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15-Nov-2019

My paternal grandfather, Samuel (Shmuel) Kassen z"l, was a very religious man and a very stubborn man. He chain smoked filterless cigarettes even during meals. And like my father, who also chain smoked, he insisted that he wasn't addicted. But on Monday, Thursday and Saturday he abstained from smoking altogether since on those days the פרשה (Parashah - weekly section from the  from the Torah) is read. He fasted on every יום טוב (Holy Day), which I believe is not required but he had been raised in this tradition and even though he fled the old world, he never really left it behind....

12-Nov-2019

When I walk through the shuk I usually think about what I want I need - always garlic and always chili and always onions and always parsley and thyme and cilantro. Often I go with no idea what I am going to cook and I rely on the day's bounty. What products are calling my name - Barb, pick me - and what products look so sad that they need to be used up. 

But sometimes I food associate. I see a product and I am immediately transported to an event or a memory. And sometimes, the site of a vegetable makes me think of someone I know. When I see Jerusalem artichokes of think of my friend Marion who loves them...

8-Nov-2019

Perhaps soup is not my favorite topic but it certainly seems to crop up quite a bit. It's food - and I suppose I am guilty of talking about food all the time. In fact I think about it all the time. What am I going to eat for lunch? What are we going to eat for dinner? What' left in the house? What do I need? Why do I have to have to make 3 trips to 4 stores to find the stuff I need for some simple dish? Why was I disappointed with the food at the last dinner party...וכו 'וכו'.

Soup comes up so often because I make it so often. There are virtually no tinned soups in Israel. There are frozen soups and there are...

17-Oct-2019

I grew up in Saskatchewan. It is cold. Very cold - at least it was when I was a child. The end of August is harvest time. September is falling leaves. By October the air is brisk and Halloween costumes are more often than not, worn over winter coats. November, the wind blows harder and the snow begins. And in December the days begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4:15. January, February and March and much of April are lived indoors. It is just too bloody freezing outside for anything other than hockey and the occasional tobogganing on sunny days, It was harsh. At least  the weather was but it was not an unhappy life....

22-Sep-2019

It is nearing the end of the month of אלול (Elul) and ראש השנה (Rosh Hashanah) is fast approaching. We are meant to use this month to reflect on the previous year. The things we have done right. The things we have not done right. The hurt we have caused, intentionally and unintentionally. We are bound to acknowledge our actions and make efforts to seek forgiveness. 

For some it is a very difficult month. It is full of sadness and regret. I do feel these emotions but I also feel a great deal of relief and anticipation. The summer is over! We made it through August and a new year is about to begin. 

In the שוק (...

13-Sep-2019

I am making a mushroom and leek soup for Shabbat dinner. The leeks are bit tough but good enough for my purposes. The mushrooms are beautiful. 

I took a picture with my phone (the only camera I have) of the mushrooms and leeks sautéeing in the pot. As usual I got a great shot of the steam and it's hard to see what's in the pot. I make soup a lot - I mean a lot. Maybe two or three times a week. I can only eat so much סלט קצוץ (pronounced -salat hatzutz) - ubiquitous Israeli salad of chopped cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. But the vegetables call out to me from the tables at the  שוק (Shuk) ...touch me, buy me,...

8-Jun-2019

 It has been 5 months since I have written anything longer than a caption for a post on Facebook or Instagram. The two months of February and March I was mum and it wasn't until the end of April before I was able to share some images of nascent food prep - building a salad and making a soup. My presence more or less disappeared.

I certainly didn't plan this or even anticipate that this year would be so challenging. In January when I wrote my last post on Tu B'Shvat, my favorite holiday, I was looking forward to continuing the work on my cookbook and with Purim just around the corner, I ex...

18-Jan-2019

I love ט׳ו בשבט (Tu B'Shvat). It is the best holiday - ראש השנ הלאילנות (The New Year for Trees). 

Many, many moons ago when I was a child in Hebrew School in the dead of winter, every  ט׳ו בשבט all the students received a gift of a small brown paper bag filled with nuts and dried fruit from Israel. It was something very special and it was very exciting. פרי תמרים, תאנים, משמשים, (dates and figs and apricots). שקדים בקליפה (almonds in the shell.) And something unknown in our parts - חרוב (boxer fruit). 

I was very interested in eating it all but a little confused about whether I would like the taste...

28-Dec-2018

I arrived at Ben Gurion in the afternoon of the 17th of September, 2012.  It was 38 degrees celsius. It was also Rosh Hashanah. Not a usual day to pick for someone moving to Israel but I wasn't going to be in Shul that year and I wanted to hear the sound of the Shofar before the sunset on the first day. Odd combination of religion, tradition and family practice. My very own מנהגים (customs).

For the past six years I have been on a journey to understand where I fit in this mix, a place that is rife with customs and practices that resonate, but are not entirely familiar or entirely comfortable. I having be...

3-Dec-2018

It is hard to believe that we have lived here for six years. When we started this adventure we thought we would stay for six months, maybe a year. But as the days rolled by and one חג (holiday) followed another, the pace of the Jewish calendar seemed natural and more meaningful - סוכות (Sukkot) celebrated at the actual time of harvest, ט׳ו שבט (Tu B'Shvat - Arbor Day) celebrated when the almond trees produced their first fruit. 

Last night was the נר ראשון חנוכה (first candle of Hanukkah) or as my father used to say, erschter licht. We are having a family holiday dinner on Friday when we all celebra...

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Soup - מרק

September 13, 2019

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