khoresh (Persian Stews)
87. Kibbeh (Middle Eastern Fried Filled Torpedoes)
88. Kichel (Ashkenazic Egg Cookies)
89. Kimochdun (Afghanistan Fruit-and-Nut Flatbread)
90. Kindli (Central European Filled Yeast Pastries)
91. Kishke (Ashkenazic Stuffed Derma)
92. Knedliky (Czech Dumplings)
94. Kolach (Czech Filled Yeast Cakes)
95. Kreplach (Eastern European Filled Pasta)
96. Krupnik (Polish Barley Soup)
97. Kubaneh (Yemenite Sabbath Bread)
98. Kubbeh (Iraqi and Kurdish Filled Dumplings)
99. Kuchen (Ashkenazic Cakes)
100. Kugel (Ashkenazic Baked Puddings, including Noodle, Potato, and Rice)
101. Kugelhopf (Alsatian Yeast Cake)
102. Kuku (Persian Omelet)
103. Labaneh/Labni (Middle Eastern Yogurt Cheese)
104. Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup)
105. Laffa (Iraqi Flat Bread)
106. Lagman (Bukharan Lamb, Vegetable, and Noodle Soup)
107. Lahmajin (Syrian Open-Faced Meat Pies)
108. Lahuh (Yemenite Pancake Bread)
109. Latke (Ashkenazic Pancake, notably potato)
110. Lavash (Caucasian Flat Bread)
112. Lekach (Ashkenazic Honey Cake)
113. Lekvar (Ashkenazic Fruit Butter)
114. Ma’amoul (Middle Eastern Filled Cookies)
116. Mafrum (Libyan Eggplant “Sandwiches”)
117. Mahmoosa (Calcutta Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes)
118. Makosh (Hungarian Poppy Seed Roll)
119. Malabi (Israeli Cornstarch Pudding)
120. Malai (Romanian Corn Bread)
121. Malida (Bombay Sweet Rice Flakes)
122. Mamaliga (Romanian Cornmeal Mush)
123. Mandelbrot (Ashkenazic Almond Bread)
124. Mandlen (Ashkenazic Soup Nuts)
125. Manti (Bukharan Steamed Filled Pasta)
126. Marmorkuchen (German Spice Marble Cake)
127. Matbucha (Moroccan Cooked Tomato and Pepper Salad)
129. Matza Balls
130. Matza Brie (or Matza Kugel, Matza Pizza, etc.)
131. Melawah (Yemenite Flaky Bread)
132. Melokhia (Egyptian Green Soup)
133. Me’orav Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Mixed Grill)
134. Mina (Sephardic Pie)
135. M’kuli (Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives)
136. Mufleta (Moroccan Yeast Pancakes)
137. Muhammara (Syrian Red Bell Pepper Relish)
138. Mujaddara (Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils)
139. Palacsinta (Hungarian Crepes)
140. Paprikás (Hungarian Paprika Stew)
141. Pastida (Double-Crust Pie)
142. Pastelle (Sephardic Miniature Pie)
143. Pastilla (Moroccan “Pigeon” Pie)
145. Patsas (Greek Foot Soup)
146. Pepitada (Greek Melon Seed ‘Milk’)
147. Peshkado Frito (Sephardic Pan-Fried Fish Fillets)
148. Pickles (Full and Half Sours)
149. Pirogen (Polish Potato-Filled Pasta)
151. Pkhali (Georgian Vegetable Pâté)
152. Pletzl (Ashkenazic Flat Bread)
153. Plov (Bukharan Rice Pilaf)
154. Pogácsa (Hungarian Scone)
155. Potatonik (Polish Potato Kugel Bread)
156. P’tcha (Ashkenazic Calf’s Foot Gelatin)
158. Rahat Lokum (Turkish Delight)
159. Raricha (Moroccan Unbaked Flourless Coconut Cookies)
160. Regel (Yemenite Foot Soup)
161. Rosl (Ashkenazic Fermented Beets)
162. Rugelach (Ashkenazic Cookie Crescents)
163. Rye Bread
164. Sabich (Iraqi Eggplant Sandwich)
165. Sachlav (Orchid root Beverage)
166. Salade Russe (Russian Cooked Vegetable Salad)
167. Salami (Italian Goose, but Beef is acceptable)
168. Sambusak (Middle Eastern Turnovers)
169. Samsa (Bukharan Fried Turnovers)
170. Satsivi (Georgian Poached Poultry in Walnut Sauce)
171. Schav (Eastern European Sorrel Soup)
173. Schnecken (German Cinnamon Rolls)
175. S’chug (Yemenite Chili Paste)
176. Shakshuka (Israeli Tomato Stew with Eggs)
177. Shawarma (Middle Eastern Roast Lamb)
178. Shlishkes (Hungarian Potato Dumplings)
179. Sponge Cake
181. Sufganiyah (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)
182. Sutlach (Middle Eastern Rice Flour Pudding)
183. Tabbouleh (Lebanese Parsley and Bulgur Salad)
184. Tabyett (Iraqi Chicken and Rice)
185. Tagine (Moroccan Stew)
186. Taramasalata (Greek Fish Roe Dip)
187. Tarator (Turkish Yogurt and Cucumber Salad)
188. Teiglach (Ashkenazic Honey Dough Balls)
189. Tishpishti (Middle Eastern Semolina Cake)
190. Topfenknodel (Austrian Cheese Dumpling)
191. Travados (Middle Eastern Pastry Horns)
192. Turshi (Middle Eastern Pickles)
193. Tzimmes (Ashkenazic Sweetened Stewed Root Vegetables)
194. Wot (Ethiopian Stew)
195. Za’atar (Middle Eastern Hyssop)
196. Zaban (Moroccan Nougat)
197. Zalabiya (Middle Eastern Funnel Cake)
198. Zemel/Zeml (Central European Split Rolls)
199. Zimtkuchen (Alsatian Cinnamon Cookies)
200. Zwetschgenkuchen (German Plum Tart)
