Sep 17 2014
Apparently 2014 is a good year for bar mitzvah boys.
Earlier this year, 12-year-old Josh Orlian wowed and/or horrified audiences with his verrry dirty comedy routine on “America’s Got Talent.” Then viral bar mitzvah boy Sam Horowitz resurfaced with his very own fashion web series. And now, in time for the High Holidays, we meet Eitan Bernath, of Teaneck, NJ, the new star of the Food Network’s show “Chopped.” On September 30, the show is airing its first-ever teen episode, featuring contestants in fifth and sixth grade.
The young chef–a student at Yavneh Academy is Paramus–sports his kippah throughout the show and even had to consult his rabbi before cooking non-kosher dishes. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 10 2014
My 4.5-year-old has been jumping the baby gate at the top of our stairs before we are awake to sneak into the kitchen and eat treats. He has his fill and creeps back upstairs. Last week he used a stool to get in the freezer and eat ice cream sandwiches; we later found a half-eaten 16 oz. bag of marshmallows in his bed and some baking chocolate under his pillow.
But one thing agile, sneaky 4-year-olds don’t do well is cover their tracks. One morning I came downstairs to find that my son had used a GRILLING SPATULA to serve himself a piece of his little brother’s birthday cake onto a plate. There was a dirty plate and fork on the counter (because if you are going to sneak cake you MUST serve it to yourself on a plate and use a fork like a sophisticated criminal), an open Tupperware with sugar cookie crumb-trails and a half-eaten nectarine. He looked at me innocently and asked, “What’s for breakfast?”
My blood was boiling. Lying and sneakiness makes me bananapants crazy. But lectures, warnings, and punishment have gotten me nowhere (don’t even get me started about the positive parenting sticker chart and the bazillion “good behavior prizes” rotting in our closet). All I could think to myself was, “I give up.” And then I thought, GIVE UP. Just GIVE UP. And I replied, “You’re in luck! I know how much you like to eat treats so today you are having cake for breakfast!” Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 5 2014
Foodies, this one is for you.
We are giving away this lovely assortment of cookies from gourmet, dairy-free, kosher cookie maker Nomoo Cookie Company.
Made from high-quality, natural ingredients, the flavors included are ALMOND OY!, CHOCO-LIFT, OAT RAGEOUS ONE, and SUGAH SUGAH. We sampled all four flavors here at Kveller and the consensus was that they’re all delicious and you definitely don’t miss the dairy. Each cookie is individually wrapped for freshness and they even arrive in a pretty box. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 4 2014
“Is this, like, actually a dead fish?” My son wrinkled his nose at his half-eaten tuna salad sandwich.
“Um,” I stuttered. It was a rare moment that I found myself at a loss for words. My general parenting policy is to be honest–particularly when it comes to scientific facts like where food comes from. But if I told my son he was eating a dead fish, my increasingly picky 6-year-old might push his plate away and I would be forced to make him a new lunch. I mumbled something along the lines of, “Well, what do you think?” and made a mental note to discuss the matter later.
I really, really don’t want my son to become a vegetarian. I feel torn because, on the one hand, I’m a huge foodie. I was raised kosher, but abandoned the dietary laws in my teens (in high school, my friends and I expressed our adolescent angst by sneaking out to McDonald’s and ordering everything on the dollar menu. Gross, I know). I still resent the idea of having limited culinary options. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 16 2014
Every time my daughter goes away to overnight camp, there is something different about her when she returns home.
The first year she went away, she came back practically self-sufficient. I was so impressed at how well she took care of herself. I didn’t have to remind her to brush her teeth. She didn’t need any help in picking out her clothes. She even made her bed without my asking for a short period of time—and then she went back to forgetting how to do it altogether.
Last summer, she got into the car and had something important to say. I could tell that there was a big announcement on the horizon. She had a look like she knew something that we didn’t know. I could tell she was taking a moment to enjoy that with a satisfied smile on her face. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 25 2014
I am a southerner. My husband is an Isreali. On the outset, many people think it is a strange pairing, but in fact, our backgrounds share much in common. We are both from communities made up of tenacious people of faith whose circumstances inspire ingenuity and who are intensely tied to the land.
I was not raised Jewish, but my spiritual journey to Judaism began long before I met my husband. I converted on my own terms, yet my decision to go kosher was one that was venturing into a new and frightening territory. It was encroaching on the little piece of home that I had left, my kitchen.
