It certainly feels like a lifetime passed since the High Holy Days, and Sukkot (where did Shemini Atzaret and Simchat Torah go?) We all feel like this is a changed and unsettled world since the wildfires started October 8th. All of us were affected, some more then others. What can we do, where can we help? We all want to do something, even those who were affected the most. One thing everyone can do is listen. We all have a story to share, and there are those who need to tell their story. What better time it is to be listening then by sharing meals. And let’s do this with food that brings on the good memories.

So, let’s talk Jewish comfort food. Whatever your idea of comfort food is, now is the time to share. It can be as simple or as complex as you want. Think bagels with lox and cream cheese, or how about mac & cheese, or sweet kugel, or chicken soup with matzah balls. Or how about dishes like eggs with onions & lox, potato knishes, shakshuka, cheese blintzes, matzoh brei, latkes, hamantaschen, rugelach and challah. Don’t worry if the food seems out of season. It’s the comfort of memories associated with this dish that you are making and sharing with others. And if your friends are helping with the making and the eating, what a wonderful time it is to be talking and listening and sharing…enjoy!
Hanukah is coming

Since my creativity button has disappeared for a while, here is a slightly modified article reprinted from the December 2016 Shofar.
Hanukah is coming. The first candle is lit on sundown of December 12th. Truly this minor holiday can be full of fun and comfort. We have eight days to celebrate with lighting menorahs, parties, and special foods.

To help celebrate the miracle of lights we like, no…be honest…we love, to fry foods in oil. Potato latkes abound at our tables along with their cousin latkes—pancakes; parsnip, sweet potato, green (with zucchini), french onion (with caramelized onions), colorful veggies (with carrots, red bell peppers and zucchini), and even coconut. We also have Torzelli (deep fried curly endive), Tostones (fried plantains) and beer battered pumpkin rings. And for desserts we have Sufganiyot (jelly donuts), Bimuelos (honey drizzled fritters) and more.
We also celebrate with food made from cheese and dairy products to remember the apocryphal Book of Judith, the widow who single handedly killed the Assyrian leader, Holofernes, whose army surrounded her village Bethula during the time of the Maccabean revolt. Her tools were cheeses to make him thirsty, wine to make him drunk and a powerful blow using his sword. Think cheese latkes or grilled cheese on latkes and Mozzarella in Carrozza to help celebrate.

All of this information and recipes are available from the Recipes for Hanukkah by MJL Staff ( ).

Mmm…enjoy—Hanukkah Sameach!