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Gastronomic Journal of Mendy Pellin

mendy pellin in the kitchen

6:03 AM (Los Angeles) - Kasha with Cheese

My 4-year-old daughter Hinda has always been very ambitious. As with most high achievers, she is an early riser. She’s got magna-tiles to build, princess costumes to wear and an Abba to wake up. Yup, she has effectively made my alarm clock obsolete.

I’m not a morning person. I spill my negel vasser, forget to take my yarmulka off in the shower, and return the cheerios to the fridge and milk to the cabinet. But a good breakfast clears my morning brain fog.

The kasha has to be made just right. Not mushy and not burnt; a rice-style texture. Once cooked, I melt pieces of American cheese on top. This dish is the perfect representation of what I try to infuse into all my projects. Old-school shtetl Judaism (kasha) packaged with a modern appeal (American cheese). Yum! My day can begin!

8:30 AM (Studio City) - Grab 1 Chocolate Oat Crunch Bar

I have one with my coffee as I meet with our makeup artist and a group of APP developers at Brand-Knew offices. No, I don’t put on makeup every morning. The artist is creating some cool photo shoot prosthetics for our new APP: JEWBELLISH METER (available for free on iOS and Android). This APP determines how Jewish you are based on complex scientific variables. The facial recognition software can see how Jewish-looking you are. Voice recognition can calculate how Jewish-sounding you are. You can also test your Jewish knowledge and thought process.

11:00 AM (Miracle Mile) – Leiber’s Aleph Beis Cookies

Back at Jewbellish headquarters (pronounced: JEW-BELL-ISH), there are casting auditions already in progress. We are casting today for our new web series of biblical comedy sketches and a satirical series called Mad Mensch. Running our casting call is veteran casting director Farrah West. This gentile loves the box of cookies I stole from my kids’ lunch closet. She wants to buy a case of them.

The biblical comedy director, Jeffrey Lampert, is a veteran filmmaker who recently came off the set of Die Hard 5 — a film where the actors are constantly fighting with Russians. The Mad Mensch director, Arnon Shorr, is a frum filmmaker who recently came off the set of Mendy’s Kitchen — a show where I constantly fight with ingredients.

1:30 PM - Smoked white fish, grape juice and ham

This lunch break is starting to get awkward. I serve everyone Bris food. There is a huge fully intact white fish next to a dozen bagels. In the Jewbellish spirit, Mr. Lampert brought a large bottle of Kedem grape juice as our sole beverage. The gentile half of our production staff felt uncomfortable eating straight out of a fish that had eyes staring at them. They respectfully ordered ham sandwiches from Subways. I get a call from my manager asking if I’m available to do a stand-up gig at a Pesach hotel. I definitely have at least five minutes of new material from this bizarre lunch.

5:30 PM (Downtown Los Angeles) - No Tomato Soup

I’m meeting with my Jewbellish partner-in-crime Jeff Rudes at his J Brand offices. His pre-dinner is a huge serving bowl of vegetable tomato soup. I’m holding my appetite for my favorite dinner waiting for me at home. We review samples of our revolutionary Jewish apparel to be released in a few months.

Then we Jewbellish. We debate all possible reactions someone can have to a matzah ball falling out of one’s soup onto the floor. (One of our questions on the Jewbellish Meter.)

7:00 PM (Los Angeles) - Pepper Steak with Couscous

It’s my favorite 5 seconds of the day. With much excitement my kids yell out their status update: Abba’s home! Then the fussy-time battle begins over who’s going to open the front door. I smell the yummy dinner my wife made: pepper steak marinated in soy sauce, sugar and oil, cooked on a bed of sautéed onions — served with a perfect balance of Israeli couscous.
At some point the battle will end and someone will let me inside my house to devour my favorite dinner. After which I’ll say shema with the kids and put them to sleep. Hinda has to wake up early tomorrow morning to ambitiously wake up Abba.

Mendy Pellin is a comedian/actor/filmmaker living in Los Angeles with his wife (Shulamis) and three kids (Hinda, 4, Yosef, 3 and Sheva, 2 months)

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As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Fall 2013 - Subscribe Now.