Fall Writing Frenzy


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.

             Mama doesn’t know how to explain Judaism, to show her it's more than the letters

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.           


Stephanie Wildman said...

Lovely story. I was tempted by this picture too. Thinking about Aveenu malkenu and getting hung up in gendering with 200 words. But yours works. I hope you keep going with your story and develop a picture book.

Melisa Wrex said...

As a service to the other Fall Frenzy readers, you should put a recipe in the comments here. It's only right! I'm with Abby, I think I learn to appreciate things better, food, religion, family, tradition, through food.

Thank you for sharing your work with us and best of luck in the contest.
--Melisa Wrex @mowrex (Twitter)

Randi said...


Ingredients for cake:
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
3/4 t salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C honey
1 stick unsalted, butter (at room temperature)
1 t vanilla
zest of 1 orange

1/2 C powdered sugar
1 T honey
1 T milk or cream
1 T unsalted butter (melted)
1/4 t ground ginger
dash of salt

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan and line it with a strip of parchment paper for easy removal after baking.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and honey. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter, vanilla and orange zest until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and blend until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, honey, milk, melted butter, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Drizzle over warm cake.

Wanderer said...

Beautiful writing. Captures the tween/teen years perfectly. ANd thank you for the recipe.
Anjali Amit