There is an old pessach song that we sing in the seder, it basically suggests how you should feel around this time of year:
“Simcha raba, simcha raba” – Great joy, great joy
“Aviv hegia’” – Spring has arrived
“Pessach ba!” – Passover came! Continue reading
Original Route – look at the time
Yesterday at 7:30am I joined a dear friend of mine for a one-day trip to Fresno (yes, it is in the middle of nowhere, 4 long hours from LA) to visit her children and run a few errands.
About an hour after we left Los Angeles, we reached Route 5 to discover that it was closed until noon because of snow. I didn’t understand what were they talking about. It was sunny and warm and there was no sign of snow, not even on the mountaintops. Because I was driving and Waze kept trying to take us back to the 5, we called my Googly husband to help us to find an alternate route. Google Maps said our only option is to take the 101, the coastal highway. Going back to LA wasn’t an option.
Alternative Route, half way to San Francisco
Taking the 101 would make our drive two hours longer, which is like suicide to an impatient, claustrophobic, Israeli mother. Most of the time I feel trapped when in a car for more than one hour, so I was amazed and very proud of myself for not freaking out when things didn’t go well. I was even more proud of myself for driving five hours with only two short stops, without a single panic or claustrophobia attack! When I go on road trips with my husband and kids, he does ALL the driving and I take twenty drops of Kava or Rescue Remedy. (I am happy to do all the urban driving.)
The View on The 101
My cousin Didi (Diane) is pretty lucky. Her husband, Avi, is the kind of guy who’s not only in love with good food, he also knows how to prepare it very well – especially meat. I’ve never left their house without an intense yummy sensation in my mouth. I got the same feeling when I had his mother’s stuffed onions and kube chamusta – she’s a Kurdistani Jew from Jerusalem, and a brilliant cook. Her food is to live long for. I already published a quick recipe for kale shakshuka – but Avi’s shakshuka is the real thing. He made it for us one morning while we stayed with them on our recent trip to Israel. Continue reading
Eighteen hours. That’s how long I am willing to travel to eat my mother’s food. It’s the time it takes to get from my house in Los Angeles to my mother’s house in the south of Israel. It is the food that gives me the most pleasure and comfort. It’s not just food – it’s medicine. I find it mentally and physically healing. I swear, it’s the ultimate healthy food. Always fresh and always made from scratch. Last month, after more than two years, we finally flew to Israel to visit our family and friends. We landed in Ben Gurion Airport and spent a few days in Tel Aviv before driving south to my mother’s house for the weekend. After all those years, the smell of Shabbat cookings is still the same as I remember, and the kitchen, as usual, is full of produce and pans and pots full of good things to eat. I would be lying if I said that my mother made all these beautiful dishes especially for us. Making tons of delicacies for Shabbat is a ritual, whether the kids come home or not.
One thing I am curious about is how the kids on the East Coast are going to trick-or-treat in their flooded towns. Halloween is the only reason I would want to now be in New York Lake City. I would vote for any candidate who would promise to cancel this buckets-full-of-sweets “holiday.”
I have been living in this country for fourteen years, and I still don’t get it. Sorry! I just don’t get it. I know the kids love it, and I probably would, too, if I were still a child, but, as an uptight mom – especially when it comes to what goes into my kids’ mouths and brains – I hate it. I hate the lame candies and all those cheaply made costumes. I hate being worried about them being overdosing on sugar. I’m sure there is a fascinating story behind this holiday, and I’m just an ignorant immigrant who didn’t bother all these years to get to know it.
I promised my kids to just stay out of their way tomorrow. They will be “celebrating” Halloween like every other kid in the country. Leo, my older son, specifically asked me not to offer any treats that involve dates or homemade cookies. Nobody wants to take a risk with something they aren’t familiar with. Ha! Like they know what Malto-dextrin and E-33 are! I’ll probably stay home, or drink a shot of water with 25 drops of Kava-Kava and walk around with them while they collect all that crap, most of which I will selectively throw away later that night.
In order to embrace the holiday, and to put myself in the spirit of it, I made a soup that fits perfectly for the occasion. And mostly because it’s the perfect weather for this kind of soup. I know it’s not pumpkin, but I find the butternut squash in America is much more like Israeli pumpkin in texture and flavor.
Although I have my issues with this holiday, I wish everyone else around the world, Happy Halloween!
My wolverines three years ago in NYC. Continue reading