Mad for hats at Junior League gala

SCENE & HEARD

Scene&heard

April 09, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

If green grass and beautiful bonnets are sure signs of spring, then the season was in full swing inside the Gaines McHale antiques store. Some 200 members and supporters of the Junior League of Baltimore had gathered for the organization's "Mad Hatter's Gala," which kicked off its "Celebrate Style! 2006" weekend.

Lots of ladies -- including party co-chairs Christi Batch and Lisa Roebuck -- chose lovely straw hats to top off their springy party outfits. And then there were those who took off on the "mad" part of the hat theme.

Heather Zahn wore a pair of pink bunny ears, while her friend Bettina Roberts sported a Sherlock Holmes hat. "I'm a federal investigator by trade, so I thought I'd stay in character," Roberts explained.

A 2-foot-long pheasant feather bobbed above the crowd, attached to the chapeau of Hilary O'Connor. And then there was the 3-foot-high feather-brimmed witch's hat atop Tricia Smith. "This was for Halloween," she said. "I thought it was fun and would stand out in a crowd."

As for the greenery, it was sprouting up all over the place. In the middle of an antiques display, a square yard of wheatgrass turf supported a display of shot glasses filled with cucumber / lime and vichyssoise soups. Elsewhere, guests plucked chicken skewers from their nests of slender chive stems.

A DRINK WITH NANCY COHEN

Eddie's exec began gourmet takeout

Nancy Cohen, "somewhere around 50," has worked in her family business, Eddie's of Roland Park, since 1981. She became president in 1990, overseeing two popular supermarkets: the original on Roland Avenue, the other on Charles Street. Cohen has two sons, ages 21 and 18, and two stepsons, 23 and 20.

What happens at Eddie's this time of year?

We start preparing for Passover about the week before. We make the matzo balls, make the chicken soup. A couple of days before, we really get going. Because we'll have between 600 and 750 orders.

For complete Passover meals?

Some people just want the sides. Some people just want the matzo balls. And some people just want the Seder plates. When you're cooking for Passover, you're cooking differently. ... You have to use certain ingredients because it is Passover -- matzo meal, no flour. You have to adhere to certain religious dietary requirements.

Do you have to have a rabbi inspect your kitchen?

No. Ours is not a kosher kitchen. We're "kosher style."

What's the most popular Passover item?

That's got to be the matzo balls and chicken soup.

Why?

Because they're great. They are great. We sold somewhere around 5,000 matzo balls last year. And that doesn't include me walking back to the kitchen all the time and eating them.

Do you have special matzo ball makers?

Yeah, we do. Misha Gilkis at the Charles Street store, and Stan Levy at the Roland Avenue store.

Is this a secret old family recipe?

It's a secret Eddie's recipe. Not a family recipe. I never saw my mother make a matzo ball.

Did you grow up getting your own Passover meals from Eddie's?

No, because we didn't have the chefs who made matzo balls when I was growing up. My mother would get them from Schleider's or Bluefeld's. They were both on Reisterstown Road.

Do you get your Passover meals from Eddie's?

Absolutely. Every year. And almost every single one of those eight days.

With Eddie's chefs making all that prepared food year round, did your kids grow up with you not having to cook much?

Oh, no. When they were little, I made all their baby food. I kept a food diary, to note every new food I introduced them to. When the boys were little, and I was busy [with the business], I thought about what would make my life easier. A chef! That's when I brought in Gourmet to Go. Because, I thought if that helped me, it would help other people.

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