Living in New York, most Jewish food is of the Ashkenazi fare. Either sweet or salty, it often tasted bland to my palate, and completely foreign to me. I never had a vegetable that wasn’t cooked in bacon grease until I moved here. Nor would I believe you, if you had told me I would never go to another crawfish boil again. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 16 2014
When I was the age my oldest daughter is now, some of the adults in my life decided my weight was a problem. The way I looked in my figure skating leotard at age 9 brought on discussions of diets and food restrictions that I struggled to understand.
In pictures, it is clear that I was no longer a scrawny child, but I definitely wasn’t fat. Even so, I can remember the skating moms asking my mom what she was going to do about my weight in the same way you might ask what one will do about a bad hair cut.
I have so many memories of adults trying to limit my food, or ask if I really “needed” that candy or ice cream that the other children were eating. My aunt once wondered aloud why my parents gave me two pieces of toast if I was supposed to be on a diet. Was I supposed to ignore my hunger? Was my hunger unnatural or just generally “bad”? Read the rest of this entry →
May 23 2014
Planning an Israeli-themed spread for your Memorial Day celebration? Make sure to double check your hummus, as nearly 15,000 pounds of the delicious chickpea dip from Target and Trader Joe’s have been recalled over possible listeria contamination. Oy!
Massachusetts-based Hot Mama’s Foods (good name, right?) recalled the hummus after potential for contamination was found during routine testing. According to the LA Times:
Some of the affected products were shipped nationally and include 10-ounce and 2-pound containers of Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus marked for use by June 11, and 8-ounce containers of Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus with April 28, April 29 and May 14 use-by dates. A full list of recalled products can be found on the Hot Mama’s Foods website.
So double check your hummus, folks. And when all else fails, make your own.
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May 7 2014
I recently hosted a play date for several moms and their children, two of which happen to have food allergies. One child, a little boy, doesn’t have it so bad, at least according to his mother. He can’t eat dairy or drink regular milk, but for the most part, his parents are able to take him to restaurants and other people’s homes without having to worry about something going horribly wrong. The other allergic child–a sweet little 3-year-old girl–is not as fortunate. Her mother told me horror stories about her darling daughter breaking out in hives and gasping for air after eating foods that were supposedly nut-free, but somehow contained nut traces nonetheless. And so when I decided to have these children over, I told myself I would need to go above and beyond to make sure my home was truly nut-free.
The first thing I did was purge my kitchen of all the nuts and nut-related products I could find, and store those items down in the basement, where they wouldn’t be accessible. I then proceeded to disinfect my countertops, kitchen table, chairs, and floor, even though I’d done a pretty thorough job of cleaning and sweeping several days prior. In my mind, it was up to me to scrub away all traces of nut, no matter how long it took.
When my husband found me on my hands and knees, he asked why I was once again cleaning the floor. “To make sure nut particles didn’t somehow get lodged in the hardwood,” I told him. (His response was something along the lines of “you’re a nut particle,” but I took it in stride.) Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 10 2014
It’s official. I am finally an adult. I will be hosting Passover seder, first and second night, in my own home with my tablecloths, fancy wedding registry dishes, and glasses. I’m also making the matzah ball soup for the first time ever this year. Last year, my husband and then 1.5-year-old daughter Charlotte and I were living at my parents’ condo for the year and had a bi-coastal Passover (1st seder in New York, 2nd seder in Seattle). Of course we helped with the cooking, singing, and clean-up at our respective parents’ houses, but I didn’t have to sweat all the details, like do we have enough folding chairs for 16 people and is anyone a vegan or gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or pescatarian?
I’ve had many memorable Passovers in the past; eating curry and mangos with a Baghdadi family in Bombay, a seder in Russia when my sister was spending the year in St. Petersburg, Passover in Uganda with the Abuyudaya, and once, bringing a box of matzah for a spring break to Cuba. My favorite Passovers of all time though, are the Passovers I have with my family. We do the whole Haggadah, sing lots of songs, and weave in new traditions while keeping the old. My brother-in-law recently introduced the practice of whacking your table neighbor with a green onion when singing Avadim hayinu (We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, now we are free.) We each have our favorite readings and like to point out the crumbs and brisket stains in the Haggadot from Passovers past. This time of year, my mouth waters when I think about the perfect bite of matzah with a big spoon of haroset, topped by a slice of gefilte fish, with a dollop of horse radish on top.
We’ve been talking about getting ready for Passover for the past month and Charlotte is super excited for all the visitors, especially her new cousin, baby Galit. We listen to Dayenu on repeat from her PJ Library CD in the car, and I hope this will be the first Passover she actively remembers. I’m looking forward to sharing and passing on all our Passover schtick to her over the years. Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, despite the matzah crumbs, which descend like cherry blossom petals all over the place.
Read the rest of this entry →