Lots of little children have their special comforters, like a little blanket, or, a toy, or, a taste.  So it was, in a Bohemian meeting place called Tmol Shilshom, in Jerusalem,  a friend got talking to us about his special childhood comfort memory.

What is real

What is real

His mum used to make him a special drink  some evenings, in which she mixed very finely chopped nuts, honey and spices…the names of which, in English, he did not know.

IMG_0076 signboard

IMG_0074 T'mol Shil Shom Menu 2

Here, in Tmol Shilshom, he could re-live the comfort tastes of his childhood; the drink was good, almost as good as the one his mother used to make for him. He was going to order it and if we liked it,  we could order more.  With a recommendation like that, who could refuse at the very least to try this magical experience and share with him just a little of his personal memory.  I couldn’t refuse.  it was a very special gift.

T'Mol Shil Shom A reading Room with a restaurnt

TMol Shil Shom A reading Room with a cafe/ restaurant

The order was given. You could hear a lot of whipping and stirring going on in the nearby kitchen. Very soon a long heat -proof glass arrived filled with a thick creamy substance.  My friend dipped the long handled spoon in to the glass; offering it  to me, he gently said….. Taste a little… perhaps, in just the same way his mum had  once said it to him.  On top was a sprinkling of ground pistachios and almonds around which, was a fine circle of  light  brown powder.  The dessert texture was smooth, the flavours were yummy. I could distinguish the delicate flavour of cinnamon and a blend of nut flavours. He watched me closely as I hummed a long ‘mmmmmm’.  With a big smile my friend said, ‘ It is yours…you have that one, I will order another one for myself……..this is salep’.

Back in Jerusalem two years later we found our own way to TMol Shilshom, where I ordered salep, of course.  We met up with our friend a few days later and talked of our shared memory: shared, except for one detail, we were unsure about the main ingredient of it.  Maybe, by now, the little mystery had become part of the charm.  My friend took me to a small grocery store where I was shown a packet mix of salep I could buy to take home with me.  The two boxes contained two packets and each packet made two portions of dessert similar to those we had.

The main ingredient given on the box was  corn starch. Who would have thought it!


Sahleb 2

I have heard since of a very similar dessert, with a similar sound name, being made with extra fine (powdery) ground rice,

Irrespective of the variations,  I can vouch that the dessert I had was a delicious comforter . 🙂



8 thoughts on “Mmmm…YUMMY

  1. I loved this post. As you know, Jerusalem is my home town, and I couldn’t count the many times I’ve been in Tmol Shilshom. It is a fine institution in our town, being both bookstore and restaurant and cafe. The drink you speak of is unique; not because of the corn starch, but because ground orchids are included in the preparation. The restaurant book shop is named after one of the books of our favorite author, Agnon, who lived here in Jerusalem, and won the Nobel prize for literature.

    • Ground Orchids……how wonderful! Do you know what type of Orchid is used, Shimon? The description on the box, stated the contents were ‘salep flavoured’, which made me think that the ingredients were not exactly like home-made salep and that corn starch might be a commercial substitute for another ingredient.

      As you have said you smoke, we would not have accidentally bumped into you. We sat in the non-smoking side of Tmol Shilshom. It has the feel of many of the cafes you find on The Left Bank of Paris. It is a place that I would put on my itinerary for any visit to Jerusalem.

      Thank you for your comment and I am very pleased you enjoyed this post.

  2. Interesting sounding concoction. I never really had a comfort thing, half a chicken oxo in boiled water as a warm drink after walking home from school hardly counts, lol.

    • Hi Anne Marie,

      I guess, when I have finished the second box of salep, there is no reason why I shouldn’t experiment with making it. I think I have some of the ingredients in the larder, not sure I can get the right orchids though.

      Chicken soup does count as a comfort drink/food, whether it is made from a stock cube or home made from scratch. It obviously evokes memories for you.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. I do like your new-look blog home. And I love the look of that cafe. Comforting drinks, good friendship and books – what’s not to like? The Romanians make a great many ‘teas’ using the roots and leaves of different plants. The idea of having orchid in the drink reminded me of that, and also made me wonder what positive effect orchid might have on the body – as well as pleasure in drinking.

    • Thank you Gill for your comments on my site. I have been looking for a clear palette to work with. This one seems to fit the bill for the foreseeable future. I was quite taken with the fun template you are using.

      I agree, what’s not to like. Having been introduced to two interesting social elements; ensuring that the salep, (it being one of them) was produced quite thick for spoon dipping and not as a drink became de riguer. It was all about comfort memories, their taste and texture you see. Not being aware that Orchid was used in the make-up of salep, I don’t know what effect it would have had per se. It’s an interesting thought.

      Eastern Europe seems to have a knack of producing some interesting tisanes, which are definitely not tea leaf based.

  4. Sadly I cannot remember any comfort foods or drinks when I was a tot but i do remember mother had a large old pram which I used to sit in for half an hour at a time and sleeping in her bed in the morning it was always lovely and warm …told you I was weird :))

  5. Nothing weird about your lovely comfort memories Lilianann. Like you, I don’t remember comfort foods as a tot, certain activities and how they felt come to mind. It could be a sign of the times. 🙂

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