#BlogElul 26: Create

There is a description of nearly all Jewish holidays that goes like this: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.” Creating holiday-specific foods is an integral part of the tradition.

The traditional foods of Ashkenazic Jewry are foods of poverty – my grandmother would eat with relish things like chicken feet and fish heads. Her pampered descendants turn up their noses at them, living in the affluence of the West and even in Israel.

Still, there are foods that I make every year at this time – round challah bread, to symbolise the turning of the year. We eat apples and honey, and of course honey cake. Tzimmes – roasted carrots with cinnamon and honey, all as a sympathetic magic to bring on a sweet yer.

With the turning of the seasons, this is the time of year when I will start to make soup again, to make more mashed potatoes and the heavy comfort foods of fall and winter. Wine will turn from chilled white to warming red, and be drunk indoors rather than on the deck. The exception to that is Sukkot, when we eat our meals outside in a little particle-board hut that my husband and sons build on our deck every year.

It might be a stretch to talk about food when the theme is “create” – but given how much I have talked about creation under other themes, why not. I love to cook, to deviate from recipes and create the flavours that my children will associate with me and my house for as long as they live. That, too, is a kind of creation.

What kind of food do you make to create memories?

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