The ProsenPeople

Behind Farm 54: The Making of the Graphic Novel

Monday, July 11, 2011 | Permalink

The graphic novel Farm 54 is based on three stories written by Galit Seliktar. The stories were first published in Israeli literary magazines and then adapted into a graphic novel by Galit’s brother, illustrator Gilad Seliktar. Farm 54 is a real place where both siblings were raised, an actual farm in Ganei-Yohanan – a small village located in Israel’s agricultural periphery, which was founded by Jewish immigrants from Russia, Yemen and Libya in the early 1950s. All the stories in Farm 54 are based on true events which took place between the mid-1970s and late 1980s. Farm 54 has been published so far in five languages, and was nominated for the 2009 Angoulême book award in France.


In the background: Farm 54, Winter 1982 (L to R: Gilad Seliktar, Moni Seliktar, Galit Seliktar)

THE SUBSTITUTE LIFEGUARD

Galit & Gilad: This story was the first collaboration between us and the cornerstone of Farm 54. It was first published in 2007 as a short graphic story in an Israeli literary magazine, Masmerim, and included a framed narrative which is omitted in the book. In that earlier version the story starts with the heroine visiting her brother’s grave where she relives his drowning in her mind.

Panels from the first version of “The Substitute Lifeguard” in which Noga visits her brother’s grave:



Galit: One afternoon, when Gilad was about two years old, our family was barbequing in the backyard. It was a hot day and my father went to look for one of our dogs he had seen disappear at the far end of the yard, a part covered with high grass and infested with snakes. On his way he passed by our blue fiberglass wading pool and heard heavy spattering. He thought he had found the dog, but it was Gilad, fighting for his life in the half-meter-high chlorinated water. I saw him in my father’s arms, fully dressed in his toddler clothes and wet to the bone. Both of them were quiet. The silence broke when my mother started screaming. Only then did we stop eating.

Gilad: “The Substitute Lifeguard” was the first time I had ever read any of Galit’s stories. I have only a vague recollection of the event itself, but her visual writing style took me back to the pool on some deep emotional level. I was aware of my sister’s many years of engagement with visual media such as photography and video, but only when reading about myself in that pool did I realize that her writing was also extremely visual and that the cinematic quality of her texts, along with the themes and settings that were also my own, could form the basis of a powerful collaboration. The first published version of “The Substitute Lifeguard” was very short. The compact format relied on the cemetery frame to create an immediate dramatic impact. In book form, the actual story could gradually unfold without this scaffolding, a device meant to generate sentiments that are yet to be sustained by the plot. As I was adapting and then re-adapting the text into graphic form, I found myself drawn to the cinematic format of a three-panel page that now shapes the entire book, perhaps owing to the way the prose was laid out on paper.

Galit: Of course I had to kill Gilad when I wrote this story. I also chose to transfer the drama from the actual wading pool to a manure pit that my father transformed into a swimming pool. It was part of a cowshed that my parents inherited from the former owner of the farm, together with a young calf. My father immigrated to Israel with his parents from Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1949, and grew up in Jaffa, where he met my mother. This urban boy knew nothing about farming and neither did she. On their first year as farmers my father had a severe allergic reaction to eggplant blossom which terminated his agricultural dreams. The calf froze to death in 1973; the same year my father was enlisted to take part in the war that broke out on Israel’s southern border. All the chicks that I used to play with (I was almost three years old at the time), perished from thirst after my mother had left the farm during the war to stay with her parents back in the city. Long after we stopped using the manure pit as a pool, our dogs used to sneak in through the ruined fence that surrounded it and, every so often, one of them would be found drowned in the rain water that half-filled the pool.


The manure pit which turned into a swimming pool and where the drama of "The Substitute Lifeguard" happens, and the old cowshed.

