Mashed potatoes/comfort food

A few days ago, I bought potatoes for the first time in several months. My son was recovering from stomach flu, or maybe food poisoning, and he was joining us for dinner.

For me – when it comes to comfort food that’s easy to digest – nothing is better than mashed potatoes. I do believe that sweet potatoes are healthier overall, as shown in this Cleveland Clinic posting, but regular potatoes also have nutritional value.

That said, I bought enough potatoes for all of us, even though my son was the only one who’d been sick.

comfort foodI also made an omelet (just eggs, salt and pepper). It was an easy meal, rounded out with boiled, mashed squash (with cinnamon! – much better than it sounds). The salad included leftover steamed broccoli, even though you can’t see it in the picture of my plate.

I think it was my favourite meal this week. And I covered all the bases – leafy greens, protein, cooked green vegetable, and cooked orange vegetable. Not to mention mashed potatoes with butter, pepper and sea salt. I added a bit of leftover sun-dried tomato and olive spread from Sunflower Kitchen to spice up my omelet. Delicious!

Easy mashed potatoes

red potatoes (because they’re easiest to clean!)

butter to taste

sea salt


1. Scrub potatoes, and peel (or leave skin on for more fibre).

2. Cut in chunks, and add to a pot of boiling water, just enough to cover the potatoes.

3. Cook partly covered about 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft enough for a paring knife to go in easily.

4. Scoop into bowl, and mash with a fork, adding butter, sea salt and pepper, and a bit of cooking water if necessary for consistency.



Baba’s Camisbroit

Once a year, for the Jewish holidays, I make my grandmother’s recipe for camisbroit (pronounced ca-MISS-broit). Outside my family, I think it’s more commonly known as roly-poly. Camisbroit is basically a cookie dough, rolled into a large rectangle, then slathered with sugar, cinnamon, jam, nuts, raisins and coconut. You roll it up from the long side, and slice it when it’s done.

For me, it’s pure comfort-slash-nostalgia food.

comisbroit ingredients

This is how my camisbroit looked before I rolled it. 

I love reading the recipe. My favourite line is “Add Crisco, and rub out,” a turn of phrase I associate with my grandmother. It’s not something you see in contemporary recipes, and even if I understood exactly what it meant, I wouldn’t follow the directions, because I prefer to use oil. But that particular instruction, along with the “1/8 glass of lukewarm water” that is listed as an ingredient, comprise part of the recipe’s charm.

I asked my mother yesterday if she knew its origins. Her best guess is that her mother got the recipe from a friend named Gertie, who was a wonderful baker.

camisbroit baked & sliced

The end result – a bit too much flour on top, but they still tasted good.

She doesn’t think it was passed down from her own grandmother. “I don’t remember her making it,” my mom told me.

The recipe is not always precise when it comes to measurements. I just add more flour until the dough is workable. This year, I made a big mess, mostly with the jam, but the end result was worth the trouble. I also used a mix of nuts – almonds, pecans and pistachios – even though my grandmother usually used almonds alone.

For a treat (before I was born), my mother recalls that Baba used to put Turkish Delight in the centre. But, for me, the recipe that follows is the most authentic.

Baba’s Camisbroit


3 eggs

Scant half-cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 lb. Crisco (or 1/4 cup oil)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 glass lukewarm water

1 cup of flour (to start)




Strawberry jam

Almonds (or other nuts)



1. Beat eggs with sugar. Add Crisco, and rub out. (Or add oil, and beat together.) Add vanilla. Add water, flour and baking powder together. (One cup of flour isn’t nearly enough.)

2. Let rest in fridge 15 minutes.

3. Roll out dough into large rectangle, not too thin.

4. Sprinkle dough generously with sugar and cinnamon. Spread jam on top, then add nuts, raisins and coconut.

5. Roll up dough from long side. Mark 1/2-inch pieces with a knife, scoring the top of the dough gently.

6. Bake at 350 F until brown. Check after 20 minutes. The camisbroit should be just starting to brown.