Days of Awe in the Jewish calendar

At a cookbook talk earlier this month, more than one author raved about Claudia Roden’s “The Book of Jewish Food.” Curious, I ordered a copy and have been devouring it since. Published in 1996, the book is the result of over 15 years of traveling and recipe-collecting, and the fingerprints of visits to kitchens tracing… Continue reading Days of Awe in the Jewish calendar

Forays into tart baking with Portugal’s pastéis de nata

My brother and I spent three days in August exploring Lisbon’s cobblestoned streets and winding alleys, stopping to gape at entire buildings tiled in blue and white designs, and eventually taking a tram 30 minutes outside the city to the coastal suburb of Belém. TILES EVERYWHERE. Impossibly detailed and intricate stonework at Jerónimos Monastery. 16th… Continue reading Forays into tart baking with Portugal’s pastéis de nata

Finding God among the pots and pans at St. Lydia’s of Brooklyn

During a Catholic mass, the cues for when to stand, sit, kneel, hold hands, raise hands, and speak are all codified. There is comfort in the routine, and as I’ve learned more about the intention behind the ritual, there is meaning in the practice. Still, I am fascinated by the growing popularity of dinner churches… Continue reading Finding God among the pots and pans at St. Lydia’s of Brooklyn

Fasting and Feasting Through Islam’s Most Holy Month

A few years back, I spent a summer interning at a refugee resettlement agency. I expected to learn about our nation’s labyrinthine immigration policies, to manage a small caseload, and to teach English. I did not expect to laugh so hard or eat so well. I laughed with one Iraqi woman, as we parsed the… Continue reading Fasting and Feasting Through Islam’s Most Holy Month

The Road Goes Ever On and On

Somewhere on my childhood bookshelf are worn copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Two Towers table of contents annotated in pink gel pen with 7th Grade Me’s favorite chapters and scenes. I watched the movies multiple times in theaters when they came out, cheering when Legolas slew the oliphant, and getting into… Continue reading The Road Goes Ever On and On

Why Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter? (Also: I baked bread and so can you)

Happy Easter! Can you say that a day later? Perhaps more accurately: Happy Easter Monday! Or more obscurely: Happy Second Day in the Octave of Easter! This post is one part recipe and one part history. If you're looking for the history, scroll on down to the bolded sections. When I started brainstorming blog posts… Continue reading Why Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter? (Also: I baked bread and so can you)