Gilad: Galit’s text of “The Substitute Lifeguard” was extremely poetic and saturated with elaborate descriptions. Finding my own voice in this dense story meant mostly condensing and editing out. While I did not change any of Galit’s words that made it into Farm 54, I did “translate” almost all of the narrative and descriptions into a graphical language, which obeys very different conventions, through my own visual perspective. Yet all my drawings follow closely the original text in terms of plot, description, atmosphere and dialogue. The fact that Galit is my sister was very liberating artistically as I wasn’t afraid to explore avenues that I might have hesitated to approach had I been working with someone whose text I’d have to adapt whilst “walking on eggs”.

Galit and Gilad Seliktar’s graphic novel, Farm 54is now available. They will be blogging all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning‘s author blogging series.

Win a Pound of Coffee Roasted by Nathan Englander

Thursday, July 07, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Coffee lovers and Jewish literature lovers can come together over this sweet coupon contest from McSweeney’s:

If you open McSweeney’s 38, out later this month, to page 193, you’ll find something we haven’t tried before: our first-ever set of coupons, printed on the back of a small, sewn-in comic book. This is something we’ve wanted to do since Issue 33, at least, and now we are doing it—every copy of our thirty-eighth issue comes with three clip-and-mail rectangles that, if you send them to us, offer you a chance at having something sent back to you.

Coupons = Jewish. Even more Jewish…what you can get if you send them back:

… there are the ten pounds of coffee roasted by Mr. Nathan Englander, occasional McSweeney’s contributor and author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and The Ministry of Special Cases. He has been practicing, as the below video will attest, and by the time the winners are chosen (there will be ten bags, specially designed, of one pound each), we think his coffee will be very good indeed.


Thanks for the tip, Jason Diamond.

Making it “True”

Thursday, July 07, 2011 | Permalink

On Tuesday, Evan Fallenberg explored writing elaborate lies with convincing details. Today, he further explores how much of his fiction is “true”.

“How much of my book is true?” I could say ‘all of it,’ I could say ‘none of it,’ and both answers would be correct.

In order to create real characters that you, the reader, will believe, I must make them as true as possible. That does not mean basing them on anyone in particular, though I happily borrow snippets of stories and characteristics from friends, family and total strangers. But ultimately, the more I work with those characters, the more they evolve into themselves, which means they spin away from me, beyond what I knew or thought I knew about them to a place where it seems that they are in control of who they are and I am merely charged with capturing them on paper. If I seem mysterious about it, I don’t mean to be, but I myself cannot completely understand how it all works so I can’t expect anyone else to.

A case in point is Teo Levin, the eighty-five-year-old protagonist of my new novel, When We Danced on Water. He is a choreographer and former dancer, but even the company he directs – the Tel Aviv Ballet – is a product of my imagination. I provided him with a history, a career, lovers, a creative spark, a range of emotions and reactions, a face, a body, and in turn, he has kept me in line, checking some of my crazier or duller impulses. (He was originally far more cantankerous than his final, in-print version; but the grouchily perfectionist ballet master was too much of a cliché, and I am grateful to Teo for pointing that out to me.) To my delight and my frustration, however, people keep asking me to reveal on what real person he is modeled. That is delightful because it means I have made him real enough to believe, and frustrating because it should be of no consequence.

Similarly, I am flattered when people ask how long and where I danced. (I didn’t.) Dance, which is Teo’s medium and art form, takes a prominent place in the novel, and I had the task of describing it from without, as an observer, but also from within, from what Teo experiences when he moves his body to music. For the former I interviewed a marvelous dancer, dance teacher and choreographer, and for the latter I took dance lessons and learned the basics of ballet so that I could know what Teo was feeling when he stretched his toes into a sharp point or floated his arms above his head. I made the lie real for myself; only then could it be real for the reader.

Photo by Aliz Noy

It feels impossible to plot the course of my life, with all the reversals and vicissitudes and surprises and changes. But perhaps this one element – my joy of embellishing the truth – has its own continuum, from those detail-rich stories I made up for grammar-school classmates willing to listen, to the detail-rich novels I write for readers willing to read.