It has been a rough couple of months. I began taking Tarceva on Tuesday December 20, once a day, and I have been experiencing some of the common side effects, including fatigue, upset stomach, skin sensitivity, and a rash. I understand that the rash is a sign that the drug is actually working, so I can’t complain too much. I have checked with a variety of top lung doctors, including Sloan Kettering and Dana Farber, and they are all in consensus that my present course, taking Tarceva for as long as it is effective, is the preferable one for my condition. Every person reacts differently. This is not a curative therapy, however. Many people eventually develop resistance to this drug. Hopefully by that time there will be alternatives to Tarceva.
On March 7, the doctors did a ct scan to check my lung in detail to compare with a previous ct scans of 11/17/2011 and 11/22/2011. The results revealed some shrinkage:
“Chest: The previously identified 16 x 15 mm lobulated, speculated mass in the posterior subapical right upper lobe has decreased in size, now measuring approximately 8 x 9 mm (image 21) at its most prominent point. Additionally, the superior portion of this lobulated mass, which previously measured approximately 19 x 7 mm, has also decreased in size and now measures approximately 14 x 7 mm. The previously described subpleural/pleural nodules prominent in the right major and minor fissures have also regressed significantly, and now appear as subtle faint lines. The previously noted 2 mm subpleural nodule in the peripheral right middle lobe has also regressed to a small linear area, which now likely represents an area of scarring.
There is a small, residual right pleural effusion. There is also a small calcified granuloma in the peripheral right lower lobe. The previously described 11 x 11 mm right extrapleural nodule seen at the level of T4/T5, lateral to the neural foramen, is again identified not significantly changed from the prior study. The other multiple, small nodule in the extrapleural fat are less apparent and linear, and likely represent small vascular structures.
Impression: Interval decrease in size of the lobulated, spiculated posterior subapical right upper lobe mass from approximately 16 x 15 mm to 8 x 9 mm.
Interval regression of right subpleural and pleural fissural nodules.
Small right pleural effusion
No significant change in 11 x 11 mm nodule in the right extrapleural fat. As described previously, this may represent metastatic disease versus a neural sheath tumor/schwannoma.”
Hopefully, the next ct scan will reveal further shrinkage.
Meanwhile, I have been rather busy with speaking engagements and working on my next book. I will be heading for Israel on March 20 for a month, then it’s on to Limmud Philadelphia at the end of April and a rather busy speaking schedule in May and June. And, of course, more Tarceva.
Again, I would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers on my behalf.
In the little more than a year since the publication of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, my book was received an array of acknowledgments and honors. A new one, and one of which I am particularly proud, is EJF’s inclusion in Saveur Magazine’s 100, The New Classics. Check out page 22 of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue. The citation ends, “Whatever topic we’re researching, whether it relates to Jewish food or not, we always find what we’re looking for inside.” Which was precisely my intent. Thanks Saveur.
On Tuesday December 6, I was informed that I have Stage IV lung cancer. The tumors are adenocarcinoma non-small cell. The gene test came back EGFR-positive. (A type not caused by smoking.) Consequently, instead of intravenous chemo, I take a pill once a day, the drug Erlotinib (Tarceva). It has much less serious side effects than intravenous chemo.
I plan to continue working as much as possible. (I already have a host of speaking engagements lined up for February, March, and May.) I also plan to remain as active as possible. (I have walked at least 2 miles a day since leaving the hospital.) And I intend to spend Passover in Israel again.
I want to thank those of you who sent their well-wishes and prayers. It means a lot to me. I need to thank my friends Sheilah Kaufman, Miriam Rubin, Shelley Frier List, and others for all their efforts on my behalf. In particular, I would like to thank the office of my congressman Jerrold Nadler, and especially Ellen Wallach, for helping me with a complication with insurance and an uncaring and unresponsive bureaucracy. Their assistance and reassurance was most welcomed at this problematic time, and restored my faith in government.