Tonight we light the 4th candle of Chanukah. Our discussion question tonight should be fun!
As we continue to light the lights:
What four foods have been comforting to you this past year? They don’t *have* to be Chanukah food, but if that is what comes to mind, all the more perfect.
To be honest, when I am under stress, I lose my appetite, and thankfully my husband will remind me to eat and good friends will drop off food 🙂 So this is not an easy question this year for me.
Let’s Talk About Food
My mother-in-law Pearl Zimmerman z”l was a master cook. She was one of the first women to get an advanced degree at Cornell and she really knew the science of cooking.
She loved to entertain large groups of people (like the Indian delegation to the World’s Fair) and had incredible recipes that I had to quickly scribble down on scraps of paper as she recited them from memory. I still laugh at the memory of her being in the passenger seat of the car, and me in the back, straining to hear the recipe she wanted me to know.
Back in 1999, I could tell that my mother-in-law was beginning to forget some of the recipes she stored in her head. I sat down with her in our kitchen in Sammamish Washington transcribing her recipes as she spoke them out loud.
I wanted to make sure our boys were able to inherit her recipes, and those of my family, too, and thus, the idea for a “Recipes From the Heart: Family Cookbook” was born.
I put a call out to both my husband Ely’s and my side of the family for people to send me their recipes that they’d want to pass down to their own children. The recipes that they always asked for at holiday gatherings.
In addition, I requested that they share any stories about the recipes that made them special. One of Ely’s relatives had been turned away from Ellis Island back in the ’40s and Cuba let them immigrate. Bertha contributed Arroz Con Pollo to our Family Cookbook.
My father never cooked so I asked him to write up his Sunday morning routine when he’d go to Kaufman’s in Skokie, IL to get bagels and lox and pastries.
The Zimmerman Family Cookbook has been a treasure. We’ve been able to remember stories and people through their cooking. Both of our boys have well-worn copies.
My Four Comfort Foods of 2021 are:
1) Chicken Soup: Of course I love my mom’s, but I also loved Ely’s mom, Pearl’s (may both of their memories be a blessing). She added chicken feet, which make it delicious (I make Ely put them in the pot so I don’t have to touch them.) She also added parsley root, in addition to celery root. I combined those two recipes, and now our boys make “my” recipe. It never fails to bring light into my life.
2) Polenta in the Instant Pot. Ultimate comfort food, so easy to make.
3) Potato Latkes – thin and crispy. YES, there is the unfortunate oil smell that lasts for days and days – but still. I love them with applesauce and sour cream. Here’s my recipe.
4) Butternut Squash Soup. This anti-inflammatory soup by Dr. Karen Lee for the instant pot balances out the gluten-full eating I’m doing (I hope).
Now it’s YOUR turn. What are the four foods that bring you comfort and light? AND you get extra points for telling the story.
Now it’s your turn. What 4 foods have been comforting to you this year?
One candle has the power to light up the darkness. One person has the power to light up our lives.
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