In my life as an adult I have tried to remain scrupulously truthful, largely, I suppose, as a reaction to all those childhood lies. And yet, when I tell stories that really happened, I cannot seem to control the impulse to elaborate, to add color and texture to the picture I’m drawing for my listener. It is an occupational hazard I can live with, and one that has served me well.

Evan Fallenberg’s most recent novel, When We Danced on Water, is now available. He has been blogging all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

Tonight’s the Night

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

…for the JBC, Jewcy, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn Sholem Aleichem party in honor of the new documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.

The event will be at (le) poisson rouge from 7:30PM-10:30PM and will feature readings from Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Matthue Roth, Rachel Shukert, Jeremy Dauber, Joanna Smith Rakoff, and Jonathan and Adam Wilson. Read more about the event here.

And, starting THIS FRIDAY you can catch the documentary over at Lincoln Plaza (NYC). More details below:

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
Directed by Joseph Dorman

Opening at Lincoln Plaza Cinema on July 8th
With screenings daily through July 14th

Tickets & show times: www.lincolnplazacinema.com
More info: www.sholemaleichemthemovie.com

A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the RoofSholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that icons are people, too, especially when you first meet that icon in your childhood. As Joseph Dorman demonstrates in this brilliantly absorbing documentary, however, Sholem Aleichem was most definitely a person—a dandy and a stock market gambler who did not teach his own children to speak Yiddish, wildly popular with the Eastern Europeans whose lives he memorialized but utterly unable to capture the imagination of the American Jews he came to despise. Rounding out the portrait even more, Dorman does a magnificent job of explicating the historical context in which Sholem Aleichem worked. Plus the still photography is to die for.” - Judith Gelman Myers, Hadassah Magazine

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness had its premiere at the 2011 Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Jewish Film Festival, a presentation of The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Elaborate Lies with Convincing Details

Tuesday, July 05, 2011 | Permalink

Evan Fallenberg is the author of When We Danced on Water, a novel. He will be blogging all week for MyJewishLearning and the Jewish Book Council‘s Author Blog.

I am probably a writer of fiction (as opposed to nonfiction) because from a very early age I loved to tell elaborate lies with convincing details. In the first grade I affected a British accent to tell the story of my birth in the back of a Volkswagen in London; in the seventh grade I concocted a potion of hand cream and food coloring to give myself a tan following a non-existent family trip to Hawaii, where our family (according to the extended version of my lie) was going to be relocating.

I was a child with curiosity and wanderlust and a colorful, lively imagination. My lies were not malicious and were only vaguely self-serving; mainly they existed to add glamour to a life that felt too ordinary. In bed at night I spoke to myself in faux French, puffing out my lips and making a lot of zh sounds. It follows that during the daylight hours I would wish to spice things up.

It is important to note that my lies never contained magical elements. No one ever flew or was transported in time machines. Instead, I took the everyday materials of real life (we actually had a little Volkswagen when I was six) and reworked the story, the surroundings. I took my real self and removed him from Ohio (and usually America), gave him the ability to speak many languages, dressed him in fancy clothes and then…well, then, my imagination could take me only as far as books and television had brought me by that time.

My lies brought attentive audiences, from whom I learned the art of brevity, and the need for credible plot twists and satisfying surprises. I was keenly aware of eyes glazing over or people wandering away, so I did my best to rivet them to where they were standing. My lies got me into trouble – one such lie caused my demotion from valedictorian to salutatorian of my high school graduating class – and out of trouble as well, as when, in the fourth grade, our substitute teacher found a nasty poem I had penned about her circulating in class, and in order to gain her sympathy I told her a horrifying story about cancer and death and sadness in our family, none of which was (yet) true.

I am lucky to have found a healthy channel for my need to invent. And like those early lies, much of what I make up for my books has elements of truth to it. Which is why I am both bothered and sympathetic when asked how much, or what, in my novels is true.

Come back all week to read more of Evan Fallenberg’s post. His new novel,When We Danced on Water, is now available.

