Thursday, May 24, 2007



It seems to me that when I lived in the States we never made a big deal out of Shavuout - which we called - in the Ashkenazi Yiddish pronounciation - Shavoois.

Although we were very "Jewish" we weren't very religious and although we knew all about all the Jewish Holidays we really only celebrated the "biggies" - Pesach, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Chanukkah. Which we also pronounced differently, by the way. Sha-voo-OHT was Sha-VOO-iss, Rosh-Ha-Shann-AH was Rosh-Ha-SHONA, Yom-Kee-PUHR was Yom-KIPPER but Channukah and Pesach remained the same.

So it wasn't until I came to live here that I began to celebrate everything - especially the holidays that have wonderful food (!) - because the whole country celebrates and it's the way of life.

Which brings us to this past week when we celebrated Shavuout. Although Marallyn's daughter-in-law invited me to her dinner (which I heard was a real winner) I had already accepted an invitation to celebrate the holiday with my cousins Dizza and Ufaz in Beit Yitzhak. And what a celebration it was. Their two daughters Daria and Dafna were there with their boyfriends, Dizza's brother and sister-in-law Amihud and Aya were there (it's a bit complicated but Dizza's brother is not my cousin although in the way of Israelis we consider ourselves family), Dizza's best friend's daughter, and two old friends of their's Nahum and Tzippi.

Dizza is a wonderful cook and the most relaxed hostess I have ever met. And besides - I love being with them all - so I really enjoyed the holiday - and although it is quite a long ride there was hardly any traffic so even the drive was fun.

I am sure you are wondering by now - what did we eat? Shavuout is the holiday when we don't eat meat - only fish and dairy - and lots of cheeses. We started with spinach soup - for which I am going to get the recipe it was that good. Then - God forbid anybody should feel hungry without meat or chicken - she made three quiches - a broccoli, an onion and a zucchini - a cheese ball with Roquefort, butter and cream cheese and rolled in walnuts which we ate with very good bread, a pasta dish of shells mixed with a Mornay sauce and bits of ham (she doesn't keep kosher) and baked in the oven (so she cheated a bit with the ham - who cares it was so good), a lettuce and tomato salad, a cabbage salad with tiny green peas and a beet salad with horseradish. And of course some good wine - which was fine with me as I was staying over and could drink without worrying about the alcohol content in my blood.

And for dessert I made two cheesecakes - one regular New York-style cheesecake and one with melted white chocolate and raspberry jam.

We talked and laughed and ate - and ate - and ate - in the way of all the Jews in Israel. And when everyone left Dizza and I sat on the patio and talked - and talked - and talked until 1:30 in the morning. And also drank some more - delicious iced plum wine which Daria brought from her Japanese cooking class.

Hope your holiday was a much fun as mine was. And as I always say - back to the diet.

Yalla, Bye.

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