No stress in this kitchen. For Suri Messinger cooking is a time to unwind.
Kimpeturin (women who just gave birth) in one neighborhood in Boro Park look forward to Suri Messinger’s dinners, including her special Eggplant Parmesan. “It’s very different and always a hit.” A different opportunity for chesed, or perhaps a yom tov meal, might find Suri in the kitchen making pistachio crusted salmon with honey roasted potatoes. Suri is a busy mother, Pre-1A Morah, saleswoman for The Pampered Chef, and the kind of friend we all want to have around when we’re making a simcha.
“As a little girl I was always in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time sitting on the counter watching my mother cook and bake. She is an amazing cook! When I got older my mother gave me complete freedom in the kitchen. The deal was that I could do whatever I wanted—as long as I cleaned up after myself.” As a teenager she taught herself how to bake beautiful miniatures and sold them for simchas.
Today, Suri is known in her family as The Dessert Queen and enjoys making frozen and baked desserts for family and friends. Suri works out of a “tiny, tiny kitchen” which she sometimes finds limiting. Still, she manages to bang out a lot of food for such a small space. After she was married three years, Suri’s husband asked her what she wanted as an anniversary gift. Her reply? A freezer! Since then, the Messinger home is always stocked and ready. There is always a supply of molten brownies, crinkle cookies and chocolate chip cookie dough to pull out in a hurry.
“When I’ve had a tough night I find it relaxing to get into the kitchen and turn out something delicious. The more intricate the better! When I work on an elaborate, detailed dessert it releases the tensions of the day and I’ve produced something beautiful that someone will enjoy. I never stress in the kitchen.” For a recent spate of Bar Mitzvahs and charity functions, Suri made 150 tiny trifles, an array of attractive miniatures, and her special peanut butter cups mounted on sticks and tied with a bow.
Who had more fun: Suri for creating the desserts or the guests who got to eat them?
Suri’s friend Joy, says she loves Suri’s Eggplant Parmesan and the “Never Fail Salad,” as she calls it. “It’s the first thing to go at all events and occasions.” The dressing goes beyond salad, it is a staple in Suri’s house! Her husband uses it as a shmear for sandwiches and the whole family loves using it as a dip for fresh veggies.
What is it that really makes Suri a success in the kitchen and a true balabusta? “I put all my heart into my food. When I feed my family or my friends, I can make them happy. There’s no stress in my food! Only love and warmth, and it comes through.”
Cooking Hints from Suri:
Add the spices to the egg mixture when you’re breading eggplants, chicken cutlets or fish. The spices will be more evenly distributed. Crush the dry herbs with your hands before using to bring out the best flavor
Suri's Kids recommend her Rainbow Ices.
This articles was originally published in the Summer 2011 issue of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.