The Gourmet’s Kids Ate Junk

Friday, July 01, 2011 | Permalink

Earlier this week, Efrat Libfroind wrote about her tribe, cooking and self-improvement and being a mother, a full-time pastry chef and the only kosher cooking student in class. Her new cookbook, Kosher Elegance, is now available.

I didn’t sleep much the night before we started taking pictures for my cookbook. It had already been a stressful few days. Taking pictures meant I finally had to decide which recipes were going into the book and which were out. We were not taking any pictures which weren’t needed – so receipes had to be chosen in advance. It was like giving up favorite friends. I love all my recipes. But I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to love some more than others. Not easy.

Then, I had to shop. I had to get the best of everything. Freshest, most attractive…because soon cameras would be zooming in to every millimeter of my cooking. It had to look good. I shopped in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda shuk. It is an amazing place and it has the most gorgeous food. All I can say is, “I must go to the shuk more often.” The best supermarkets don’t come close.

After all this, I was tossing and turning, not sleeping, worrying about the big day. I had experience with food photography for magazines which published my recipes. And I learned that the best dishes don’t always appear well in photographs and that it can take an hour (or two) just to get the portion to look just like I think it ought to (yes, I am a perfectionist). I was worried about what my book would look like.

We started taking pictures at 6 A.M. A whole slew of people were involved: Photographers, assistant photographers, food stylists, lighting staff….and me. I am sure they’d have been happy not to have me there – at times I made them a bit crazy – things didn’t always look exactly like I wanted them and I was pretty protective of my food – I wanted the pictures to be perfect.

We ended close to midnight that first day. We could barely stand on our feet. All in all, it really was a great day. We did eat a lot of the food I prepared, so that was a plus.

Most of the photography took place in my house (except for 2 grueling sessions in a studio). Since my kids would get home from school while we were still working I needed something special to keep them busy. I broke all my rules and gave them money to go out and buy….junk food. This is not something we do in our family. My kids were thrilled. They are lobbying me to start work on another book ASAP.

Mediterranean Focaccia

Makes approximately 15 focaccias, depending on pan size

In this recipe I managed to take focaccia, which is normally roundish and asymmetrical, and turn it into a perfect square. The new shape, together with a rich Mediterranean topping, makes this dish unbeatable.

Dough:
3½ – 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1½ – 2 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

Topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch rosemary leaves
1 red onion, diced
2 zucchini or 1 small eggplant, diced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful olives

Dough: Put yeast in a mixer bowl. Add sugar and 1/2 cup of the water. Let yeast stand for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and combine until a soft dough forms. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Topping: Heat olive oil and rosemary in a frying pan. Add onion and saute on a high flame for about 3 minutes. Add zucchini or eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard rosemary and add olives.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Press the dough into any symmetrical silicone mold you choose. If you don’t have silicone molds, you can make traditionally shaped focaccias. (Divide dough into about 15 balls (for mini-focaccias, divide into 20–25 balls). Shape each ball into a flat oval and pierce with a fork.)

Top dough with a generous amount of topping and bake for about 20 minutes.

Tip: You can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour, but you may need to add 1/4 cup water.

Tip: For an even richer taste, sprinkle focaccias with cubes of feta cheese 5 minutes before they are finished baking.

Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Elegance. She will be posting all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

My Tribe

Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Permalink

Earlier this week, Efrat Libfroind wrote about cooking and self-improvement and  being a mother, a full-time pastry chef, and the only kosher cooking student in class. Her new cookbook, Kosher Elegance, is now available.

At times, Israel can feel like a very divided country. It is as if we Israelis all belong to our specific tribe and never come into contact with the others tribes unless forced to. 

Publishing my cookbook has been a wonderful experience because I have come into contact with many Israelis who on the face of things, belong to a different tribe than me. I have enjoyed working with all sorts of people in the production of my book (photographers, food stylists, journalists etc). What I find really eye-opening is when the reactions these people have when they meet me. I have loved every minute of it.

I am what the news refers to as an “ultra-Orthodox” Jew. I do fit the bill, there is no denying it. I cover my hair, my husband learns Torah, I have 6 children – all the stereotypes are there.

