COOKING UP TRADITION
One autumn morning begins with a question and a tattered cookbook.
Abby asks, “Mama, why don’t you go to church?”
Mama wants to teach her about being Jewish but:
Abby isn’t interested in going to temple, or
attending Sunday school, or
listening to a book about religion.
of Hebrew, more than the kitchen of separate meat and milk dishes. So, Mama decides to
follow the way of Abby’s teachers—learn through using the senses.
Mama pulls out an old cookbook. She had received it as a gift from her great-aunt Bernice after she completed her studies at the temple. It had been inscribed: Mazel tov!
On the sticky pages, Mama finds a recipe and together they make dessert:
Tangy orange zest,
spicy cinnamon and cloves,
and sweet sugar and honey
swim in a batter blended with butter.
Little fingers dip to taste.
A sweet cake bakes and when it's cool,
a ring of apples adorns the top, honey-drizzled,
glistening like a ruby-red crown.
Mama closes the cookbook. She serves Abby a slice—a taste of Judaism—and wishes her a Happy New Year.