At the same time, I speak fluent English, I run a business and have traveled. I keep up with trends in the world of food and cooking accessories. So, I do live within my tribe but I am quite aware of what is happening with other tribes. So while I don’t live or work all that much with members of other Israeli tribes…..I have a pretty good understanding of what is happening in the wider Israeli reality.

However, I think for many people I have been meeting due to my book….I am the first. The first ultra-Orthodox Jew that they are dealing with in an “up close & personal” way.

An example was when recently a reporter from a prestigious Israeli (secular) newspaper spent 6 hours with me at my home in order to discuss my new book and to watch me in action (in the kitchen). I loved spending so much time with her – she was wonderful, a real pleasure to talk to. For her, I think it was an anthropological experience. She couldn’t get over how I have 6 kids, run a successful business, published a cookbook in 2 languages and my husband learns Torah. It is true she did find me in the kitchen but….I think our time together broke down a lot of stereotypes for her. For, me it has been heartwarming to feel the openness and interest of so many of my fellow Israelis for members of “other” tribes (like me! ). I mean, the news seems to say we don’t get along! But I have been finding otherwise. Time and time again. Seems kosher gourmet food is a great connector.

Sweet and Sour Avocado Salad

Avocado is one of my favorite fruits. Its neutral taste goes well with a variety of unusual flavors. In this salad I created a sweet and sour combination. It’s quick and easy to prepare – just make sure you have all the ingredients on hand.

Serves approximately 6

Salad:
2 firm, ripe avocados
5 dates
1 red or orange pepper
1/4 red onion, diced
2 scallions, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon date syrup or honey

Peel avocado and cut into small chunks. Pit dates and cut into cubes. Dice the peppers and red onion, and cut scallions into thin strips. Transfer fruit andvegetables to a deep bowl. Add the dried cranberriesand almonds. In a small bowl, mix the dressing, pourover the salad, and toss.

Tip: For an original presentation, purchasedecorative serving spoons at a paper goods store and serve individual portions of salad in them.

Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Elegance. She will be posting all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

Cooking and Self-Improvement

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Permalink

Earlier, Efrat Libfroind wrote about being a mother and  a full-time pastry chef and the only kosher cooking student in class. Her new cookbook, Kosher Elegance, is now available.

Part of my business is providing continuing education courses to Israeli public school teachers. In Israel, these courses have a bit more of a “sabbatical year” feel to them, so fun topics like cooking and pastry baking are acceptable choices. I love teaching these courses.Teaching cooking and baking to large numbers of women over the years has been very enlightening. It has become clear to me that while teaching these courses, I am a psychologist as well as a chef and baker.

The groups I click with the most are the women who are upbeat and happy. They come to each class with high hopes and expectations and they drink it all in. They obediently take notes of every word I utter and the have a digital camera going non-stop in order to record every move I make. It is always fun when I put together the various parts of a recipe. There are ‘wows’ from all over the room and cameras clicking so furiously from every possible angle that I feel like I am at a press conference with the Prime Minister.

Another type of student is the more….aggressive type. I have gotten used to this type of student over the years. They come to the course all ready to fail. When this type of student tries a recipe, if it doesn’t look exactly like what I modeled….she attacks. She doesn’t throw eggs, but it is a flood of complaints and frustration. I have learned how to calmly coach this sort of student out of the black hole of recipe failure. It is an art, believe me.

There are students who are so excited about their cooking efforts outside the classroom that they bring in pictures as part of an adult version of “show and tell.” Often, what they made looks nothing like what I taught them…but they are thrilled and proud. Nothing stops them. I love when this happens and I just keep encouraging them.

I often teach women who have a strong desire to achieve and express themselves. I find that the cooking or baking skills they learn become tools in these efforts. They may not find such expression in their jobs and maybe even at home. Often, it seems that their entry into the world of more creative cooking and baking allows these women to grow in life generally. Who knew? Baking for self esteem! Cooking for overall well being! This could be the new yoga.

Over the years I have developed a sense for identifying these women and I really try to give them special attention and encourage them to experiment and to create and…to take pictures every step of the way! This way they can show others and always refer to the great things they have done and (hopefully) continue to do. It really gives me a lot of personal satisfaction working with these women – especially when I see the look in their eyes…..I realize we’ve done a lot more than learned to cook together.

Stuffed Chicken Wedges

Tzippy is a close friend and an accomplished chef in her own right. Before every event she hosts, she calls me and we go over every detail of the menu from A to Z. When she called before her most recent party, she told me we would only discuss the details of the main course and on — she’d already planned the first course. She sounded a little secretive, but since I was attending the event in question, I didn’t pressure her to reveal her secret. This recipe was that surprise dish. It won rave reviews, and I received permission from Tzippy to share it with you.

Makes 1 9-inch round pan

9 chicken breasts, pounded thin

Filling
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 small leek, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
15 sun-dried tomato halves, diced (to make your own, see page 74)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bunch chives, chopped

Coating
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika

Filling: Saute onion and leek in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients and saute for about 5 more minutes. Arrange 3 of the chicken breast slices on the bottom of a 9-inch round pan so that the entire base of the pan is covered. Spread half of the filling over the chicken and cover with another layer of chicken. Spread the remaining half of the filling on the chicken and top with the last three chicken breasts.

Mix olive oil and paprika and brush the top layer of chicken with the mixture. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 350°F. Cool slightly and sprinkle with chopped chives. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tip: For a special presentation, bake individual servings in 2-inch food rings.

Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Elegance. She will be posting all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

The Kosher Student

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Permalink

Yesterday, Efrat Libfroind wrote about being a mother and being a full-time pastry chef. Her new cookbook, Kosher Elegance, is now available.

I’ll never forget the first time I entered the lecture hall at the most famous cooking school in the world. Even though I was already the mother of 3 children, I felt like a little girl on my first day of school.

Around me I heard a babble of languages from all over the world – something that was very new to me. I was convinced everyone was looking at me, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman with a wig on her head.

In the first lecture (“Intro to Food Technology”) I was unable to concentrate for the first half hour – I was way too self-conscious. I finally relaxed a bit and was able to lose myself in what turned out to be a very fascinating topic.

As the course progressed, I realized that I was not very different than my fellow students except for my headgear. Regardless, somehow, most of the students realized I was Jewish. If they didn’t, they figured it out soon enough.

As you might imagine, a big part of professional cooking courses is tasting foods. Besides the pleasure of eating gorgeous cakes and other creations there is also the important aspect of being able to taste various ingredients, to feel the textures and understand firsthand what was discussed in the lectures. So the first time when everyone stood around the chef and started tasting foods and
schmoozing about the dishes I just wanted to disappear into a corner so I couldn’t be seen. I was the “kosher student”. Now I was forced to deal with it.

Soon after, a kind-hearted American woman, about 60, came running over to me with a plate of something wonderful and could not understand why I wasn’t trying it out. I explained that as an observant Jew, I wouldn’t eat food that wasn’t kosher and cooked in kosher utensils. She didn’t really get it, and then a few other students leaned in to take part in the conversation (some have since become well-known chefs!).

They tried to make sense of what I was saying. “You won’t taste anything here? Never? So what are you doing here?” I did my best to explain what observing the laws of kashrut meant and how that played out in my life (and in cooking school!).

Since then, a lot of cooking and baking has happened for all of us. My first trial by fire wasn’t so easy but once I got used to the various responses I received….I was fine. Plus, I was pretty popular since I always gave away my food to others!

Over the years as I have participated in numerous professional courses I have developed a much better sense of smell which helps me during tests or other times when tasting food is important.

So while I have missed out on many food tastings (and calories) over the years…..I have learned a ton.

Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Elegance. She will be posting all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

The Greatest Yiddish Literature Party Ever…now has a flyer

Monday, June 27, 2011 | Permalink
Posted by Dani Crickman